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  1. Ryan Jeffers’ ability — or perhaps inability — to perform as he has in the minors could be a key factor in determining the Minnesota Twins’ future outlook. The book on Ryan Jeffers when coming out of the UNCW was pretty straight forward. Scouts knew that he possessed big power, but questioned his ability to make consistent enough contact to warrant an everyday role at the MLB level. While his play in the minor leagues suggested that the concern was unwarranted, it has risen anew after he posted a mediocre .211 batting average through his first 111 MLB games. Jeffers burst onto the scene during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season due to a combination of fortuitous luck as well as the betrayal of Mitch Garver at the hands of his own body. After splitting the 2019 season between High-A and Double-A — he slashed .264/.341/.421 with 14 home runs in 103 games — Jeffers was among the prospects selected to train in St. Paul following the cancellation of the minor league season. He was called up in late August after Garver landed on the injured list with an intercostal strain and remained with the team until the conclusion of the season. The former UNCW Seahawk performed admirably in 26 games, hitting three home runs and slashing .273/.355/.436, good for a 120 wRC+, bolstered by a .364 BABIP, while providing surprisingly solid defense behind the plate, particularly in regard to pitch framing. His performance left many wondering if he would soon supplant Garver, perhaps as soon as the coming offseason, as the Twins’ everyday starting catcher. The Twins, obviously with similar questions wafting through their heads, began the season with Jeffers and Garver splitting a roughly equal amount of time in the starting lineup. However, the decision, while sound in theory, turned out to be poor in practice as it wound up negating both of their strengths, namely hitting for power, while intensifying their weaknesses, striking out. Jeffers was eventually demoted to Triple-A while Garver spent more time on the injured list. (Garver absolutely crushed after his slow start and finished the season with a 137 wRC+ and .875 OPS in 68 games while Jeffers — 89 and .670, respectively, in 85 — did not.) Even upon his return to the majors after posting a .786 OPS with St. Paul, Jeffers’ season never really got on track offensively, which was likely the result of multiple factors. For starters, Jeffers wasn’t unable to do much against breaking balls, as he hit .136 with a 36.1% strikeout rate. His barrel rate against benders dropped 22 percentage points year over year while his fly ball rate nearly tripled. However, for as bad as his numbers against breaking balls were, they were more or less commensurate with his performance during 2020 (.133, 37.5%). Where Jeffers struggled the most was with making contact against fastballs, particularly those up in the zone. Overall, opposing pitchers offered fewer fastballs during Jeffers' at-bats — 54.7% of all pitches in 2021 compared to 60.5% in 2020 — and even when they did, he hit worse, posting a .228 batting average this past summer versus .313 throughout the previous. His strikeout rate against heaters also jumped an astronomic 10%, from 28.9% to 38.3%. Jeffers also ran into a bit of poor luck as his BABIP dropped precipitously from an egregious .364 in 2020 to a relatively unlucky .269 in 2021. While the sample sizes are incredibly small, teams did increase the frequency in which they shifted against Jeffers from 3.2% in 2020 to 7.5% in 2021, which may have influenced his BABIP numbers. In many ways Jeffers’ struggles during the 2021 season can be summed up similarly to that of Trevor Larnach: Former top prospect with a track record of mashing fastballs suddenly lost the ability to mash fastballs. Luckily for the Twins, as is also the case with Larnach, Jeffers is only 24 years old and has not yet played 162 MLB games, meaning he has plenty of time to make adjustments. If he is able to do so, the Twins likely possess their starting catcher for the foreseeable future. If not, Jeffers may find himself on the trade block sooner rather than later. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email — Read more from Lucas here View full article
  2. The book on Ryan Jeffers when coming out of the UNCW was pretty straight forward. Scouts knew that he possessed big power, but questioned his ability to make consistent enough contact to warrant an everyday role at the MLB level. While his play in the minor leagues suggested that the concern was unwarranted, it has risen anew after he posted a mediocre .211 batting average through his first 111 MLB games. Jeffers burst onto the scene during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season due to a combination of fortuitous luck as well as the betrayal of Mitch Garver at the hands of his own body. After splitting the 2019 season between High-A and Double-A — he slashed .264/.341/.421 with 14 home runs in 103 games — Jeffers was among the prospects selected to train in St. Paul following the cancellation of the minor league season. He was called up in late August after Garver landed on the injured list with an intercostal strain and remained with the team until the conclusion of the season. The former UNCW Seahawk performed admirably in 26 games, hitting three home runs and slashing .273/.355/.436, good for a 120 wRC+, bolstered by a .364 BABIP, while providing surprisingly solid defense behind the plate, particularly in regard to pitch framing. His performance left many wondering if he would soon supplant Garver, perhaps as soon as the coming offseason, as the Twins’ everyday starting catcher. The Twins, obviously with similar questions wafting through their heads, began the season with Jeffers and Garver splitting a roughly equal amount of time in the starting lineup. However, the decision, while sound in theory, turned out to be poor in practice as it wound up negating both of their strengths, namely hitting for power, while intensifying their weaknesses, striking out. Jeffers was eventually demoted to Triple-A while Garver spent more time on the injured list. (Garver absolutely crushed after his slow start and finished the season with a 137 wRC+ and .875 OPS in 68 games while Jeffers — 89 and .670, respectively, in 85 — did not.) Even upon his return to the majors after posting a .786 OPS with St. Paul, Jeffers’ season never really got on track offensively, which was likely the result of multiple factors. For starters, Jeffers wasn’t unable to do much against breaking balls, as he hit .136 with a 36.1% strikeout rate. His barrel rate against benders dropped 22 percentage points year over year while his fly ball rate nearly tripled. However, for as bad as his numbers against breaking balls were, they were more or less commensurate with his performance during 2020 (.133, 37.5%). Where Jeffers struggled the most was with making contact against fastballs, particularly those up in the zone. Overall, opposing pitchers offered fewer fastballs during Jeffers' at-bats — 54.7% of all pitches in 2021 compared to 60.5% in 2020 — and even when they did, he hit worse, posting a .228 batting average this past summer versus .313 throughout the previous. His strikeout rate against heaters also jumped an astronomic 10%, from 28.9% to 38.3%. Jeffers also ran into a bit of poor luck as his BABIP dropped precipitously from an egregious .364 in 2020 to a relatively unlucky .269 in 2021. While the sample sizes are incredibly small, teams did increase the frequency in which they shifted against Jeffers from 3.2% in 2020 to 7.5% in 2021, which may have influenced his BABIP numbers. In many ways Jeffers’ struggles during the 2021 season can be summed up similarly to that of Trevor Larnach: Former top prospect with a track record of mashing fastballs suddenly lost the ability to mash fastballs. Luckily for the Twins, as is also the case with Larnach, Jeffers is only 24 years old and has not yet played 162 MLB games, meaning he has plenty of time to make adjustments. If he is able to do so, the Twins likely possess their starting catcher for the foreseeable future. If not, Jeffers may find himself on the trade block sooner rather than later. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email — Read more from Lucas here
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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?
  6. 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
  7. Continuing our rankings of the most valuable player assets in the Minnesota Twins organization, we share our picks for six through 10. This list attempts to answer a simple question: Which 20 players and prospects are most indispensable in the team's quest to win a championship? Before getting started, you can get up to speed on the ground rules, which were covered in the first installment, and also read up on our picks for #11-15. Here are the players we've ranked so far: 20. Matt Canterino, RHP 19. Josh Winder, RHP 18. Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP 17. Gilberto Celestino, CF 16. Chase Petty, RHP 15. Jose Miranda, 2B/3B 14. Jhoan Duran, RHP 13. Jordan Balazovic, RHP 12. Trevor Larnach, OF 11. Luis Arraez, UTIL From there, we crack into the top 10. Top 20 Twins Assets of 2022: 6 through 10 10. Ryan Jeffers, C 2021 Ranking: 7 Two-way catchers are among the most valuable commodities in baseball. It's not yet clear that Jeffers will be one, but his young major-league career has offered promising signs. Defensively, Jeffers established himself as a strong pitcher framer and good overall backstop. His instincts and reaction speed enable him to make special plays. He seems to have the confidence of the pitching staff – no small feat for a 24-year-old who went from college to the majors in two years. Offensively, his rushed development has been evident. After an impressive rookie showing in 2020, Jeffers saw his OPS drop by 120 points as lacking plate discipline derailed his production. But while the .199 average and .270 on-base percentage were tough to stomach, Jeffers kept bringing the power with 14 home runs in 85 games. At worst, Jeffers looks like a good defensive catcher who can take one deep here and there. (A poor man's Salvador Perez, perhaps?) If he can evolve a bit in the batter's box, he'll become a highly coveted asset – the heralded two-way catcher. It's important to keep in mind Jeffers' age and experience; when Mitch Garver was 24, he was posting a .688 OPS in Single-A. 9. Max Kepler, RF 2021 Ranking: 3 Kepler is an average hitter and an elite defensive right fielder with a very favorable contract. That combination would have more value to a lot of other teams than it does to the Twins, who wouldn't mind spending on an outfielder and already have a top-notch defender in center. A persistent inability to turn the corner offensively – outside of a short-lived breakout in 2019 – has made Kepler a frustrating player to follow. But when you look past that, he's an excellent athlete and quality regular, still a year short of 30 and under team control at reasonable rates for the next two seasons, with a $10M option in 2024. 8. Mitch Garver, C 2021 Ranking: 8 Garver's struggles with the bat in 2020 carried over into the beginning of 2021, where he slashed .151/.196/.321 through 17 games while striking out half the time. As the catcher's incredible 2019 faded further from view, many began to wonder if his approach was broken. Maybe it was, but Garver fixed it in a hurry. He homered twice in his last game of April, and pretty much never looked back, hitting .292/.406/.584 with 11 homers and 12 doubles in 51 games the rest of the way. Garver rediscovered his plate discipline, and as soon as that happened, he got back to dominating and basically out-homering the world (on a per-rate basis). It was a second consecutive season for Garver that was cut short by injuries. The punishment he's taken behind the plate, along with the increasingly evident need to have his bat in the lineup, could compel the Twins to start shifting Garver to different positions more. But that needs to be weighed against the tremendous advantage gained by writing him in at catcher. Since 2019 Garver ranks second among all MLB backstops in wOBA (min. 500 PA). He'd be higher on this list if not for his waning team control, with free agency only two seasons away. 7. Joe Ryan, RHP 2021 Ranking: NR Managing to secure Ryan in exchange for Nelson Cruz ahead of the trade deadline was a nifty bit of work by the front office, and one that probably doesn't get talked about often enough. As a 40-year-old designated hitter approaching free agency, Cruz had limited value, but the Twins leveraged Tampa's situation and were able to add an asset that immediately becomes a key part of their plans. The 25-year-old Ryan dominated at Triple-A this year, and translated his performance to the majors. In five starts for the Twins, he struck out six times as many batters as he walked, and allowed only 16 hits in 26 ⅓ innings. The right-hander cemented his spot in a needy rotation, and he's lined up to be an inexpensive fixture for years to come. All in return for an aging and expensive DH who didn't really help the Rays that much, and is now a free agent. In terms of asset upgrades, it doesn't get much better than what the Twins pulled off here. 6. Bailey Ober, RHP 2021 Ranking: NR Like Ryan, Ober is a newcomer to the rankings and finds himself near the top. But unlike Ryan, he's not a newcomer to the system. The former 12th-round draft pick boosted his stock immensely over the past couple years by significantly increasing his velocity to shed the "soft-tossing" label. Aided by a more effective fastball, which plays up from his 6-foot-9 frame, Ober was highly impressive as a rookie. There was nothing particularly fluky about his performance for the Twins, although home runs were a bit of a recurring issue. He looks the part of a mid-rotation staple, and a guy you'd feel okay about starting in the playoffs. We've seen how difficult it is for the Twins to acquire impact pitching via free agency. Developing cost-controlled arms is instrumental to this front office's vision for success. That's why Ober and Ryan rank so highly on this list: the team's fate (especially in the short-term) is tied to them. Check back in on Wednesday when we wrap up these rankings with our picks for the top 5! 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
  8. Before getting started, you can get up to speed on the ground rules, which were covered in the first installment, and also read up on our picks for #11-15. Here are the players we've ranked so far: 20. Matt Canterino, RHP 19. Josh Winder, RHP 18. Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP 17. Gilberto Celestino, CF 16. Chase Petty, RHP 15. Jose Miranda, 2B/3B 14. Jhoan Duran, RHP 13. Jordan Balazovic, RHP 12. Trevor Larnach, OF 11. Luis Arraez, UTIL From there, we crack into the top 10. Top 20 Twins Assets of 2022: 6 through 10 10. Ryan Jeffers, C 2021 Ranking: 7 Two-way catchers are among the most valuable commodities in baseball. It's not yet clear that Jeffers will be one, but his young major-league career has offered promising signs. Defensively, Jeffers established himself as a strong pitcher framer and good overall backstop. His instincts and reaction speed enable him to make special plays. He seems to have the confidence of the pitching staff – no small feat for a 24-year-old who went from college to the majors in two years. Offensively, his rushed development has been evident. After an impressive rookie showing in 2020, Jeffers saw his OPS drop by 120 points as lacking plate discipline derailed his production. But while the .199 average and .270 on-base percentage were tough to stomach, Jeffers kept bringing the power with 14 home runs in 85 games. At worst, Jeffers looks like a good defensive catcher who can take one deep here and there. (A poor man's Salvador Perez, perhaps?) If he can evolve a bit in the batter's box, he'll become a highly coveted asset – the heralded two-way catcher. It's important to keep in mind Jeffers' age and experience; when Mitch Garver was 24, he was posting a .688 OPS in Single-A. 9. Max Kepler, RF 2021 Ranking: 3 Kepler is an average hitter and an elite defensive right fielder with a very favorable contract. That combination would have more value to a lot of other teams than it does to the Twins, who wouldn't mind spending on an outfielder and already have a top-notch defender in center. A persistent inability to turn the corner offensively – outside of a short-lived breakout in 2019 – has made Kepler a frustrating player to follow. But when you look past that, he's an excellent athlete and quality regular, still a year short of 30 and under team control at reasonable rates for the next two seasons, with a $10M option in 2024. 8. Mitch Garver, C 2021 Ranking: 8 Garver's struggles with the bat in 2020 carried over into the beginning of 2021, where he slashed .151/.196/.321 through 17 games while striking out half the time. As the catcher's incredible 2019 faded further from view, many began to wonder if his approach was broken. Maybe it was, but Garver fixed it in a hurry. He homered twice in his last game of April, and pretty much never looked back, hitting .292/.406/.584 with 11 homers and 12 doubles in 51 games the rest of the way. Garver rediscovered his plate discipline, and as soon as that happened, he got back to dominating and basically out-homering the world (on a per-rate basis). It was a second consecutive season for Garver that was cut short by injuries. The punishment he's taken behind the plate, along with the increasingly evident need to have his bat in the lineup, could compel the Twins to start shifting Garver to different positions more. But that needs to be weighed against the tremendous advantage gained by writing him in at catcher. Since 2019 Garver ranks second among all MLB backstops in wOBA (min. 500 PA). He'd be higher on this list if not for his waning team control, with free agency only two seasons away. 7. Joe Ryan, RHP 2021 Ranking: NR Managing to secure Ryan in exchange for Nelson Cruz ahead of the trade deadline was a nifty bit of work by the front office, and one that probably doesn't get talked about often enough. As a 40-year-old designated hitter approaching free agency, Cruz had limited value, but the Twins leveraged Tampa's situation and were able to add an asset that immediately becomes a key part of their plans. The 25-year-old Ryan dominated at Triple-A this year, and translated his performance to the majors. In five starts for the Twins, he struck out six times as many batters as he walked, and allowed only 16 hits in 26 ⅓ innings. The right-hander cemented his spot in a needy rotation, and he's lined up to be an inexpensive fixture for years to come. All in return for an aging and expensive DH who didn't really help the Rays that much, and is now a free agent. In terms of asset upgrades, it doesn't get much better than what the Twins pulled off here. 6. Bailey Ober, RHP 2021 Ranking: NR Like Ryan, Ober is a newcomer to the rankings and finds himself near the top. But unlike Ryan, he's not a newcomer to the system. The former 12th-round draft pick boosted his stock immensely over the past couple years by significantly increasing his velocity to shed the "soft-tossing" label. Aided by a more effective fastball, which plays up from his 6-foot-9 frame, Ober was highly impressive as a rookie. There was nothing particularly fluky about his performance for the Twins, although home runs were a bit of a recurring issue. He looks the part of a mid-rotation staple, and a guy you'd feel okay about starting in the playoffs. We've seen how difficult it is for the Twins to acquire impact pitching via free agency. Developing cost-controlled arms is instrumental to this front office's vision for success. That's why Ober and Ryan rank so highly on this list: the team's fate (especially in the short-term) is tied to them. Check back in on Wednesday when we wrap up these rankings with our picks for the top 5! 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
  9. The Minnesota Twins largely missed the boat on the big time free agents this offseason, as only a few remain after the pre-lockout frenzy. While the trade market could be the next place to look, the front office would be wise to steer clear. The two areas that the Minnesota Twins had an immense need heading into this offseason were starting pitcher and shortstop. Now, the cupboards are all but bare in each of these areas with 13 of Aaron Gleeman’s top 15 free agent starting pitchers and four of Gleeman’s top six free agent shortstops off the board entirely. Aside from signing one of the star free agent shortstops (not likely) or Carlos Rodón (possible), the Minnesota Twins will need to utilize the trade market if they want to bring in any difference-making talent this offseason. Doing so, though, would not be wise. I’m not breaking any news here, but the Minnesota Twins were not a good baseball team last year. The Twins just had their worst season since 2016, and did not show at any point in the season that they were on the verge of being a successful team. In only one full month in 2021 did the Minnesota Twins finish with a record above .500, when they went 14-13 in the month of August. On top of that, the Twins traded away their best starting pitcher since Johan Santana and their best power hitter since Jim Thome. The most likely path for the Minnesota Twins to acquire difference-making talent via the trade market would be by packaging one (or multiple) future prospects to a rebuilding team in exchange for a win-now player. Trade ideas as proposed by Twins Daily writer, JD Cameron, include Trevor Larnach for Chris Bassit or Jordan Balazovic and Ryan Jeffers for Sonny Gray. While the exact prospects that the Twins would need to part with in these trades could be different, the core idea remains the same…the Twins would need to part with key future prospects if they want to acquire top-shelf talent. The problem, and why they should avoid making deals this offseason, is that the Twins have not shown that they are close to competing and that adding a starting pitcher like Bassit or Gray (or both, even!) would suddenly turn the Twins into contenders. The Twins finished last in the American League Central last season and got worse, while the White Sox, Tigers and Royals all figure to improve. Trading away future pieces such as a Trevor Larnach or a Jordan Balazovic only to marginally improve a still-bad baseball team could prove catastrophic in terms of rebuilding efforts down the line. The other option that the Twins could look at on the trade market would be to trade away a non-prospect batter for some top-line pitching talent. Names like Max Kepler or Luis Arraez could potentially be expendable on a team with more hitting depth than pitching. While this type of trade would prove more palatable for an underwhelming Twins team, they are very difficult to come by. The teams that are looking to add MLB-ready bats are typically not the teams that are willing to part with MLB-ready arms. While it’s possible, I don’t see the Twins making this kind of trade. The best path for the Minnesota Twins to follow in 2022 would be to round out their pitching rotation this offseason with number three or four starting pitchers such as Michael Pineda or Danny Duffy. Then, simply let the season play out. If the Twins’ young arms show that they are the real deal and in turn the Twins prove to be more competitive in 2022 than predicted, Minnesota can then move prospects for win-now arms at the trade deadline. Making a trade now, though, could prove extremely costly. View full article
  10. The two areas that the Minnesota Twins had an immense need heading into this offseason were starting pitcher and shortstop. Now, the cupboards are all but bare in each of these areas with 13 of Aaron Gleeman’s top 15 free agent starting pitchers and four of Gleeman’s top six free agent shortstops off the board entirely. Aside from signing one of the star free agent shortstops (not likely) or Carlos Rodón (possible), the Minnesota Twins will need to utilize the trade market if they want to bring in any difference-making talent this offseason. Doing so, though, would not be wise. I’m not breaking any news here, but the Minnesota Twins were not a good baseball team last year. The Twins just had their worst season since 2016, and did not show at any point in the season that they were on the verge of being a successful team. In only one full month in 2021 did the Minnesota Twins finish with a record above .500, when they went 14-13 in the month of August. On top of that, the Twins traded away their best starting pitcher since Johan Santana and their best power hitter since Jim Thome. The most likely path for the Minnesota Twins to acquire difference-making talent via the trade market would be by packaging one (or multiple) future prospects to a rebuilding team in exchange for a win-now player. Trade ideas as proposed by Twins Daily writer, JD Cameron, include Trevor Larnach for Chris Bassit or Jordan Balazovic and Ryan Jeffers for Sonny Gray. While the exact prospects that the Twins would need to part with in these trades could be different, the core idea remains the same…the Twins would need to part with key future prospects if they want to acquire top-shelf talent. The problem, and why they should avoid making deals this offseason, is that the Twins have not shown that they are close to competing and that adding a starting pitcher like Bassit or Gray (or both, even!) would suddenly turn the Twins into contenders. The Twins finished last in the American League Central last season and got worse, while the White Sox, Tigers and Royals all figure to improve. Trading away future pieces such as a Trevor Larnach or a Jordan Balazovic only to marginally improve a still-bad baseball team could prove catastrophic in terms of rebuilding efforts down the line. The other option that the Twins could look at on the trade market would be to trade away a non-prospect batter for some top-line pitching talent. Names like Max Kepler or Luis Arraez could potentially be expendable on a team with more hitting depth than pitching. While this type of trade would prove more palatable for an underwhelming Twins team, they are very difficult to come by. The teams that are looking to add MLB-ready bats are typically not the teams that are willing to part with MLB-ready arms. While it’s possible, I don’t see the Twins making this kind of trade. The best path for the Minnesota Twins to follow in 2022 would be to round out their pitching rotation this offseason with number three or four starting pitchers such as Michael Pineda or Danny Duffy. Then, simply let the season play out. If the Twins’ young arms show that they are the real deal and in turn the Twins prove to be more competitive in 2022 than predicted, Minnesota can then move prospects for win-now arms at the trade deadline. Making a trade now, though, could prove extremely costly.
  11. In the third of a three-part series, we look at the Miami Marlins as a trade partner for the Minnesota Twins to acquire starting pitching post-lockout. Who might be a fit? How much might they cost? As the lockout meanders into the holiday season, Twins fans find themselves in starting pitching limbo. The floor of the rotation was raised marginally by the addition of Dylan Bundy prior to the lockout. Minnesota, however, still has significant business to accomplish if they are to field a competitive rotation, with only Bundy, Joe Ryan, and Bailey Ober currently locked into spots for 2022. In the third of a three-part series (part one - Cincinnati Reds, part two - Oakland Athletics), I’ll look at some potential pitching targets from an organization flush with starting pitching capital, the Miami Marlins. NOTE: The trades mentioned are designed to give an approximate idea of the value of each potential starting pitching addition. They don’t necessarily correlate with the exact needs of the Marlins. Pablo Lopez At just 25, Lopez has improved both steadily and significantly since he made his MLB debut in 2018. In 102 2/3 innings pitched in 2021, Lopez accumulated a 3.29 FIP, 2.3 fWAR, a 27.5% K% and a measly 6.2% BB% Talk about a high floor. Lopez relies on a four-pitch mix including a mid-90s fastball, an excellent changeup, a cutter, and a curveball. Lopez is under team control until 2025 and would be pricey, but this is the position the Twins find themselves if they want to improve their rotation significantly through trade. Possible Trade: The Twins trade INF Luis Arraez, C Ryan Jeffers and a PTBNL to Miami for RHP Pablo Lopez Jesus Luzardo A former consensus top pitching prospect, very little has gone right for Luzardo since his first significant MLB stint in 2019 for the Athletics. In 95 MLB innings in 2021 between the A’s and Marlins, Luzardo managed a 22.4% K% (fine), an 11% BB% (not fine), a 5.48 FIP, and -0.2 fWAR (yikes). So, what’s to like here? For one, you don’t sit atop prospect rankings for multiple years for no reason. Luzardo still has electric stuff. A fastball that sits at 95 mph at the low end and a good slider he throws around 23% of the time. This combination falls into the wheelhouse of the Twins pitching preferences, but they’d have to be confident in next steps for Luzardo to pull the trigger on trading for him. Possible Trade: The Twins trade OF Brent Rooker and RHP Cole Sands to Miami for LHP Jesus Luzardo Sixto Sanchez The Twins would be trading into the upper echelons of ‘stuff’ if they were to acquire Sanchez. Still a top pitching prospect, the 23-year-old boasts front of the rotation firepower. Sanchez relies on a fastball that sits at 98 mph. It gets fewer strikeouts than a pitch of that velocity should due to a lack of movement, but it’s his changeup that is the star of the show. In just 40 MLB innings in 2021, Sanchez had a 20.9% K%, 7% BB%, a 3.50 FIP, and accumulated 1.0 fWAR (that’s around 4.5 fWAR pace over a season). Sanchez could be poised for a monster 2022. Possible Trade: The Twins trade OF Max Kepler to the Marlins for RHP Sixto Sanchez The Marlins have a huge amount of additional starting pitching assets, including Trevor Rogers, Elieser Hernandez, Edward Cabrera, and Max Meyer who I chose not to include as targets as I felt the Marlins would be unlikely to part with them (Rogers and Meyer) or the Twins wouldn’t be confident enough in the floor they would give the rotation to execute the trade. Which of these targets feel like the best fit for the Twins? What direction do you think the team will take to improve the rotation when the lockout ends? Join the discussion below. View full article
  12. As the lockout meanders into the holiday season, Twins fans find themselves in starting pitching limbo. The floor of the rotation was raised marginally by the addition of Dylan Bundy prior to the lockout. Minnesota, however, still has significant business to accomplish if they are to field a competitive rotation, with only Bundy, Joe Ryan, and Bailey Ober currently locked into spots for 2022. In the third of a three-part series (part one - Cincinnati Reds, part two - Oakland Athletics), I’ll look at some potential pitching targets from an organization flush with starting pitching capital, the Miami Marlins. NOTE: The trades mentioned are designed to give an approximate idea of the value of each potential starting pitching addition. They don’t necessarily correlate with the exact needs of the Marlins. Pablo Lopez At just 25, Lopez has improved both steadily and significantly since he made his MLB debut in 2018. In 102 2/3 innings pitched in 2021, Lopez accumulated a 3.29 FIP, 2.3 fWAR, a 27.5% K% and a measly 6.2% BB% Talk about a high floor. Lopez relies on a four-pitch mix including a mid-90s fastball, an excellent changeup, a cutter, and a curveball. Lopez is under team control until 2025 and would be pricey, but this is the position the Twins find themselves if they want to improve their rotation significantly through trade. Possible Trade: The Twins trade INF Luis Arraez, C Ryan Jeffers and a PTBNL to Miami for RHP Pablo Lopez Jesus Luzardo A former consensus top pitching prospect, very little has gone right for Luzardo since his first significant MLB stint in 2019 for the Athletics. In 95 MLB innings in 2021 between the A’s and Marlins, Luzardo managed a 22.4% K% (fine), an 11% BB% (not fine), a 5.48 FIP, and -0.2 fWAR (yikes). So, what’s to like here? For one, you don’t sit atop prospect rankings for multiple years for no reason. Luzardo still has electric stuff. A fastball that sits at 95 mph at the low end and a good slider he throws around 23% of the time. This combination falls into the wheelhouse of the Twins pitching preferences, but they’d have to be confident in next steps for Luzardo to pull the trigger on trading for him. Possible Trade: The Twins trade OF Brent Rooker and RHP Cole Sands to Miami for LHP Jesus Luzardo Sixto Sanchez The Twins would be trading into the upper echelons of ‘stuff’ if they were to acquire Sanchez. Still a top pitching prospect, the 23-year-old boasts front of the rotation firepower. Sanchez relies on a fastball that sits at 98 mph. It gets fewer strikeouts than a pitch of that velocity should due to a lack of movement, but it’s his changeup that is the star of the show. In just 40 MLB innings in 2021, Sanchez had a 20.9% K%, 7% BB%, a 3.50 FIP, and accumulated 1.0 fWAR (that’s around 4.5 fWAR pace over a season). Sanchez could be poised for a monster 2022. Possible Trade: The Twins trade OF Max Kepler to the Marlins for RHP Sixto Sanchez The Marlins have a huge amount of additional starting pitching assets, including Trevor Rogers, Elieser Hernandez, Edward Cabrera, and Max Meyer who I chose not to include as targets as I felt the Marlins would be unlikely to part with them (Rogers and Meyer) or the Twins wouldn’t be confident enough in the floor they would give the rotation to execute the trade. Which of these targets feel like the best fit for the Twins? What direction do you think the team will take to improve the rotation when the lockout ends? Join the discussion below.
  13. Entering the 2021 season, Minnesota hoped to have one of baseball's best catching duos. That plan didn't work perfectly, so where does the organization sit when it comes to the catching spot? Current Catchers: Mitch Garver and Ryan Jeffers Like most of the Twins roster, Garver and Jeffers struggled out of the gate before the team decided to make some changes. Garver ended April with a .644 OPS while Jeffers sat with a .393 OPS and a Triple-A demotion. In May, Garver raised his OPS by nearly 200 points, with Jeffers out of the picture. Unfortunately, he suffered a gruesome groin injury at the beginning of June that forced him to the sidelines until July 19. Jeffers took advantage of the opportunity to post a .905 OPS in his first 15 games after the Garver injury. The hot streak didn't last as he hit .191/.269/.382 (.651) in his final 59 games. Garver returned from injury with two home runs in his first game back. He looked like the 2019 version of Garver for the season's final 27 games as he posted a .927 OPS. With two MLB caliber catchers, Minnesota has an opportunity to trade one of their controllable assets this winter. However, keeping both catchers allows the team a chance to do what they planned in 2021. Jeffers has an opportunity to prove his season was a fluke, and Garver can continue to mash. 40-Man Roster Options Outside of Garver and Jeffers, Ben Rortvedt is the only other catcher on the 40-man roster. Last season, he made his big-league debut and hit .169/.229/.281 (.510) in 39 games. Rortvedt's scouting report is a defense-first catcher as he has a career .672 OPS in five seasons. Last season, he threw out seve4n of a potential 16 runners for a 44% caught stealing percentage while the league average was 23%. Rortvedt should spend most of 2022 at Triple-A while filling in when needed at the big-league level. On the Farm Options Not all of the players listed below are guaranteed to be on the team's roster at the start of next season. Still, it offers some insight into the organization's catching depth. Minnesota has a slough of veteran catching options populating the rosters in the upper minors. Besides Rortvedt, all four of the projected Triple-A catchers are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft. David Bañuelos, Stevie Berman, Caleb Hamilton, and Chris Williams all saw catching time, with multiple players also getting time at first base. Berman was acquired last August from the Dodgers for LHP Andrew Vasquez. Obviously, there won't be five catchers on the Triple-A roster, so some of these players will be used at other levels. At Double-A, Jair Camargo and Jeferson Morales have the potential to be a very good catching duo. Camargo joined the Twins as part of the Kenta Maeda trade, and he collected 21 extra-base hits in 71 games last year. Morales combined for an .808 OPS last season with 12 home runs and 24 doubles between Low- and High-A. Both players will be 23 years old to start next season, and it seems more likely for them to end the season at Double-A. There are a few other names to watch in the minor's lower levels. Charles Mack was Minnesota's 6th round pick in the 2018 MLB Draft out of high school in New York. Last year as a 21-year-old, he spent the entire season at Low-A with a .738 OPS in 73 games. Patrick Winkel and Noah Cardenas were taken in last year's draft's 8th and 9th rounds. Each should debut at Low-A next season. Overall, Minnesota has catching strength at the MLB level with a few prospects to watch during the 2022 campaign. What do you think about the organization's depth at catcher? 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. Current Catchers: Mitch Garver and Ryan Jeffers Like most of the Twins roster, Garver and Jeffers struggled out of the gate before the team decided to make some changes. Garver ended April with a .644 OPS while Jeffers sat with a .393 OPS and a Triple-A demotion. In May, Garver raised his OPS by nearly 200 points, with Jeffers out of the picture. Unfortunately, he suffered a gruesome groin injury at the beginning of June that forced him to the sidelines until July 19. Jeffers took advantage of the opportunity to post a .905 OPS in his first 15 games after the Garver injury. The hot streak didn't last as he hit .191/.269/.382 (.651) in his final 59 games. Garver returned from injury with two home runs in his first game back. He looked like the 2019 version of Garver for the season's final 27 games as he posted a .927 OPS. With two MLB caliber catchers, Minnesota has an opportunity to trade one of their controllable assets this winter. However, keeping both catchers allows the team a chance to do what they planned in 2021. Jeffers has an opportunity to prove his season was a fluke, and Garver can continue to mash. 40-Man Roster Options Outside of Garver and Jeffers, Ben Rortvedt is the only other catcher on the 40-man roster. Last season, he made his big-league debut and hit .169/.229/.281 (.510) in 39 games. Rortvedt's scouting report is a defense-first catcher as he has a career .672 OPS in five seasons. Last season, he threw out seve4n of a potential 16 runners for a 44% caught stealing percentage while the league average was 23%. Rortvedt should spend most of 2022 at Triple-A while filling in when needed at the big-league level. On the Farm Options Not all of the players listed below are guaranteed to be on the team's roster at the start of next season. Still, it offers some insight into the organization's catching depth. Minnesota has a slough of veteran catching options populating the rosters in the upper minors. Besides Rortvedt, all four of the projected Triple-A catchers are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft. David Bañuelos, Stevie Berman, Caleb Hamilton, and Chris Williams all saw catching time, with multiple players also getting time at first base. Berman was acquired last August from the Dodgers for LHP Andrew Vasquez. Obviously, there won't be five catchers on the Triple-A roster, so some of these players will be used at other levels. At Double-A, Jair Camargo and Jeferson Morales have the potential to be a very good catching duo. Camargo joined the Twins as part of the Kenta Maeda trade, and he collected 21 extra-base hits in 71 games last year. Morales combined for an .808 OPS last season with 12 home runs and 24 doubles between Low- and High-A. Both players will be 23 years old to start next season, and it seems more likely for them to end the season at Double-A. There are a few other names to watch in the minor's lower levels. Charles Mack was Minnesota's 6th round pick in the 2018 MLB Draft out of high school in New York. Last year as a 21-year-old, he spent the entire season at Low-A with a .738 OPS in 73 games. Patrick Winkel and Noah Cardenas were taken in last year's draft's 8th and 9th rounds. Each should debut at Low-A next season. Overall, Minnesota has catching strength at the MLB level with a few prospects to watch during the 2022 campaign. What do you think about the organization's depth at catcher? 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. Ryan Jeffers burst onto the scene with exciting offensive numbers in 2020 before struggling offensively in 2021. Which is the real Ryan Jeffers? What does his offensive performance mean for the Twins catching situation in 2022? In 2020, Ryan Jeffers burst onto the scene like a supernova, crushing major league pitching to the tune of a 120 wRC+ in his maiden MLB season. Although a small sample size (62 plate appearances in a pandemic-shortened season), Jeffers’ emergence wasn’t completely surprising. Before being called up, the bat-first catcher drafted by the front office out of UNC Wilmington had crushed minor league pitching, averaging a 135 wRC+ between High-A and Double-A in 2019. Then, 2021 happened. Jeffers' star came crashing back down to earth. In 2021, he managed an 82 wRC+ and spent a significant amount of time at Triple-A St. Paul. So who is the real Ryan Jeffers? Can he ascend to his 2019 heights in 2022? What does the performance of his bat mean for Minnesota’s potentially dynamic catching tandem? Jeffers’ Range of Outcomes In 2020, Jeffers carried a BABIP of .364, unsustainably good. In 2021, it fell to .236, unsustainable bad. Could 2020 and 2021 simply be indicators of Jeffers’ one hundredth and first percentile outcomes, respectively? Possibly. But digging into Jeffers’ underlying numbers shows some interesting trends and opportunities to improve. What was Different in 2021? Scanning Jeffers’ underlying hitting numbers raises no immediate cause for alarm. In 2021, he increased his Barrel% from 13.9% to 14.5%, his Hard Hit% from 41.7% to 44%. Additionally, his max exit velocity remained consistent with 2020. We know Ryan Jeffers can destroy baseballs. So what changed? Despite some improvements in hard contact, Jeffers’ xBA fell from .232 to .211, his xwWOBA from .332 to .300. Why? Jeffers had less effective control of the strike zone and made contact less often in 2021. While Jeffers’ BB% remained consistent with his 2020 numbers, his o-swing% (the amount he swings at pitches outside the strike zone) increased sharply, from 26% to 33%. Indeed, his z-swing% (the amount he swings at pitches inside the zone) increased 5% from his 2020 numbers. In short, Jeffers was significantly less selective in 2021, which led to a sharp increase in K% from 2020. It’s also worth noting the quality of the contact Jeffers made against various pitches in 2021. Looking at his exit velocities against each pitch type, it’s noticeable that he is hitting the ball less solidly against fastballs and off-speed pitches in 2021. It’s also notable that Jeffers’ average launch angle against the pitches increased significantly last season. In other words, he is swinging underneath fastballs and off-speed pitches more frequently, generating more fly balls and pop-ups. In combination with a decrease in his control of the strike zone, this led to his overall offensive decline in 2021. What about 2022? How do we evaluate Jeffers as a catching option going into 2022? It’s worth noting here that Jeffers is a solid catcher and ranked in the 74th percentile in MLB for pitch framing in 2021 (remarkable for a player who did not have a catching coach in college). If Jeffers falls roughly between his 2020 and 2021 numbers next season, his offensive performance would equate to approximately a 100wRC+, a league-average hitter, but above league average for a catcher, with the pop we have come to expect from his bat. While there has been some speculation that Mitch Garver could be traded, I think it is more likely that the Twins rotate their catchers heavily through the DH spot next season. I’m intrigued by the possibility of Jeffers making adjustments from a poor offensive output in 2021. What are your thoughts on the starting catching situation in 2022? Do you think Jeffers can bounce back? Are you in favor of trading a catcher? Join the discussion below. View full article
  16. In 2020, Ryan Jeffers burst onto the scene like a supernova, crushing major league pitching to the tune of a 120 wRC+ in his maiden MLB season. Although a small sample size (62 plate appearances in a pandemic-shortened season), Jeffers’ emergence wasn’t completely surprising. Before being called up, the bat-first catcher drafted by the front office out of UNC Wilmington had crushed minor league pitching, averaging a 135 wRC+ between High-A and Double-A in 2019. Then, 2021 happened. Jeffers' star came crashing back down to earth. In 2021, he managed an 82 wRC+ and spent a significant amount of time at Triple-A St. Paul. So who is the real Ryan Jeffers? Can he ascend to his 2019 heights in 2022? What does the performance of his bat mean for Minnesota’s potentially dynamic catching tandem? Jeffers’ Range of Outcomes In 2020, Jeffers carried a BABIP of .364, unsustainably good. In 2021, it fell to .236, unsustainable bad. Could 2020 and 2021 simply be indicators of Jeffers’ one hundredth and first percentile outcomes, respectively? Possibly. But digging into Jeffers’ underlying numbers shows some interesting trends and opportunities to improve. What was Different in 2021? Scanning Jeffers’ underlying hitting numbers raises no immediate cause for alarm. In 2021, he increased his Barrel% from 13.9% to 14.5%, his Hard Hit% from 41.7% to 44%. Additionally, his max exit velocity remained consistent with 2020. We know Ryan Jeffers can destroy baseballs. So what changed? Despite some improvements in hard contact, Jeffers’ xBA fell from .232 to .211, his xwWOBA from .332 to .300. Why? Jeffers had less effective control of the strike zone and made contact less often in 2021. While Jeffers’ BB% remained consistent with his 2020 numbers, his o-swing% (the amount he swings at pitches outside the strike zone) increased sharply, from 26% to 33%. Indeed, his z-swing% (the amount he swings at pitches inside the zone) increased 5% from his 2020 numbers. In short, Jeffers was significantly less selective in 2021, which led to a sharp increase in K% from 2020. It’s also worth noting the quality of the contact Jeffers made against various pitches in 2021. Looking at his exit velocities against each pitch type, it’s noticeable that he is hitting the ball less solidly against fastballs and off-speed pitches in 2021. It’s also notable that Jeffers’ average launch angle against the pitches increased significantly last season. In other words, he is swinging underneath fastballs and off-speed pitches more frequently, generating more fly balls and pop-ups. In combination with a decrease in his control of the strike zone, this led to his overall offensive decline in 2021. What about 2022? How do we evaluate Jeffers as a catching option going into 2022? It’s worth noting here that Jeffers is a solid catcher and ranked in the 74th percentile in MLB for pitch framing in 2021 (remarkable for a player who did not have a catching coach in college). If Jeffers falls roughly between his 2020 and 2021 numbers next season, his offensive performance would equate to approximately a 100wRC+, a league-average hitter, but above league average for a catcher, with the pop we have come to expect from his bat. While there has been some speculation that Mitch Garver could be traded, I think it is more likely that the Twins rotate their catchers heavily through the DH spot next season. I’m intrigued by the possibility of Jeffers making adjustments from a poor offensive output in 2021. What are your thoughts on the starting catching situation in 2022? Do you think Jeffers can bounce back? Are you in favor of trading a catcher? Join the discussion below.
  17. Earlier this week, we handed out grades for eight Twins starting pitchers. The six-month semester is over, and it’s time for Twins report cards. How did the infielders grade out? Considerations: Expectations Projections Results Injury Leverage/Value *MINIMUM 200 PLATE APPEARANCES TO QUALIFY* JORGE POLANCO 2021: 152 games, .269/.323/.503 (125 OPS+), 33 HR, 35 2B, 98 RBI, 18% K, 7% BB Undoubtedly the brightest star on the 2021 Twins, Polanco ultimately surged after a troubling start. Written off by many following a disappointing 2020 and treacherous April, "Polo" hit .279/.333/.541 with 32 homers and 31 doubles over his last 129 games. He hit a remarkable .333 with a 1.048 OPS with runners in scoring position. Polanco’s outstanding season didn’t offset the overall disappointment of the team but provided positivity and hope in times of need for Twins fans. He is one of the few sure things for 2022. That’s important. Polo was a much better second baseman than shortstop, ranking almost dead even in Outs Above Average (OAA) and Defensive Runs Saved (DRS). It went as well as any could’ve hoped. GRADE: A+ JOSH DONALDSON 2021: 135 games, .247/.352/.475 (127 OPS+), 26 HR, 26 2B, 72 RBI, 21% K, 13.6% BB Donaldson’s season halted before it started when he came up lame while running out a double on Opening Day. His leg horrors had returned, and it once again looked like his season would be significantly compromised. Donaldson indeed dealt with some aliments along the way, but he never again landed on the IL and produced his customary, strong season. He ranked fifth among MLB third baseman in wRC+ (124) and ninth in Win Probability Added (1.45). Defensively, Donaldson was average at third base. The perception of JD’s campaign might differ if he hadn’t started 0-for-18 with two outs and runners in scoring position. Or if he didn’t miss half the season in 2020. All-in-all, he remains one of the best third basemen in the world. GRADE: B MIGUEL SANÓ 2021: 135 games, .223/.312/.466 (113 OPS+), 30 HR, 24 2B, 75 RBI, 34% K, 11% BB By the time he got going at the plate, the Twins were out of contention, and many had tuned out. That’s an unfortunate reality, as Sanó was both healthy and productive for the season’s final three months. The streaky nature of Sanó’s game was on full display again in 2021. He was unplayable out of the gate, hitting .157/.271/.381 over his first 40 games. The Twins moved him to a platoon role, and he responded by hitting .250/.329/.500 with 21 homers over his last 377 plate appearances, earning back his starting job. It’s hard to argue that Sanó notably contributed to the team, evidenced by his 0.4 Wins Above Replacement mark at FanGraphs. But finishing with 30 homers after such a brutal start certainly helped his stock. GRADE: C- MITCH GARVER 2021: 68 games, .256/.358/.517 (140 OPS+), 13 HR, 15 2B, 34 RBI, 29.2%, 12.8% BB Like Polanco and Sanó, Garver got off to a brutal start, hitting .161/.212/.387 with 12 strikeouts and two walks in his first 33 plate appearances. And like his counterparts, he quickly turned it around. In 102 plate appearances from April 16th until June 1st, Garver hit .247/.373/.541 with six homers and seven doubles. His walk rate climbed to nearly 17% over that span. Sadly, a brutal injury knocked him out for the next month and a half. Garver returned and was even better, hitting .297 with a .927 OPS over his final 27 games. The Sauce was back as a premier offensive catcher, and he also ranked in the 93rd percentile in framing. GRADE: A- RYAN JEFFERS 2021: 85 G, .199/.270/.401 (83 OPS+), 14 HR, 10 2B, 3B, 35 RBI, 37% K, 7.5% BB The Twins thrust Jeffers into an unfavorable role from the outset, with Garver getting the starts against lefties and the rookie left to deal with right-handers. It didn’t go well. Jeffers went 5-for-34 (.147) with 18 strikeouts and three walks in April which earned him a spot on the Saints roster. Called up and handed the reigns after Garver went down, Jeffers hit lefties reasonably well and had some stretches of productivity. The sky-high strikeout rate and lack of consistent walks are both issues, but Jeffers graded favorably on the defensive side with above-average framing. The Twins will likely leave their Designated Hitter hole open for rotation in 2022. This allows Garver and Jeffers to start against lefties, which is a much better plan for the duo than the 2021 misread. GRADE: D+ ANDRELTON SIMMONS 2021: 131 games, .223/.283/.274 (57 OPS+), 3 HR, 12 2B, 31 RBI, 13.8% K, 7.1% BB The Twins signed Simmons to upgrade the infield defense drastically, a move that looked brilliant at the time. What they didn’t know is that he’d be one of the most extensive lineup holes they’ve had in years. Simmons’ .558 OPS is the lowest by a Twin in over 20 years (min. 450 PA). Simmons entered the season with a career .696 OPS. His defense was close to as advertised. Simmons ranked second to Nicky Lopez among AL shortstops in Outs Above Average (16) and second to Carlos Correa in Defensive Runs Saved (14). Still, it wasn’t nearly enough to make up for a historically bad offensive performance. Simmons went 9-for-20 out of the gate and then hit .212/.265/.258 with 12 extra-base hits the rest of the way. GRADE: D NICK GORDON 2021: 73 G, .240/.292/.355 (79 OPS+), 4 HR, 9 2B, 3B, 23 RBI, 10 SB, 25% K, 6% BB Gordon reaching the Twins is a significant accomplishment in itself. He went through a lot to finally land in the bigs, and he earned an extended look down the stretch. Gordon hit .263/.316/.391 with 14 extra-base hits over his first 66 games before going one for his last 21. He held his own at multiple defensive spots, instilling confidence in many that he could fill a utility role for the team in 2022 and beyond. Gordon logged innings at second base, shortstop, third base, centerfield, left field, and right field. There’s definite value in that. Gordon’s overall line isn’t fantastic, and he’ll need to draw more walks or strike out less to improve offensively. There’s some power in his bat, he’s great on the bases, and his versatility is tantalizing. GRADE: B- 2021 MINNESOTA TWINS GRADES Starting Pitchers Infielders Relief Pitchers - Coming Soon! Outfielders - Coming Soon! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email — For The Locked On Twins Podcast, Click Here View full article
  18. Considerations: Expectations Projections Results Injury Leverage/Value *MINIMUM 200 PLATE APPEARANCES TO QUALIFY* JORGE POLANCO 2021: 152 games, .269/.323/.503 (125 OPS+), 33 HR, 35 2B, 98 RBI, 18% K, 7% BB Undoubtedly the brightest star on the 2021 Twins, Polanco ultimately surged after a troubling start. Written off by many following a disappointing 2020 and treacherous April, "Polo" hit .279/.333/.541 with 32 homers and 31 doubles over his last 129 games. He hit a remarkable .333 with a 1.048 OPS with runners in scoring position. Polanco’s outstanding season didn’t offset the overall disappointment of the team but provided positivity and hope in times of need for Twins fans. He is one of the few sure things for 2022. That’s important. Polo was a much better second baseman than shortstop, ranking almost dead even in Outs Above Average (OAA) and Defensive Runs Saved (DRS). It went as well as any could’ve hoped. GRADE: A+ JOSH DONALDSON 2021: 135 games, .247/.352/.475 (127 OPS+), 26 HR, 26 2B, 72 RBI, 21% K, 13.6% BB Donaldson’s season halted before it started when he came up lame while running out a double on Opening Day. His leg horrors had returned, and it once again looked like his season would be significantly compromised. Donaldson indeed dealt with some aliments along the way, but he never again landed on the IL and produced his customary, strong season. He ranked fifth among MLB third baseman in wRC+ (124) and ninth in Win Probability Added (1.45). Defensively, Donaldson was average at third base. The perception of JD’s campaign might differ if he hadn’t started 0-for-18 with two outs and runners in scoring position. Or if he didn’t miss half the season in 2020. All-in-all, he remains one of the best third basemen in the world. GRADE: B MIGUEL SANÓ 2021: 135 games, .223/.312/.466 (113 OPS+), 30 HR, 24 2B, 75 RBI, 34% K, 11% BB By the time he got going at the plate, the Twins were out of contention, and many had tuned out. That’s an unfortunate reality, as Sanó was both healthy and productive for the season’s final three months. The streaky nature of Sanó’s game was on full display again in 2021. He was unplayable out of the gate, hitting .157/.271/.381 over his first 40 games. The Twins moved him to a platoon role, and he responded by hitting .250/.329/.500 with 21 homers over his last 377 plate appearances, earning back his starting job. It’s hard to argue that Sanó notably contributed to the team, evidenced by his 0.4 Wins Above Replacement mark at FanGraphs. But finishing with 30 homers after such a brutal start certainly helped his stock. GRADE: C- MITCH GARVER 2021: 68 games, .256/.358/.517 (140 OPS+), 13 HR, 15 2B, 34 RBI, 29.2%, 12.8% BB Like Polanco and Sanó, Garver got off to a brutal start, hitting .161/.212/.387 with 12 strikeouts and two walks in his first 33 plate appearances. And like his counterparts, he quickly turned it around. In 102 plate appearances from April 16th until June 1st, Garver hit .247/.373/.541 with six homers and seven doubles. His walk rate climbed to nearly 17% over that span. Sadly, a brutal injury knocked him out for the next month and a half. Garver returned and was even better, hitting .297 with a .927 OPS over his final 27 games. The Sauce was back as a premier offensive catcher, and he also ranked in the 93rd percentile in framing. GRADE: A- RYAN JEFFERS 2021: 85 G, .199/.270/.401 (83 OPS+), 14 HR, 10 2B, 3B, 35 RBI, 37% K, 7.5% BB The Twins thrust Jeffers into an unfavorable role from the outset, with Garver getting the starts against lefties and the rookie left to deal with right-handers. It didn’t go well. Jeffers went 5-for-34 (.147) with 18 strikeouts and three walks in April which earned him a spot on the Saints roster. Called up and handed the reigns after Garver went down, Jeffers hit lefties reasonably well and had some stretches of productivity. The sky-high strikeout rate and lack of consistent walks are both issues, but Jeffers graded favorably on the defensive side with above-average framing. The Twins will likely leave their Designated Hitter hole open for rotation in 2022. This allows Garver and Jeffers to start against lefties, which is a much better plan for the duo than the 2021 misread. GRADE: D+ ANDRELTON SIMMONS 2021: 131 games, .223/.283/.274 (57 OPS+), 3 HR, 12 2B, 31 RBI, 13.8% K, 7.1% BB The Twins signed Simmons to upgrade the infield defense drastically, a move that looked brilliant at the time. What they didn’t know is that he’d be one of the most extensive lineup holes they’ve had in years. Simmons’ .558 OPS is the lowest by a Twin in over 20 years (min. 450 PA). Simmons entered the season with a career .696 OPS. His defense was close to as advertised. Simmons ranked second to Nicky Lopez among AL shortstops in Outs Above Average (16) and second to Carlos Correa in Defensive Runs Saved (14). Still, it wasn’t nearly enough to make up for a historically bad offensive performance. Simmons went 9-for-20 out of the gate and then hit .212/.265/.258 with 12 extra-base hits the rest of the way. GRADE: D NICK GORDON 2021: 73 G, .240/.292/.355 (79 OPS+), 4 HR, 9 2B, 3B, 23 RBI, 10 SB, 25% K, 6% BB Gordon reaching the Twins is a significant accomplishment in itself. He went through a lot to finally land in the bigs, and he earned an extended look down the stretch. Gordon hit .263/.316/.391 with 14 extra-base hits over his first 66 games before going one for his last 21. He held his own at multiple defensive spots, instilling confidence in many that he could fill a utility role for the team in 2022 and beyond. Gordon logged innings at second base, shortstop, third base, centerfield, left field, and right field. There’s definite value in that. Gordon’s overall line isn’t fantastic, and he’ll need to draw more walks or strike out less to improve offensively. There’s some power in his bat, he’s great on the bases, and his versatility is tantalizing. GRADE: B- 2021 MINNESOTA TWINS GRADES Starting Pitchers Infielders Relief Pitchers - Coming Soon! Outfielders - Coming Soon! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email — For The Locked On Twins Podcast, Click Here
  19. Rookie players’ performances can be a roller-coaster ride as teams and the league adjust to unproven players. Following a turbulent 2021 season, here are the five Twins rookies with the most long-term value. Minnesota saw some solid performances from rookie players this season. However, their current value might not match up perfectly with their long-term value. 5. Bailey Ober, SP Ober was one of the most critical rookies for the 2021 Twins. In fact, earlier this week he was named the team's Best Rookie by Twins Daily. He stepped into the rotation that saw multiple players dealt away at the trade deadline. Ober has never ranked as one of the team’s top prospects, but his 2021 performance proves he can be a back-end of the rotation starter for multiple years. This provides value to the club, especially since the 2022 Twins have many rotational holes to fill. 4. Ryan Jeffers, C Like many Twins players, Jeffers had a disappointing 2021 season, but he is a prime candidate to rebound in 2022. Minnesota drafted Jeffers as a hit-first catcher with defensive skills that the Twins scouts believed in more than national publications. His defense has vastly improved since joining the Twins organization. Also, Jeffers is only 24-years-old, and he won’t be arbitration-eligible until 2024. There is a lot of defensive value associated with catchers, and Jeffers has to be average at the plate to provide long-term value. 3. Joe Ryan, SP Ryan was the top pitching prospect acquired from the Rays for Nelson Cruz, and he was impressive during his first taste of the big leagues. He pitched five innings or more in four of his five starts and allowed three runs or fewer. His most impressive start came in Chicago, where Ryan struck out 11 Cubs batters in five innings. Like Ober, Minnesota likely has Ryan penciled into the back-end of the rotation for 2022, but he has the chance to be a top-half of the rotation starter. 2. Trevor Larnach, OF In his rookie season, things didn’t go perfectly for Larnach. After a strong start, the team demoted him after some mid-season struggles. Things didn’t go much better in St. Paul where he hit .176/.323/.373 (.695) in 14 games. Larnach was a first-round pick for a reason, and he showcased his high-ceiling during the 2019 season when he posted an .842 OPS between High-A and Double-A. That performance led him to be named the 2019 Twins Daily Minor League Player of the Year. He can get back to that level and hit in the middle of the line-up for most of the next decade. 1. Alex Kirilloff, OF/1B Kirilloff was impressive in the middle months of the season as he posted an OPS of .760 or higher in May and June. In July, a wrist injury sapped some of his power, and he underwent season-ending wrist surgery. MLB Pipeline thinks Kirilloff has one of the highest long-term values among all 2021 rookies. Unfortunately, injuries have been part of his professional career. If Minnesota moves him to first base, he will be an above-average hitter and defender for the majority of his big-league career. How would you rank this year’s rookies when it comes to future value? 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. The Marlins have pitching and need an offensive upgrade at catcher. The Twins have catching and plenty of need in their starting rotation. Is this trade match too good to be true? It's clear that starting pitching is Minnesota's biggest priority this winter, and the team will have to be creative to fill all the starting rotation needs. One of the avenues will undoubtedly be to explore the trade market. Free-agent starting pitching costs a premium, and the current regime hasn't been successful signing players in the past. Enter the Miami Marlins and their surplus of starting pitching. It seems like no team can have too much starting pitching, but the Marlins have a strong farm system and other MLB-ready options. According to MLB Pipeline, six of their top-10 prospects are pitchers, including four pitchers at the Double-A level or higher. Marlins manager Don Mattingly made it clear that upgrading catcher is a priority for the club this winter. "It's an area we're looking at," Mattingly said. "It's fairly safe to say it was some kind of message when we grabbed two catchers at the trade deadline and we also have Nick Fortes up here." Fortes, a 2018 MLB Draft pick, posted a 1.030 OPS in 34 plate appearances. However, he has a .651 OPS in 190 minor league games. Alex Jackson and Payton Henry, both catchers acquired at the deadline, struggled after joining the Marlins organization. With no clear long-term option, the Marlins can look to the free-agent class, but Yan Gomes (98 OPS+) is the best option. Minnesota entered the season with what looked like one of baseball's best catching duos, but there were some struggles along the way. Ryan Jeffers struggled offensively at the Triple-A and MLB-level. Mitch Garver found his swing after a rough first month, but he was limited to 68 games. Minnesota's catching future is uncertain with both players' inconsistent 2021 campaign. From the Twins' perspective, Garver seems like the more likely player to be traded. He is six years older than Jeffers, and he has multiple years of team control remaining. Trading Garver allows the Twins to give Jeffers more regular at-bats, and it also provides the team with an opportunity to bring in a left-handed veteran catcher to serve in a back-up role (unless they feel that Ben Rortvedt is ready for such a role). Other teams with established catchers are likely to reach out to the Marlins. Last winter, Miami had discussions about acquiring Willson Contreras from the Cubs, but he is only one year away from free agency. MLB Trade Rumors identified Arizona's Carson Kelly and Pittsburgh's Jacob Stallings as other possible trade candidates. Kelly posted a 104 OPS+ in 98 games, while Stallings finished the year with a 92 OPS+ in 112 games. There's also no guarantee either of those teams are interested in trading their catchers. To be competitive in 2022, the Twins will need to trade MLB-level assets to acquire starting pitching. Besides the catchers, other established players like Max Kepler, Josh Donaldson, and Luis Arraez will likely hear their names in the rumor mill. For now, the Twins and Marlins seem like a strong match to make a trade this winter. Do you think the Marlins and the Twins will be able to work out a deal? 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
  21. Minnesota saw some solid performances from rookie players this season. However, their current value might not match up perfectly with their long-term value. 5. Bailey Ober, SP Ober was one of the most critical rookies for the 2021 Twins. In fact, earlier this week he was named the team's Best Rookie by Twins Daily. He stepped into the rotation that saw multiple players dealt away at the trade deadline. Ober has never ranked as one of the team’s top prospects, but his 2021 performance proves he can be a back-end of the rotation starter for multiple years. This provides value to the club, especially since the 2022 Twins have many rotational holes to fill. 4. Ryan Jeffers, C Like many Twins players, Jeffers had a disappointing 2021 season, but he is a prime candidate to rebound in 2022. Minnesota drafted Jeffers as a hit-first catcher with defensive skills that the Twins scouts believed in more than national publications. His defense has vastly improved since joining the Twins organization. Also, Jeffers is only 24-years-old, and he won’t be arbitration-eligible until 2024. There is a lot of defensive value associated with catchers, and Jeffers has to be average at the plate to provide long-term value. 3. Joe Ryan, SP Ryan was the top pitching prospect acquired from the Rays for Nelson Cruz, and he was impressive during his first taste of the big leagues. He pitched five innings or more in four of his five starts and allowed three runs or fewer. His most impressive start came in Chicago, where Ryan struck out 11 Cubs batters in five innings. Like Ober, Minnesota likely has Ryan penciled into the back-end of the rotation for 2022, but he has the chance to be a top-half of the rotation starter. 2. Trevor Larnach, OF In his rookie season, things didn’t go perfectly for Larnach. After a strong start, the team demoted him after some mid-season struggles. Things didn’t go much better in St. Paul where he hit .176/.323/.373 (.695) in 14 games. Larnach was a first-round pick for a reason, and he showcased his high-ceiling during the 2019 season when he posted an .842 OPS between High-A and Double-A. That performance led him to be named the 2019 Twins Daily Minor League Player of the Year. He can get back to that level and hit in the middle of the line-up for most of the next decade. 1. Alex Kirilloff, OF/1B Kirilloff was impressive in the middle months of the season as he posted an OPS of .760 or higher in May and June. In July, a wrist injury sapped some of his power, and he underwent season-ending wrist surgery. MLB Pipeline thinks Kirilloff has one of the highest long-term values among all 2021 rookies. Unfortunately, injuries have been part of his professional career. If Minnesota moves him to first base, he will be an above-average hitter and defender for the majority of his big-league career. How would you rank this year’s rookies when it comes to future value? 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
  22. It's clear that starting pitching is Minnesota's biggest priority this winter, and the team will have to be creative to fill all the starting rotation needs. One of the avenues will undoubtedly be to explore the trade market. Free-agent starting pitching costs a premium, and the current regime hasn't been successful signing players in the past. Enter the Miami Marlins and their surplus of starting pitching. It seems like no team can have too much starting pitching, but the Marlins have a strong farm system and other MLB-ready options. According to MLB Pipeline, six of their top-10 prospects are pitchers, including four pitchers at the Double-A level or higher. Marlins manager Don Mattingly made it clear that upgrading catcher is a priority for the club this winter. "It's an area we're looking at," Mattingly said. "It's fairly safe to say it was some kind of message when we grabbed two catchers at the trade deadline and we also have Nick Fortes up here." Fortes, a 2018 MLB Draft pick, posted a 1.030 OPS in 34 plate appearances. However, he has a .651 OPS in 190 minor league games. Alex Jackson and Payton Henry, both catchers acquired at the deadline, struggled after joining the Marlins organization. With no clear long-term option, the Marlins can look to the free-agent class, but Yan Gomes (98 OPS+) is the best option. Minnesota entered the season with what looked like one of baseball's best catching duos, but there were some struggles along the way. Ryan Jeffers struggled offensively at the Triple-A and MLB-level. Mitch Garver found his swing after a rough first month, but he was limited to 68 games. Minnesota's catching future is uncertain with both players' inconsistent 2021 campaign. From the Twins' perspective, Garver seems like the more likely player to be traded. He is six years older than Jeffers, and he has multiple years of team control remaining. Trading Garver allows the Twins to give Jeffers more regular at-bats, and it also provides the team with an opportunity to bring in a left-handed veteran catcher to serve in a back-up role (unless they feel that Ben Rortvedt is ready for such a role). Other teams with established catchers are likely to reach out to the Marlins. Last winter, Miami had discussions about acquiring Willson Contreras from the Cubs, but he is only one year away from free agency. MLB Trade Rumors identified Arizona's Carson Kelly and Pittsburgh's Jacob Stallings as other possible trade candidates. Kelly posted a 104 OPS+ in 98 games, while Stallings finished the year with a 92 OPS+ in 112 games. There's also no guarantee either of those teams are interested in trading their catchers. To be competitive in 2022, the Twins will need to trade MLB-level assets to acquire starting pitching. Besides the catchers, other established players like Max Kepler, Josh Donaldson, and Luis Arraez will likely hear their names in the rumor mill. For now, the Twins and Marlins seem like a strong match to make a trade this winter. Do you think the Marlins and the Twins will be able to work out a deal? 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. Mitch Garver and Ryan Jeffers entered the 2021 season with hopes of being one of baseball’s best catching duos. Unfortunately, both players struggled at times, which casts doubt on the future of Twins catching. In recent years, Minnesota has successfully utilized a two-catcher rotation. In 2019, Mitch Garver and Jason Castro split catching duties, with both players posting OPS+ totals of 100 or more. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli has been a big fan of rest and recovery during his tenure. This rotational system for catchers allows for regular rest at one of the most grueling positions in the sport. One reason the Garver-Castro pairing worked so well was that Garver bats right-handed and Castro bats left-handed. This allowed for a more natural platoon of the batters. Entering this season, there was hope that Garver and Ryan Jeffers would settle into their two-catcher rotation. Like many things for the 2021 Twins, the plan didn’t work, and one reason is the handedness of the catchers. Neither catcher was hitting very well in the season’s first month. Garver ended April by hitting .172/.213/.431 (.644) with 27 strikeouts and seven extra-base hits in 18 games. Jeffers hit .147/.216/.176 (.393), with one of his five hits being for extra bases. Baldelli tried to get Garver’s bat going by having him face more lefties, but that doesn’t help Jeffers, who has hit .189/.259/.385 (.644) against righties in 2021. At the end of April, the Twins moved Jeffers to Triple-A, a minor league level where he had yet to appear. Jeffers hit .217/.340/.446 (.786) with the Saints this year, including a 26 to 16 strikeout to walk ratio. Garver’s bat took off after Jeffers’ demotion. In 22 games, he hit .281/.438/.579 (1.017) with nine extra-base hits. It looked like the 2019 version of Garver was back. In early June, Garver suffered a gruesome "groin" injury that kept him out a month and made it necessary to call up Jeffers. Since early June, Jeffers has posted a .714 OPS with 23 extra-base hits in 71 games. Garver returned in July, and he has a .998 OPS with 12 extra-base hits in 24 games. Garver is one of baseball’s best offensive catchers when healthy, so does that make him a tradable asset? Minnesota’s off-season plan will include acquiring starting pitching, which means spending big on free agents or trading away players and prospects. Mitch Garver and Ryan Jeffers are both under team control for multiple years, so it makes sense to deal one of these players away if it helps the team rebuild for the short term. Garver knows the future is uncertain for the Twins. “You never really know what the organization is thinking,” Garver said. “You saw it in ’18, they traded away some homegrown guys that had been a staple in the lineup for a long time. And you saw what we did in ’19 when we turned it around, won 100 games with the lineup that we have, added a few pieces and we were a really good team. Who knows what could happen?” Minnesota also has Ben Rortvedt as an option to fill the backup catcher role. He is considered the best defensive catcher out of the three, and he is left-handed to help form a more natural platoon. However, there are questions about how much he can hit at the big-league level. At Triple-A this season, he hit .254/.324/.426 (.750), but his OPS is 240 points lower with the Twins. In a part-time role, Rortvedt might find success, especially if he is only facing right-handed pitching. Many fans have questions about Minnesota’s direction moving forward. Will the team enter 2022 with both Garver and Jeffers on the roster? Can Rortvedt be the team’s regular back-up catcher? 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
  24. In recent years, Minnesota has successfully utilized a two-catcher rotation. In 2019, Mitch Garver and Jason Castro split catching duties, with both players posting OPS+ totals of 100 or more. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli has been a big fan of rest and recovery during his tenure. This rotational system for catchers allows for regular rest at one of the most grueling positions in the sport. One reason the Garver-Castro pairing worked so well was that Garver bats right-handed and Castro bats left-handed. This allowed for a more natural platoon of the batters. Entering this season, there was hope that Garver and Ryan Jeffers would settle into their two-catcher rotation. Like many things for the 2021 Twins, the plan didn’t work, and one reason is the handedness of the catchers. Neither catcher was hitting very well in the season’s first month. Garver ended April by hitting .172/.213/.431 (.644) with 27 strikeouts and seven extra-base hits in 18 games. Jeffers hit .147/.216/.176 (.393), with one of his five hits being for extra bases. Baldelli tried to get Garver’s bat going by having him face more lefties, but that doesn’t help Jeffers, who has hit .189/.259/.385 (.644) against righties in 2021. At the end of April, the Twins moved Jeffers to Triple-A, a minor league level where he had yet to appear. Jeffers hit .217/.340/.446 (.786) with the Saints this year, including a 26 to 16 strikeout to walk ratio. Garver’s bat took off after Jeffers’ demotion. In 22 games, he hit .281/.438/.579 (1.017) with nine extra-base hits. It looked like the 2019 version of Garver was back. In early June, Garver suffered a gruesome "groin" injury that kept him out a month and made it necessary to call up Jeffers. Since early June, Jeffers has posted a .714 OPS with 23 extra-base hits in 71 games. Garver returned in July, and he has a .998 OPS with 12 extra-base hits in 24 games. Garver is one of baseball’s best offensive catchers when healthy, so does that make him a tradable asset? Minnesota’s off-season plan will include acquiring starting pitching, which means spending big on free agents or trading away players and prospects. Mitch Garver and Ryan Jeffers are both under team control for multiple years, so it makes sense to deal one of these players away if it helps the team rebuild for the short term. Garver knows the future is uncertain for the Twins. “You never really know what the organization is thinking,” Garver said. “You saw it in ’18, they traded away some homegrown guys that had been a staple in the lineup for a long time. And you saw what we did in ’19 when we turned it around, won 100 games with the lineup that we have, added a few pieces and we were a really good team. Who knows what could happen?” Minnesota also has Ben Rortvedt as an option to fill the backup catcher role. He is considered the best defensive catcher out of the three, and he is left-handed to help form a more natural platoon. However, there are questions about how much he can hit at the big-league level. At Triple-A this season, he hit .254/.324/.426 (.750), but his OPS is 240 points lower with the Twins. In a part-time role, Rortvedt might find success, especially if he is only facing right-handed pitching. Many fans have questions about Minnesota’s direction moving forward. Will the team enter 2022 with both Garver and Jeffers on the roster? Can Rortvedt be the team’s regular back-up catcher? 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
  25. Every season in baseball history, some players have underperformed. Most of the Minnesota Twins' roster fits into this category in 2021, but who are the top candidates to bounce back? Baseball is a challenging game, and even the all-time greats can have a down season. Players fight through injuries, work on swing adjustments, and fight against extensive data compiled on their every weakness. This is a tough environment for any player to find success. Here are three Twins players that underperformed in 2021 that should return to form next season. Randy Dobnak, SP Everything that could go wrong did go wrong for Dobnak after signing his extension last spring. Beginning the season as a reliever and multiple IL stints meant his season could never get off the ground. There were brief glimpses of the old Dobnak this season, but he ended up being worth -1.3 WAR. Only J.A. Happ and Matt Shoemaker posted a lower WAR total for the team this season. Dobnak is also under contract through 2025. In next year's starting rotation, Minnesota will have plenty of opportunities, and Dobnak is better than his numbers from 2021. Alex Colome, RP Like Dobnak, not much went right for Colome at the start of the year. His disastrous April helped put the Twins in a hole that made it nearly impossible to dig out. He has already shown improved performance in the second half with a 2.63 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. He's held batters to a .214/.277/.359 slash line in his last 27 games. One of Minnesota's biggest questions this winter will be whether or not to pick up Colome's mutual option. With Taylor Rogers injured, could that make the team want to keep Colome around? Ryan Jeffers, C Minnesota started the year with what looked like one of baseball's best catching duos. Both Ryan Jeffers and Mitch Garver struggled offensively before Jeffers was eventually demoted. Keep in mind that Jeffers had never played at Triple-A in his professional career. In 24 games, he got on base over 34% of the time and posted a .786 OPS. Defensively, he has still provided value as he has been worth four defensive runs saved and ranks in the 72nd percentile for framing. Jeffers doesn't turn 25 until next June, and he is still the future of catching for the Twins. Which Twins player do you feel is the most likely to bounce back in 2022? 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
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