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  1. The Twins split their doubleheader with Cleveland on Tuesday. They won the second game 6-3 thanks to strong performance from Nick Gordon, Ryan Jeffers, and continued improvement from the bullpen. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Barnes 4.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K Homeruns: Jeffers (13) Top 3 WPA: Jeffers .323, Gordon .211, Sano .129 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) After the fret surrounding Joe Ryan’s injury had somewhat subsided, the Twins had the second game of a doubleheader against Cleveland to attend to. Here’s how the Twins lined up for game two. Charlie Barnes was recalled from St. Paul to be the extra man on the roster for the Twins Tuesday double header. After issuing a leadoff walk to Myles Straw, Barnes settled in. He retired the next seven Cleveland hitters to bring the game into the top of the third scoreless. Barnes was solid, if not spectacular, working relatively efficiently without dominating or overpowering hitters. With the wrist contusion to his throwing arm, Joe Ryan’s rotation spot into question. Barnes may find himself sticking around through the rest of the 2021 season. Barnes ran into trouble in the top of the third inning. An Oscar Mercado single, back-to-back doubles from Amed Rosario and Jose Ramirez, and an RBI single from Franmil Reyes gave Cleveland a 3-0 lead. Barnes returned in the fourth to complete a scoreless inning, and give the Twins bullpen some much-needed length after the trip to New York on Monday. The Twins fought back in the fourth inning. Jorge Polanco and Miguel Sano contributed singles before Ryan Jeffers ripped a two-run double down the left field line to cut the lead to 3-2. Willians Astudillo followed up with a double of his own to right center field to tie the game, before a Nick Gordon single to center field gave the Twins their first lead at 4-3. The Twins bullpen held the lead in the latter stages of the game. Kyle Barraclough and Juan Minaya threw back-to-back scoreless innings in the fifth and sixth, giving up just a hit between them. In the bottom of the sixth, the Twins added to their lead. Rob Refsnyder doubled down the left field line before Ryan Jeffers clubbed a 426-foot, two-run home run to increase the lead to 6-3. Alexander Colome closed the game in the seventh, bringing the Twins record on the season to 64-82. Encouraging performances from Nick Gordon and Ryan Jeffers will compound the highlight of the day, no serious injury for Joe Ryan. Bullpen Usage Chart FRI SAT SUN MON TUE TOT Minaya 40 0 17 0 13 70 Coulombe 0 23 0 0 27 50 Colomé 12 0 0 27 11 50 Duffey 11 0 0 38 0 49 Farrell 0 12 0 34 0 46 Barraclough 0 0 0 23 16 39 Moran 0 0 37 0 0 37 Thielbar 0 26 0 11 0 37 Alcalá 9 0 18 0 8 35 Garza Jr. 0 0 11 6 0 17 Next Up On Wednesday, the Twins continue their series with Cleveland. Griffin Jax will take on Cal Quantrill. First pitch is at 6:40 CST. Postgame Interviews - Coming soon View full article
  2. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Barnes 4.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K Homeruns: Jeffers (13) Top 3 WPA: Jeffers .323, Gordon .211, Sano .129 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) After the fret surrounding Joe Ryan’s injury had somewhat subsided, the Twins had the second game of a doubleheader against Cleveland to attend to. Here’s how the Twins lined up for game two. Charlie Barnes was recalled from St. Paul to be the extra man on the roster for the Twins Tuesday double header. After issuing a leadoff walk to Myles Straw, Barnes settled in. He retired the next seven Cleveland hitters to bring the game into the top of the third scoreless. Barnes was solid, if not spectacular, working relatively efficiently without dominating or overpowering hitters. With the wrist contusion to his throwing arm, Joe Ryan’s rotation spot into question. Barnes may find himself sticking around through the rest of the 2021 season. Barnes ran into trouble in the top of the third inning. An Oscar Mercado single, back-to-back doubles from Amed Rosario and Jose Ramirez, and an RBI single from Franmil Reyes gave Cleveland a 3-0 lead. Barnes returned in the fourth to complete a scoreless inning, and give the Twins bullpen some much-needed length after the trip to New York on Monday. The Twins fought back in the fourth inning. Jorge Polanco and Miguel Sano contributed singles before Ryan Jeffers ripped a two-run double down the left field line to cut the lead to 3-2. Willians Astudillo followed up with a double of his own to right center field to tie the game, before a Nick Gordon single to center field gave the Twins their first lead at 4-3. The Twins bullpen held the lead in the latter stages of the game. Kyle Barraclough and Juan Minaya threw back-to-back scoreless innings in the fifth and sixth, giving up just a hit between them. In the bottom of the sixth, the Twins added to their lead. Rob Refsnyder doubled down the left field line before Ryan Jeffers clubbed a 426-foot, two-run home run to increase the lead to 6-3. Alexander Colome closed the game in the seventh, bringing the Twins record on the season to 64-82. Encouraging performances from Nick Gordon and Ryan Jeffers will compound the highlight of the day, no serious injury for Joe Ryan. Bullpen Usage Chart FRI SAT SUN MON TUE TOT Minaya 40 0 17 0 13 70 Coulombe 0 23 0 0 27 50 Colomé 12 0 0 27 11 50 Duffey 11 0 0 38 0 49 Farrell 0 12 0 34 0 46 Barraclough 0 0 0 23 16 39 Moran 0 0 37 0 0 37 Thielbar 0 26 0 11 0 37 Alcalá 9 0 18 0 8 35 Garza Jr. 0 0 11 6 0 17 Next Up On Wednesday, the Twins continue their series with Cleveland. Griffin Jax will take on Cal Quantrill. First pitch is at 6:40 CST. Postgame Interviews - Coming soon
  3. Joe Ryan flirted with perfection in just his second career start, but in the end, he had to settle for seven shutout innings and his first MLB Win in the Twins second 3-0 victory over Cleveland in as many nights. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Ryan 7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K Homeruns: Sano (25) Top 3 WPA: Ryan (0.479), Gordon (0.101), Thielbar (0.58) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Joe Ryan Take Perfect Game into Seventh in Second Career Start Apart from one rough inning in his MLB debut last week against the Chicago Cubs, Joe Ryan looked pretty impressive and left an overall good first impression, at least in this writer’s eyes. Well, that strong first impression only got stronger after tonight’s start, as Ryan retired the first 19 hitters Cleveland sent to the plate. Joe Ryan had the fly ball out working in his favor early in the game tonight, as he gave up a number of deep fly balls that looked scary off the bat, but they all would eventually die harmlessly at the warning track for routine outs. Joe Ryan also did a good job keeping his pitch count low, as he completed seven shutout innings with just 85 pitches. While having just four strikeouts aided in that effort, the main reason was Joe not only avoided the walk, but he didn’t really work deep into many counts as he threw nearly 72% of his pitches for strikes. The perfect game, and the no-hitter, came to an end with one out in the seventh, when Amed Rosario laced a hard-hit ball between short and third for a one out single. Rosario would advance to second on a pickoff attempt throwing error from Ryan. However, Ryan would focus in and get out of the inning without allowing a run to score. Twins Get on the Board First in the Fifth The first few innings of this game were rather uneventful. The most action came from a Josh Donaldson leadoff double in the 2nd that was originally ruled an out, but after a Twins challenge Donaldson was awarded second base after it was determined that the ball made contact with the outfield wall just before it fell into the glove of Cleveland outfielder Harold Ramirez. The fifth inning started like most of the other innings early in this ballgame, as the Twins made two outs to begin the inning. Rob Refsnyder got the two out rally started by working the count full before drawing a two out walk. Then, with Nick Gordon up, Refsnyder stole second base to get in scoring position. Gordon then promptly delivered with a double, bringing Refsnyder around to score the first run of the game. Miguel Sano Goes Way Deep in the Seventh After putting up a run with two outs in the fifth, the Twins got another two out run in the seventh, this time via a more conventional way, a Miguel Sano bomb. Now I must preface this by saying, for Sano this was just another oh hum home run, but for any average MLB hitter this would certainly be classified as a bomb that traveled 449 feet to the opposite field. Twins Tack on Insurance Run in Eighth With the perfect game in the rearview mirror, the focus was shifted back on the original goal, winning the ballgame. The Twins bats aided in the bullpen’s quest to lock down the win by giving them a bigger cushion to work with. Ryan Jeffers got the inning started with a one out double into the left-center field gap. Luis Arraez followed with a single to left field that seemed like it should have scored Jeffers, but he was held up by third base coach Tony Diaz, despite the throw coming back into second. Byron Buxton then delivered on what should have been a TaylorMade double-play, but with Buxton’s speed those do not exist, as he beat it out allowing the run to score. Bullpen Usage Chart SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Colomé 11 23 9 17 0 60 Thielbar 0 28 0 25 8 61 Minaya 21 0 0 21 0 42 Alcalá 0 15 0 19 0 34 Garza Jr. 23 0 0 0 0 23 Duffey 0 10 8 0 17 35 Coulombe 0 0 0 0 0 0 What's Next The Twins will go for the rare four-game sweep vs Cleveland on Thursday night, as they will send Randy Dobnak to the mound to face Cleveland pitcher Cal Quantrill. First pitch is scheduled for 5:10pm CDT. Postgame Interviews View full article
  4. Joe Ryan flirted with perfection for the Minnesota Twins Wednesday night, carrying a perfect game into the seventh inning of what was just his second major league start. Highlights from that outing plus additional discussion on Ryan Jeffers, Nick Gordon, Miguel Sano, David Banuelos, J.T. Riddle, Jose Miranda, Drew Strotman, Edouard Julien, Michael Helman, Matt Wallner, Cody Laweryson and Noah Miller. View full video
  5. Joe Ryan flirted with perfection for the Minnesota Twins Wednesday night, carrying a perfect game into the seventh inning of what was just his second major league start. Highlights from that outing plus additional discussion on Ryan Jeffers, Nick Gordon, Miguel Sano, David Banuelos, J.T. Riddle, Jose Miranda, Drew Strotman, Edouard Julien, Michael Helman, Matt Wallner, Cody Laweryson and Noah Miller.
  6. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Ryan 7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K Homeruns: Sano (25) Top 3 WPA: Ryan (0.479), Gordon (0.101), Thielbar (0.58) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Joe Ryan Take Perfect Game into Seventh in Second Career Start Apart from one rough inning in his MLB debut last week against the Chicago Cubs, Joe Ryan looked pretty impressive and left an overall good first impression, at least in this writer’s eyes. Well, that strong first impression only got stronger after tonight’s start, as Ryan retired the first 19 hitters Cleveland sent to the plate. Joe Ryan had the fly ball out working in his favor early in the game tonight, as he gave up a number of deep fly balls that looked scary off the bat, but they all would eventually die harmlessly at the warning track for routine outs. Joe Ryan also did a good job keeping his pitch count low, as he completed seven shutout innings with just 85 pitches. While having just four strikeouts aided in that effort, the main reason was Joe not only avoided the walk, but he didn’t really work deep into many counts as he threw nearly 72% of his pitches for strikes. The perfect game, and the no-hitter, came to an end with one out in the seventh, when Amed Rosario laced a hard-hit ball between short and third for a one out single. Rosario would advance to second on a pickoff attempt throwing error from Ryan. However, Ryan would focus in and get out of the inning without allowing a run to score. Twins Get on the Board First in the Fifth The first few innings of this game were rather uneventful. The most action came from a Josh Donaldson leadoff double in the 2nd that was originally ruled an out, but after a Twins challenge Donaldson was awarded second base after it was determined that the ball made contact with the outfield wall just before it fell into the glove of Cleveland outfielder Harold Ramirez. The fifth inning started like most of the other innings early in this ballgame, as the Twins made two outs to begin the inning. Rob Refsnyder got the two out rally started by working the count full before drawing a two out walk. Then, with Nick Gordon up, Refsnyder stole second base to get in scoring position. Gordon then promptly delivered with a double, bringing Refsnyder around to score the first run of the game. Miguel Sano Goes Way Deep in the Seventh After putting up a run with two outs in the fifth, the Twins got another two out run in the seventh, this time via a more conventional way, a Miguel Sano bomb. Now I must preface this by saying, for Sano this was just another oh hum home run, but for any average MLB hitter this would certainly be classified as a bomb that traveled 449 feet to the opposite field. Twins Tack on Insurance Run in Eighth With the perfect game in the rearview mirror, the focus was shifted back on the original goal, winning the ballgame. The Twins bats aided in the bullpen’s quest to lock down the win by giving them a bigger cushion to work with. Ryan Jeffers got the inning started with a one out double into the left-center field gap. Luis Arraez followed with a single to left field that seemed like it should have scored Jeffers, but he was held up by third base coach Tony Diaz, despite the throw coming back into second. Byron Buxton then delivered on what should have been a TaylorMade double-play, but with Buxton’s speed those do not exist, as he beat it out allowing the run to score. Bullpen Usage Chart SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Colomé 11 23 9 17 0 60 Thielbar 0 28 0 25 8 61 Minaya 21 0 0 21 0 42 Alcalá 0 15 0 19 0 34 Garza Jr. 23 0 0 0 0 23 Duffey 0 10 8 0 17 35 Coulombe 0 0 0 0 0 0 What's Next The Twins will go for the rare four-game sweep vs Cleveland on Thursday night, as they will send Randy Dobnak to the mound to face Cleveland pitcher Cal Quantrill. First pitch is scheduled for 5:10pm CDT. Postgame Interviews
  7. Featured in tonight's Minnesota Twins recap are Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Randy Dobnak, Jorge Polanco, Ryan Jeffers, Drew Strotman, Drew Maggi, Stevie Berman and Sean Mooney.
  8. Featured in tonight's Minnesota Twins recap are Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Randy Dobnak, Jorge Polanco, Ryan Jeffers, Drew Strotman, Drew Maggi, Stevie Berman and Sean Mooney. View full video
  9. Box Score Bailey Ober: 4 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K (64 pitches, 44 strikes (68.8%)) Home Runs: Jeffers (9), Top 3 WPA: Jorge Polanco (0.126), Bailey Ober (0.117), Miguel Sano (.109) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The Return of Arraez Before Saturday’s game, the Twins announced that Luis Arraez was being activated from the Injured List. Gilberto Celestino was optioned to Triple-A St. Paul (will he finally make his Saints debut?). He was put into the cleanup spot in the Twins lineup. It paid immediate dividends for the team. In the first inning, he came up with runners on second and third base. He gave the Twins a 1-0 lead with a sacrifice fly. He added another RBI his second time up. With runners on first and second, he hit a double down the right field line. He added a walk later in the game. Bailey’s Big Hit Bailey Ober had not had an at-bat in a baseball game in eight years, since he and Vikings center Garrett Bradbury were starring at Charlotte Christian High School in North Carolina. He stepped to the plate, and on an 0-1 pitch, lined a single to right field for his first big-league hit. OK, softly lined a single to right field. It doesn’t matter. Congratulations to Ober! The Twins' pitchers haven’t had a lot of hits of late. More importantly, Bailey Ober pitched well. He began with three scoreless innings, and then in the fourth, he gave up a run but was able to limit damage with a big double play ball. Despite a 7-1 lead, Ober was due to bat for the third time but Willians Astudillo pinch hit and grounded a single through the infield to give the Twins an 8-1 lead. Ober’s fastball sat between 92 and 93 mph, but he is able to get swings and misses with it up in the strike zone. Why? As important, the Twins bullpen combined for five shutout innings. Jorge Alcala worked two innings, and then Caleb Thielbar, Juan Minaya and Alexander Colome each pitched one inning. (see the bullpen usage chart below) Jeffers Jolts In the third inning, Ryan Jeffers came to the plate and hit a three-run homer to give the Twins a 7-0 lead. It was his ninth homer of the season, but it was his third in his past two starts. Remember, he had two homers in that crazy, 17-14 loss to the Tigers on Wednesday. In his past nine games, Jeffers is 9-for-29 (.310) with two doubles, three homers and an OPS north of 1.000). Since returning from the IL, Mitch Garver has played in five games and hit .278 (1.324 OPS) with two doubles, three homers and ten RBI. After both struggled mightily at the plate in April, Twins fans are now seeing what we thought we might from the Twins catching duo. It feels appropriate to talk about the performance of Twins catchers on a night when Hall of Fame catcher Ted Simmons' number was retired by the Cardinals and a statue of his likeness was unveiled outside the stadium. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT Coulombe 0 10 0 0 23 0 33 Thielbar 13 16 0 0 0 14 43 Alcala 0 11 0 0 0 21 32 Gant 0 0 24 0 0 0 24 Colomé 16 0 0 0 0 16 32 Minaya 0 0 45 0 0 18 63 Duffey 11 7 0 0 32 0 50 Burrows 0 0 63 0 0 0 63
  10. After a long and emotional trade deadline day on Friday that ended in another Twins loss, the team came out hitting on Saturday and the pitching backed them up on the way to a nice 8-1 win in St. Louis. Box Score Bailey Ober: 4 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K (64 pitches, 44 strikes (68.8%)) Home Runs: Jeffers (9), Top 3 WPA: Jorge Polanco (0.126), Bailey Ober (0.117), Miguel Sano (.109) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The Return of Arraez Before Saturday’s game, the Twins announced that Luis Arraez was being activated from the Injured List. Gilberto Celestino was optioned to Triple-A St. Paul (will he finally make his Saints debut?). He was put into the cleanup spot in the Twins lineup. It paid immediate dividends for the team. In the first inning, he came up with runners on second and third base. He gave the Twins a 1-0 lead with a sacrifice fly. He added another RBI his second time up. With runners on first and second, he hit a double down the right field line. He added a walk later in the game. Bailey’s Big Hit Bailey Ober had not had an at-bat in a baseball game in eight years, since he and Vikings center Garrett Bradbury were starring at Charlotte Christian High School in North Carolina. He stepped to the plate, and on an 0-1 pitch, lined a single to right field for his first big-league hit. OK, softly lined a single to right field. It doesn’t matter. Congratulations to Ober! The Twins' pitchers haven’t had a lot of hits of late. More importantly, Bailey Ober pitched well. He began with three scoreless innings, and then in the fourth, he gave up a run but was able to limit damage with a big double play ball. Despite a 7-1 lead, Ober was due to bat for the third time but Willians Astudillo pinch hit and grounded a single through the infield to give the Twins an 8-1 lead. Ober’s fastball sat between 92 and 93 mph, but he is able to get swings and misses with it up in the strike zone. Why? As important, the Twins bullpen combined for five shutout innings. Jorge Alcala worked two innings, and then Caleb Thielbar, Juan Minaya and Alexander Colome each pitched one inning. (see the bullpen usage chart below) Jeffers Jolts In the third inning, Ryan Jeffers came to the plate and hit a three-run homer to give the Twins a 7-0 lead. It was his ninth homer of the season, but it was his third in his past two starts. Remember, he had two homers in that crazy, 17-14 loss to the Tigers on Wednesday. In his past nine games, Jeffers is 9-for-29 (.310) with two doubles, three homers and an OPS north of 1.000). Since returning from the IL, Mitch Garver has played in five games and hit .278 (1.324 OPS) with two doubles, three homers and ten RBI. After both struggled mightily at the plate in April, Twins fans are now seeing what we thought we might from the Twins catching duo. It feels appropriate to talk about the performance of Twins catchers on a night when Hall of Fame catcher Ted Simmons' number was retired by the Cardinals and a statue of his likeness was unveiled outside the stadium. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT Coulombe 0 10 0 0 23 0 33 Thielbar 13 16 0 0 0 14 43 Alcala 0 11 0 0 0 21 32 Gant 0 0 24 0 0 0 24 Colomé 16 0 0 0 0 16 32 Minaya 0 0 45 0 0 18 63 Duffey 11 7 0 0 32 0 50 Burrows 0 0 63 0 0 0 63 View full article
  11. Down by four runs early on, the Twins never gave up and managed to rally back to beat the Angels and even the series, one game a piece. Ryan Jeffers' clutch hit and Nick Gordon's aggressive baserunning sealed the deal late. Box Score Happ: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K (62.5% strikes) Home Runs: none Top 3 WPA: Jeffers .512, Rogers .169, Polanco .104 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Happ struggles early but settles in nicely Eight pitches. Eight pitches were all it took for this game to have its first runs on the board. Happ was off to a horrendous start, which is not news. Coming into tonight’s game, 21.3% of all earned runs given up by the southpaw in the season happened during the first inning of games. That became a little worse when Phil Gosselin doubled and then scored on a Jose Iglesias’ single. Then it became a lot worse a few moments later when old friend Kurt Suzuki hit a two-out, two-run bomb to the left field corner, making it 3-0 Angels. Facing righty Alex Cobb, the offense loaded the bases during the bottom of the first inning but couldn’t capitalize. They went down in order in the second frame, but not before Happ had given up yet another home run in the top of the inning to Jack Mayfield, extending the Angels’ lead to four. With the four early runs allowed, the Twins’ starter took the lead of Robbie Ray for most earned runs allowed by any left-handed pitcher in the American League. Minnesota got one run back in the third inning with Jorge Polanco keeping his hot streak alive and well with a double, and being pushed across by a single from Trevor Larnach. Fortunately, that was also the inning when Happ had started to settle in. After the awful first two innings, he went on to pitch four scoreless frames. Before he departed, the Twins manufactured another run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Max Kepler hit a bullet to lead off the inning (110 MPH exit velocity), then Polanco singled to move him to third. With men on the corners, a fantastic defensive play from Mayfield at third prevented the Twins from maybe scoring a couple of runs. Instead, Josh Donaldson grounded into a double-play, but that was enough to score Kepler from third and cut Los Angeles’ lead to 4-2. Offense keeps pushing for a rally The Twins continued to peck their way into this game. Cobb came back to the mound for the bottom of the sixth, but he left the game with a blister before throwing a single pitch. With Steve Cishek pitching, Miguel Sanó led off the inning with a double, and Nick Gordon singled to right to bring the big man home, putting Minnesota within a run. Minnesota kept hitting the ball hard. After Alexander Colomé delivered a scoreless seventh inning, Donaldson hit a single in the bottom of the inning, the Twins’ 11th hit of the night. However, they couldn’t add on, thanks to Mayfield’s impressive defensive display at the hot corner. While the Twins were able to produce baserunners, most of them were stranded by the Angel defense. Juan Minaya worked out of a jam in the top of the eighth to keep this a one-run game. Then, with a series of great at-bats, the offense came through in the home half. Sanó worked an eight-pitch at-bat to draw a leadoff walk, prompting a pitching change. Joe Maddon brought in star closer Raisel Iglesias to try to keep the Angels ahead. After he got the first out of the inning, Gordon responded with a single, his second of the night. Then Ryan Jeffers came through with his most clutch hit yet! A single to left, just out of the reach of Mayfield, was enough to score Sanó from second. After an errant throw home, Suzuki tried to catch Gordon advancing to third base, but he was way off the mark, allowing the Twins’ rookie to score sliding and give the Twins their first lead of the night, 5-4. Taylor Rogers came in to pitch the ninth inning and, despite giving up a bloop single to David Fletcher, managed to retire the side and secure the Twins win. This was his ninth save of the season, the 50th in his career. He's now even closer to enter the top 10 in career saves in Senators/Twins franchise history, ranking 13th at the moment. Postgame Interviews Nick Gordon Ryan Jeffers Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT Colomé 0 26 22 0 11 59 Duffey 16 0 38 0 0 54 Alcala 23 24 0 0 0 47 Coulombe 0 5 0 32 0 37 Rogers 19 0 0 0 18 37 Thielbar 0 17 16 0 0 33 Robles 19 7 0 0 0 26 Minaya 0 0 0 0 20 20 View full article
  12. Box Score Happ: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K (62.5% strikes) Home Runs: none Top 3 WPA: Jeffers .512, Rogers .169, Polanco .104 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Happ struggles early but settles in nicely Eight pitches. Eight pitches were all it took for this game to have its first runs on the board. Happ was off to a horrendous start, which is not news. Coming into tonight’s game, 21.3% of all earned runs given up by the southpaw in the season happened during the first inning of games. That became a little worse when Phil Gosselin doubled and then scored on a Jose Iglesias’ single. Then it became a lot worse a few moments later when old friend Kurt Suzuki hit a two-out, two-run bomb to the left field corner, making it 3-0 Angels. Facing righty Alex Cobb, the offense loaded the bases during the bottom of the first inning but couldn’t capitalize. They went down in order in the second frame, but not before Happ had given up yet another home run in the top of the inning to Jack Mayfield, extending the Angels’ lead to four. With the four early runs allowed, the Twins’ starter took the lead of Robbie Ray for most earned runs allowed by any left-handed pitcher in the American League. Minnesota got one run back in the third inning with Jorge Polanco keeping his hot streak alive and well with a double, and being pushed across by a single from Trevor Larnach. Fortunately, that was also the inning when Happ had started to settle in. After the awful first two innings, he went on to pitch four scoreless frames. Before he departed, the Twins manufactured another run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Max Kepler hit a bullet to lead off the inning (110 MPH exit velocity), then Polanco singled to move him to third. With men on the corners, a fantastic defensive play from Mayfield at third prevented the Twins from maybe scoring a couple of runs. Instead, Josh Donaldson grounded into a double-play, but that was enough to score Kepler from third and cut Los Angeles’ lead to 4-2. Offense keeps pushing for a rally The Twins continued to peck their way into this game. Cobb came back to the mound for the bottom of the sixth, but he left the game with a blister before throwing a single pitch. With Steve Cishek pitching, Miguel Sanó led off the inning with a double, and Nick Gordon singled to right to bring the big man home, putting Minnesota within a run. Minnesota kept hitting the ball hard. After Alexander Colomé delivered a scoreless seventh inning, Donaldson hit a single in the bottom of the inning, the Twins’ 11th hit of the night. However, they couldn’t add on, thanks to Mayfield’s impressive defensive display at the hot corner. While the Twins were able to produce baserunners, most of them were stranded by the Angel defense. Juan Minaya worked out of a jam in the top of the eighth to keep this a one-run game. Then, with a series of great at-bats, the offense came through in the home half. Sanó worked an eight-pitch at-bat to draw a leadoff walk, prompting a pitching change. Joe Maddon brought in star closer Raisel Iglesias to try to keep the Angels ahead. After he got the first out of the inning, Gordon responded with a single, his second of the night. Then Ryan Jeffers came through with his most clutch hit yet! A single to left, just out of the reach of Mayfield, was enough to score Sanó from second. After an errant throw home, Suzuki tried to catch Gordon advancing to third base, but he was way off the mark, allowing the Twins’ rookie to score sliding and give the Twins their first lead of the night, 5-4. Taylor Rogers came in to pitch the ninth inning and, despite giving up a bloop single to David Fletcher, managed to retire the side and secure the Twins win. This was his ninth save of the season, the 50th in his career. He's now even closer to enter the top 10 in career saves in Senators/Twins franchise history, ranking 13th at the moment. Postgame Interviews Nick Gordon Ryan Jeffers Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet MON TUE WED THU FRI TOT Colomé 0 26 22 0 11 59 Duffey 16 0 38 0 0 54 Alcala 23 24 0 0 0 47 Coulombe 0 5 0 32 0 37 Rogers 19 0 0 0 18 37 Thielbar 0 17 16 0 0 33 Robles 19 7 0 0 0 26 Minaya 0 0 0 0 20 20
  13. So keep reading to find out just how crazy the night was for your favorite Twins prospects! TRANSACTIONS Minor League Gold Glove OF Mark Contreras was promoted to St. Paul from Wichita In Fort Myers recent free agent signing OF Justin Washington was assigned from the GCL Twins, 3B Wander Valdez was sent back to the GCL Twins roster, and SS Ruben Santana was activated from the disabled list. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 17, Iowa 6 Box Score The Saints took advantage of some wildness from double-A’s 2019 strikeout king, Corey Abbott to jump out to an early lead. They got to the Cubs prospect for six runs in the first two innings, with a three-run Tomas Telis homer doing the bulk of that damage. They would tack on four more in the fourth after an RBI double from Ben Rortvedt was followed by another three-run blast, this one off the bat of JT Riddle, his first with the Saints. In all St. Paul hitters mashed seven hits (five for extra bases) and drew five walks against Abbott, taking full advantage of the extra baserunners and opportunities they were given. As far as the Saints starting pitcher went, it was Bailey Ober’s first appearance since making his MLB debut, and he dazzled. In five innings he allowed just one earned run on four hits, striking out five. It was good for his first win of the 2021 season. While watching the game the opposing broadcast’s announcer was excited to see Abbott on the mound, but Ober was the one who left a mark on him. “I’m very impressed so far with Bailey Ober. You understand why he posts zeroes so often [and] can see why he is tough to pick up. Six-foot-nine, long reach, and hides the ball very well.” With the big lead Ober’s day was done after just seventy pitches, with Ian Hamilton coming on for the sixth. Hamilton was hitting high 90’s with his fastball in his inning and struck out two. Robinson Leyer delivered two scoreless frames, allowing one hit and striking out one. Another RBI double from Ben Rortvedt and RBI single from Jimmy Kerrigan added a few more runs in the sixth, then Ryan Jeffers and Brent Rooker added insult to injury with home runs in the seventh and ninth innings, respectively. Jeffers was a three-run no-doubter, and Rooker’s a two-run blast to dead center that made the score 17-1. They were the fourth home run of the season for each player. Tom Hackimer would come on for the ninth but made the game last quite a bit longer than it should have. The bases were loaded before he recorded an out, then he was not able to finish it off. In all, Hackimer allowed 5 runs on three hits, four walks, and a hit batter. St. Paul was forced to go to Andrew Vasquez for the final out, and he made sure it went as quick as possible, getting a strikeout to end the game. WIND SURGE WISDOM Springfield 7, Wichita 2 Box Score Unlike the rest of their affiliate brethren, the Wind Surge were unable to pile on the runs on Tuesday, falling to the Cardinals in Wichita. Starter Bryan Sammons went the first four innings and surrendered all the damage Springfield would need as their pitchers allowed just six hits and three walks to Wichita’s lineup. In total he allowed four earned runs on five hits and a pair of walks in his time. While he struck out six, three of his hits allowed were home runs. Dakota Chalmers came on for the fifth and went two innings. He allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits (including a homer of his own) while striking out two. Jonathan Cheshire was the only Wind Surge pitcher without a blemish, pitching a scoreless seventh, though he did walk two. Hector Lujan finished the final two frames, allowing a solo home run and striking out one. Jermaine Palacios led the way hitting for Wichita with a 2-for-4 night. Andrew Bechtold hit his first home run of the season, a solo shot in the fourth. Jose Miranda contributed an RBI single in the third. As a team the Wind Surge had just three at-bats with runners in scoring position and left only five men on base. KERNELS NUGGETS Wisconsin 2, Cedar Rapids 9 Box Score Cedar Rapids slugger Seth Gray put the Kernels on the board early with a two-run blast in the first. He and Michael Helman would add to that lead in the third with a pair of RBI doubles, Helman’s of the 2-run variety for a 5-0 lead after three. Starter Tyler Beck ran into some trouble in the top of the fourth, allowing a run to score after three singles and a walk, and exiting with the bases loaded. In all he went 3 1/3, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks. He struck out four. Jordan Gore came on and allowed one inherited runner to score on a groundout but would stop the bleeding there by picking up a strikeout. He would add a scoreless fifth inning and add another K to his ledger. Lefty Tyler Watson would keep Cedar Rapids out front three scoreless innings. He scattered one hit and two walks while striking out three. The Kernels bats went pretty silent for the middle innings, but in the seventh Spencer Steer woke them up again with a leadoff double. Wander Javier drove him in with a single that was misplayed by the center fielder and allowed another runner to score that made it 7-2. Leobaldo Cabrera’s first home as a Twins prospect would make it 9-2 after eight. Lefty Zach Featherstone would finish the game for Cedar Rapids with three strikeouts in the ninth around a walk. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 13, Lakeland 0 Box Score After losing four in a row to the Tampa Tarpons by a combined score of 53-13, the Mighty Mussels have unleashed some frustration the past two games. In the final game of their series with the Tarpons they won 9-3 and were even more impressive in the opening tilt with the Flying Tigers. Fort Myers also got the scoring started early in this one courtesy of a slugger, in their case Aaron Sabato. His first inning home run was his second of the season and gave them the early 2-0 lead. They added another run in the second after loading the bases on a Misael Urbina sac fly but were just getting started. Starter Brent Headrick went the first five innings and was dominant. He threw just 67 pitches (43 for strikes), allowing only two singles and one walk while striking out five to pick up his second win of the season. Juan Pichardo went the next two scoreless innings, walking one and striking out two. Matthew Swain would finish the shutout for the Saints going the final two innings. He allowed one hit, a walk, and struck out two. The Mighty Mussels broke the game open in the top of the sixth with quite a bit of help from Lakeland pitchers. Consecutive singles were followed by two four-pitch walks to score the first run of the inning. After a strikeout of Sabato another four-pitch walk scored another run before the bullpen was summoned for the Flying Tigers. It was greeted by a Kyle Schmidt double on their first pitch, scoring two more. Then two more walks, an RBI single from Anthony Prato, and a 2-run double from Edouard Julien would push Fort Myers’ lead to 11-0 before the inning was over. They would add a few more in the top of the ninth on a Yunior Severino two-run single for the final of 13-0. In all the Mighty Mussels racked up fourteen (!) walks and twelve hits against Flying Tigers pitching. Julien (2-for-3, 3 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K), Schmidt (3-for-4, R, 2 2B, 2 RBI), and Prato (2-for-4, 2 R, RBI) had multiple hits. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Brent Headrick, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (W, 5.0 IP, 2 H, BB, 5 K) Hitter of the Day – Tomas Telis, St. Paul Saints (4-for-6, 3 R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI) PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Alex Kirilloff (Minnesota) – 2-for-4, 2 2B, RBI, K #2 - Royce Lewis (Rehab) - Out for Season (torn ACL) #3 - Trevor Larnach (Minnesota) – 0-for-3, 2 K #4 - Ryan Jeffers (St. Paul) – 2-for-5, 3 R, HR, BB, 2 K #5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – Did not pitch #6 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – Injured List (back) #7 - Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) – Did not play #8 - Aaron Sabato (Fort Myers) – 1-for-3, R, HR, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 2 K #9 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) – Did not pitch #10 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – Did not pitch #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Wichita) – 0-for-3, BB #12 - Brent Rooker (St. Paul) – 2-for-6, R, HR, 3 RBI, K #13 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – Did not play #14 - Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) – 0-for-4, R, 2 RBI, BB, 2 K #15 - Cole Sands (Wichita) – Did not pitch #16 - Edwar Colina (Rehab) - 60-Day IL (elbow) #17 - Ben Rortvedt (St. Paul) – 2-for-5, 2 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI, BB #18 - Alerick Soularie (Complex) – N/A #19 - Jose Miranda (Wichita) – 1-for-3, RBI #20 - Bailey Ober (St. Paul) – W, 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 5 K WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Iowa (12:08PM CST) – LHP Charlie Barnes (1-0, 3.95 ERA) Springfield @ Wichita (7:05PM CST) – RHP Cole Sands (0-0, 3.00 ERA) Wisconsin @ Cedar Rapids (6:35PM CST) – LHP Kody Funderburk (0-0, 1.32 ERA) Fort Myers @ Tampa (5:30PM CST) – RHP Regi Grace (1-0, 4.50 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!
  14. Minnesota Twins Affiliates took out some frustration on their opponents on Tuesday night to the combined score of 39-8 in their three wins on the evening. Much of that damage was thanks to eight home runs from some big sluggers, and men on base all night as they also drew 32 walks to go along with 42 total hits on the night. A top pitching prospect also made his return to the minors after his MLB debut. So keep reading to find out just how crazy the night was for your favorite Twins prospects! TRANSACTIONS Minor League Gold Glove OF Mark Contreras was promoted to St. Paul from Wichita In Fort Myers recent free agent signing OF Justin Washington was assigned from the GCL Twins, 3B Wander Valdez was sent back to the GCL Twins roster, and SS Ruben Santana was activated from the disabled list. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 17, Iowa 6 Box Score The Saints took advantage of some wildness from double-A’s 2019 strikeout king, Corey Abbott to jump out to an early lead. They got to the Cubs prospect for six runs in the first two innings, with a three-run Tomas Telis homer doing the bulk of that damage. They would tack on four more in the fourth after an RBI double from Ben Rortvedt was followed by another three-run blast, this one off the bat of JT Riddle, his first with the Saints. In all St. Paul hitters mashed seven hits (five for extra bases) and drew five walks against Abbott, taking full advantage of the extra baserunners and opportunities they were given. As far as the Saints starting pitcher went, it was Bailey Ober’s first appearance since making his MLB debut, and he dazzled. In five innings he allowed just one earned run on four hits, striking out five. It was good for his first win of the 2021 season. While watching the game the opposing broadcast’s announcer was excited to see Abbott on the mound, but Ober was the one who left a mark on him. “I’m very impressed so far with Bailey Ober. You understand why he posts zeroes so often [and] can see why he is tough to pick up. Six-foot-nine, long reach, and hides the ball very well.” With the big lead Ober’s day was done after just seventy pitches, with Ian Hamilton coming on for the sixth. Hamilton was hitting high 90’s with his fastball in his inning and struck out two. Robinson Leyer delivered two scoreless frames, allowing one hit and striking out one. Another RBI double from Ben Rortvedt and RBI single from Jimmy Kerrigan added a few more runs in the sixth, then Ryan Jeffers and Brent Rooker added insult to injury with home runs in the seventh and ninth innings, respectively. Jeffers was a three-run no-doubter, and Rooker’s a two-run blast to dead center that made the score 17-1. They were the fourth home run of the season for each player. Tom Hackimer would come on for the ninth but made the game last quite a bit longer than it should have. The bases were loaded before he recorded an out, then he was not able to finish it off. In all, Hackimer allowed 5 runs on three hits, four walks, and a hit batter. St. Paul was forced to go to Andrew Vasquez for the final out, and he made sure it went as quick as possible, getting a strikeout to end the game. WIND SURGE WISDOM Springfield 7, Wichita 2 Box Score Unlike the rest of their affiliate brethren, the Wind Surge were unable to pile on the runs on Tuesday, falling to the Cardinals in Wichita. Starter Bryan Sammons went the first four innings and surrendered all the damage Springfield would need as their pitchers allowed just six hits and three walks to Wichita’s lineup. In total he allowed four earned runs on five hits and a pair of walks in his time. While he struck out six, three of his hits allowed were home runs. Dakota Chalmers came on for the fifth and went two innings. He allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits (including a homer of his own) while striking out two. Jonathan Cheshire was the only Wind Surge pitcher without a blemish, pitching a scoreless seventh, though he did walk two. Hector Lujan finished the final two frames, allowing a solo home run and striking out one. Jermaine Palacios led the way hitting for Wichita with a 2-for-4 night. Andrew Bechtold hit his first home run of the season, a solo shot in the fourth. Jose Miranda contributed an RBI single in the third. As a team the Wind Surge had just three at-bats with runners in scoring position and left only five men on base. KERNELS NUGGETS Wisconsin 2, Cedar Rapids 9 Box Score Cedar Rapids slugger Seth Gray put the Kernels on the board early with a two-run blast in the first. He and Michael Helman would add to that lead in the third with a pair of RBI doubles, Helman’s of the 2-run variety for a 5-0 lead after three. Starter Tyler Beck ran into some trouble in the top of the fourth, allowing a run to score after three singles and a walk, and exiting with the bases loaded. In all he went 3 1/3, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks. He struck out four. Jordan Gore came on and allowed one inherited runner to score on a groundout but would stop the bleeding there by picking up a strikeout. He would add a scoreless fifth inning and add another K to his ledger. Lefty Tyler Watson would keep Cedar Rapids out front three scoreless innings. He scattered one hit and two walks while striking out three. The Kernels bats went pretty silent for the middle innings, but in the seventh Spencer Steer woke them up again with a leadoff double. Wander Javier drove him in with a single that was misplayed by the center fielder and allowed another runner to score that made it 7-2. Leobaldo Cabrera’s first home as a Twins prospect would make it 9-2 after eight. Lefty Zach Featherstone would finish the game for Cedar Rapids with three strikeouts in the ninth around a walk. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 13, Lakeland 0 Box Score After losing four in a row to the Tampa Tarpons by a combined score of 53-13, the Mighty Mussels have unleashed some frustration the past two games. In the final game of their series with the Tarpons they won 9-3 and were even more impressive in the opening tilt with the Flying Tigers. Fort Myers also got the scoring started early in this one courtesy of a slugger, in their case Aaron Sabato. His first inning home run was his second of the season and gave them the early 2-0 lead. They added another run in the second after loading the bases on a Misael Urbina sac fly but were just getting started. Starter Brent Headrick went the first five innings and was dominant. He threw just 67 pitches (43 for strikes), allowing only two singles and one walk while striking out five to pick up his second win of the season. Juan Pichardo went the next two scoreless innings, walking one and striking out two. Matthew Swain would finish the shutout for the Saints going the final two innings. He allowed one hit, a walk, and struck out two. The Mighty Mussels broke the game open in the top of the sixth with quite a bit of help from Lakeland pitchers. Consecutive singles were followed by two four-pitch walks to score the first run of the inning. After a strikeout of Sabato another four-pitch walk scored another run before the bullpen was summoned for the Flying Tigers. It was greeted by a Kyle Schmidt double on their first pitch, scoring two more. Then two more walks, an RBI single from Anthony Prato, and a 2-run double from Edouard Julien would push Fort Myers’ lead to 11-0 before the inning was over. They would add a few more in the top of the ninth on a Yunior Severino two-run single for the final of 13-0. In all the Mighty Mussels racked up fourteen (!) walks and twelve hits against Flying Tigers pitching. Julien (2-for-3, 3 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K), Schmidt (3-for-4, R, 2 2B, 2 RBI), and Prato (2-for-4, 2 R, RBI) had multiple hits. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Brent Headrick, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (W, 5.0 IP, 2 H, BB, 5 K) Hitter of the Day – Tomas Telis, St. Paul Saints (4-for-6, 3 R, 2B, HR, 3 RBI) PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Alex Kirilloff (Minnesota) – 2-for-4, 2 2B, RBI, K #2 - Royce Lewis (Rehab) - Out for Season (torn ACL) #3 - Trevor Larnach (Minnesota) – 0-for-3, 2 K #4 - Ryan Jeffers (St. Paul) – 2-for-5, 3 R, HR, BB, 2 K #5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – Did not pitch #6 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – Injured List (back) #7 - Keoni Cavaco (Fort Myers) – Did not play #8 - Aaron Sabato (Fort Myers) – 1-for-3, R, HR, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 2 K #9 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) – Did not pitch #10 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – Did not pitch #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Wichita) – 0-for-3, BB #12 - Brent Rooker (St. Paul) – 2-for-6, R, HR, 3 RBI, K #13 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – Did not play #14 - Misael Urbina (Fort Myers) – 0-for-4, R, 2 RBI, BB, 2 K #15 - Cole Sands (Wichita) – Did not pitch #16 - Edwar Colina (Rehab) - 60-Day IL (elbow) #17 - Ben Rortvedt (St. Paul) – 2-for-5, 2 R, 2 2B, 2 RBI, BB #18 - Alerick Soularie (Complex) – N/A #19 - Jose Miranda (Wichita) – 1-for-3, RBI #20 - Bailey Ober (St. Paul) – W, 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, 5 K WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Iowa (12:08PM CST) – LHP Charlie Barnes (1-0, 3.95 ERA) Springfield @ Wichita (7:05PM CST) – RHP Cole Sands (0-0, 3.00 ERA) Wisconsin @ Cedar Rapids (6:35PM CST) – LHP Kody Funderburk (0-0, 1.32 ERA) Fort Myers @ Tampa (5:30PM CST) – RHP Regi Grace (1-0, 4.50 ERA) Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games! 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  15. The Twins have started to turn things around as of late, but are still 11 games below .500 nearly a third of the way through the season. Certainly there is a chance for the squad to go on a long win streak, which features the next 12 games against the lowly Orioles and the free falling Kansas City Royals, but injuries are still piling up, and we've seen the Twins play just as bad as the two aforementioned squads. As of now, I still firmly sit in my stance that the front office would be best suited to have a fire-sale at the deadline, moving every expiring deal, and taking offers on players with only one year of team control left. This group of players is highlighted by Jose Berrios, Byron Buxton, and Taylor Rogers. If they get a 'blow your socks off" offer, I see no reason not to take it. Today we take a look at some infielders that the Twins should get an extended look at in the second half of 2021. RH C Ryan Jeffers Jeffers was fantastic as a rookie, featuring a fantastic defensive game behind the dish, and was part of what appeared to be a two-headed monster catching duo headed into the 2021 season. However, Garver got off to a slow start, and Jeffers was flat out bad. Jeffers was performing so poorly in limited at bats that the front office sent him down to AAA Saint Paul where he's been given the opportunity to start nearly every day, whether behind the dish or as the DH. Jeffers has returned to form at the plate, OPSing .753 for the Saints, including three home runs and four doubles. Jeffers is also using a patient approach, drawing 10 walks in 77 PA. He is still having trouble with strikeouts, with a K rate of 25 percent, but hitting the ball hard while playing fantastic defense at a premium position is worth giving a look at. When Jeffers was up, he was only starting against RH which puts him in a hole. If the Twins are out of things come July, I'd like to see Jeffers split time with Garver, including against southpaws. MIF S Nick Gordon Nick Gordon isn't the top 50 prospect that he was a few years ago, and he hasn't put up great numbers in the high minor leagues, but I believe that Gordon can be a utility infielder at a minimum. The one thing holding back Gordon right now are the facts that he struggles against left handed pitchers, which is a bad thing for a platoon bat, and can no longer play shortstop, at least over a full season. However, Gordon has succeed in the young campaign with the Saints, hitting .393, including a homer and a triple. He has also added four stolen bags, which we saw on display in Gordon's MLB debut, where he stole second base twice. If Gordon can play a strong second base, and potentially develop an average glove at third, and fill in in left field a few times a year, which with his speed I think is a possibility, he is an MLB bench bat. There is a very strong chance we see a ton of Nick Gordon, and the front office either commits to him as an MLB utility player, or removes him from the 40 man roster. 3B/2B RH Jose Miranda At only 22 years old and no spot on the 40 man roster, I don't think it's too likely that we see Miranda in Minnesota this year, but I don't think that should be the case. Miranda was mediocre in the low minors, but started the season at AA Wichita, and has gotten off to a blazing hot start. Miranda has hit .309, and has an OBP of .372 in 18 games. Jose has shown the pop that we've seen in the past with 5 homers in 68 at-bats, as well as 3 doubles. Fangraphs had Miranda ranked as the 20th Twins' prospect heading into the year, with a game power grade of 50, and a hit tool of 55, but doesn't love the defense as they note he's likely a "shift-enabled" 2nd or 3rd basemen. Miranda has good bat to ball skills which have shown well in AA, with only 10 strikeouts in 78 plate apperances. It is worth noting that Miranda is rule-5 eligible this upcoming off-season, and will have to be added to the 40 man, as he will certainly be taken if not added. I hope the Twins get out in front of things with Miranda, and see what he can do in 2021 at the big league level.
  16. To find out everything that happened with your favorite Twins prospects on MiLB opening day, keep reading! TRANSACTIONS The Minnesota Twins recalled infielder Nick Gordon to take the place of Luis Arraez who was placed on the 7-day concussion injured list. LHP Lachlan Wells was assigned to the Cedar Rapids Kernels. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 2, Omaha 8 Box Score The Saints debut as a major league and Twins affiliate didn’t quite go to plan, but count me as one who is super excited they are in the fold instead of an independent. Starter Andrew Albers went the first four innings but was touched up for a single run in three of them, and four in the other as the Saints fell behind 7-0 while he was on the mound. He allowed eight hits total and struck out six. Glenn Sparkman came on for the fifth and allowed a solo home run, Omaha’s fourth of the game, but struck out five in his two innings. Lefty Andrew Vasquez came on for the seventh and flummoxed Omaha hitters with his slider that the broadcaster compared to “those wiffle ball pitches you see in your backyard.” He went 1-2-3 in both his innings, striking out three. Saints hitters were also flummoxed by Storm Chasers pitching throughout the game, striking out 15 times and collecting only five hits and two walks. Zander Wiel and Ryan Jeffers led the way with two hits apiece, and Jeffers delivered the first two runs as an affiliate for St. Paul with a two-run homer in the seventh. https://twitter.com/KSTPSports/status/1389756806965174275 WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 2, Springfield 0 Box Score Another new affiliate for the Twins, Wichita got their season off on the right foot defeating the Springfield Cardinals 2-0. It's fun for me to see this matchup at Hammons Field in Springfield, MO as it is one of the MiLB stadiums I have had the pleasure of attending, and reminds me of their parent club’s Busch Stadium in mini form. As for this game, it was a pitcher’s duel throughout with the teams trading zeroes until the top of the eighth, when the Wind Surge struck for two runs. Singles from Damek Tomscha and Jose Miranda started the inning, then Mark Contreras and Andrew Bechtold finished it with consecutive RBI singles with two outs to account for the scoring. Josh Winder made the start for Wichita and went the first 4 2/3’s, allowing no runs on five hits and a walk while striking out six. He threw 81 pitches with 57 of them going for strikes (70.4%), including 14 swinging strikes. Left-hander Jovani Moran got the last out of the fifth with a K, then struck out two more in a scoreless sixth. Sidewinder Tom Hackimer was next out of the bullpen and added two more scoreless frames, allowing two hits and striking out three. International signing out of Cuba in 2019, Yennier Cano, came on for the ninth and bookended a single with a pair of strikeouts to close out the victory. Aaron Whitefield, batting ninth, led the Wind Surge offense with two hits including a double and a stolen base. Contreras finished 1-for-2 with a pair of walks in addition to the RBI. Gilberto Celestino led off the game with a single and finished 1-for-5. KERNELS NUGGETS Peoria 0, Cedar Rapids 7 Box Score In the Kernels first game as a high-A affiliate, they got the job done on opening night in convincing fashion. They chased Chiefs starter Ian Bedell from the game before he could complete one inning, scoring three runs on four hits and a walk in the opening frame. They would add two more in the second and one each in the third and fourth innings to jump out to a 7-0 lead that was more than enough. Kernels pitchers cruised throughout the game, allowing just three hits to Peoria hitters and scattering five walks. Kody Funderburk made the start and went the first three innings, allowing one hit, two walks, and striking out two. Andrew Cabezas went the next four innings and picked up the win, allowing one hit, two walks, and striking out two. Melvi Acosta finished the game with two scoreless frames, allowing a hit and a walk while striking out two. Leadoff man Spencer Steer (2-for-4, 2 R, BB, SB) was the only Kernels batter with multiple hits, while Matt Wallner, Jair Camargo, and Seth Gray each clubbed a double. Gabe Snyder had an RBI triple in the first and was hit by a pitch twice. While the lineup had just seven hits, they also drew eight walks. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 6, Bradenton 3 Box Score Newly minted as the Twins low-A affiliate and renamed the Mighty Mussels before last year’s MiLB season was cancelled, Fort Myers opened their new era with a 6-3 win over Bradenton. Willie Joe Garry Jr. got the scoring started three pitches into the game, launching a home run to right-center for the early 1-0 lead. https://twitter.com/TFTwins/status/1389715977990852609 Fort Myers would leave the bases loaded without adding another run in the opening frame and from there until the seventh inning the pitchers were the story. Mussels starter Regi Grace went 4 2/3 innings, allowing just one run on four hits and a walk while striking out six. Though he struck out the first two hitters of the fifth, he was lifted as his pitch count reached its limit at 75. He was relieved by Louie Varland who was drafted in the 15th round of the 2019 draft out of Concordia-St. Paul, and he would finish the game’s final 4 1/3 with some eye-popping numbers. He gave up two earned runs on two hits and a walk among his 16 batters faced, but struck out TEN(!) of them. The runs given up came on a two-run home run that gave the Marauders a 3-2 lead after seven, but the bats would pick him up in the ninth to give him the win. Will Holland led off the top of the ninth with a double and a few walks (one intentional to Garry Jr.) around a strikeout kept the bases loaded for the bulk of it. The first two runs would score on wild pitches, then with two outs Edouard Julien delivered the finishing blow with a two-run single. Garry Jr. (1-for-3, HR, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB), Holland (1-for-3, 2B, 2 R, BB), Keoni Cavaco (1-for-3, R, RBI, 2 BB, SB), and Julien (2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI, BB) led the way for the offense in the win. Aaron Sabato was 0-for-5 with 3 K’s in his minor league debut. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Louie Varland, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (4.1 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, BB, 10 K) Hitter of the Day – Ryan Jeffers, St. Paul Saints (2-for-4, R, HR, 2 RBI, K) PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Alex Kirilloff (Minnesota) – Did not play #2 - Royce Lewis (Rehab) - Out for Season (torn ACL) #3 - Trevor Larnach (St. Paul) – 0-for-3, BB, K #4 - Ryan Jeffers (St. Paul) – 2-for-4, R, HR, 2 RBI, K #5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – Did not pitch #6 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – Injured List (back) #7 - Keoni Cavaco (Ft. Myers) – 1-for-3, R, RBI, 2 BB, SB #8 - Aaron Sabato (Ft. Myers) – 0-for-5, 3 K #9 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) – Did not pitch #10 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – Did not pitch #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Wichita) – 1-for-5, 2 K #12 - Brent Rooker (St. Paul) – 0-for-4, 3 K #13 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – 1-for-5, R, 2B, K #14 - Misael Urbina (Complex) – N/A #15 - Cole Sands (Wichita) – Did not pitch #16 - Edwar Colina (Rehab) - 60-Day IL (elbow) #17 - Ben Rortvedt (Minnesota) – Did not play #18 - Alerick Soularie (Complex) – N/A #19 - Jose Miranda (Wichita) – 1-for-3, R, BB #20 - Bailey Ober (St. Paul) – Did not pitch WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Omaha (12:05PM CST) – LHP Charlie Barnes Wichita @ Springfield (6:35PM CST) – TBD Peoria @ Cedar Rapids (6:35PM CST) – RHP Ben Gross Fort Myers @ Bradenton (5:05PM CST) – RHP Casey Legumina Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games!
  17. It sure has been a while, but holy cow are we glad to be back with your Minnesota Twins Minor League Reports! Plus, so much has changed! The St. Paul Saints are the triple-A affiliate, a new team with a new stadium is on-board in double-A, the Cedar Rapids Kernels’ whole team got a promotion, and the Fort Myers squad has a new name.To find out everything that happened with your favorite Twins prospects on MiLB opening day, keep reading! TRANSACTIONS The Minnesota Twins recalled infielder Nick Gordon to take the place of Luis Arraez who was placed on the 7-day concussion injured list.LHP Lachlan Wells was assigned to the Cedar Rapids Kernels.SAINTS SENTINELSt. Paul 2, Omaha 8 Box Score The Saints debut as a major league and Twins affiliate didn’t quite go to plan, but count me as one who is super excited they are in the fold instead of an independent. Starter Andrew Albers went the first four innings but was touched up for a single run in three of them, and four in the other as the Saints fell behind 7-0 while he was on the mound. He allowed eight hits total and struck out six. Glenn Sparkman came on for the fifth and allowed a solo home run, Omaha’s fourth of the game, but struck out five in his two innings. Lefty Andrew Vasquez came on for the seventh and flummoxed Omaha hitters with his slider that the broadcaster compared to “those wiffle ball pitches you see in your backyard.” He went 1-2-3 in both his innings, striking out three. Saints hitters were also flummoxed by Storm Chasers pitching throughout the game, striking out 15 times and collecting only five hits and two walks. Zander Wiel and Ryan Jeffers led the way with two hits apiece, and Jeffers delivered the first two runs as an affiliate for St. Paul with a two-run homer in the seventh. WIND SURGE WISDOM Wichita 2, Springfield 0 Box Score Another new affiliate for the Twins, Wichita got their season off on the right foot defeating the Springfield Cardinals 2-0. It's fun for me to see this matchup at Hammons Field in Springfield, MO as it is one of the MiLB stadiums I have had the pleasure of attending, and reminds me of their parent club’s Busch Stadium in mini form. As for this game, it was a pitcher’s duel throughout with the teams trading zeroes until the top of the eighth, when the Wind Surge struck for two runs. Singles from Damek Tomscha and Jose Miranda started the inning, then Mark Contreras and Andrew Bechtold finished it with consecutive RBI singles with two outs to account for the scoring. Josh Winder made the start for Wichita and went the first 4 2/3’s, allowing no runs on five hits and a walk while striking out six. He threw 81 pitches with 57 of them going for strikes (70.4%), including 14 swinging strikes. Left-hander Jovani Moran got the last out of the fifth with a K, then struck out two more in a scoreless sixth. Sidewinder Tom Hackimer was next out of the bullpen and added two more scoreless frames, allowing two hits and striking out three. International signing out of Cuba in 2019, Yennier Cano, came on for the ninth and bookended a single with a pair of strikeouts to close out the victory. Aaron Whitefield, batting ninth, led the Wind Surge offense with two hits including a double and a stolen base. Contreras finished 1-for-2 with a pair of walks in addition to the RBI. Gilberto Celestino led off the game with a single and finished 1-for-5. KERNELS NUGGETS Peoria 0, Cedar Rapids 7 Box Score In the Kernels first game as a high-A affiliate, they got the job done on opening night in convincing fashion. They chased Chiefs starter Ian Bedell from the game before he could complete one inning, scoring three runs on four hits and a walk in the opening frame. They would add two more in the second and one each in the third and fourth innings to jump out to a 7-0 lead that was more than enough. Kernels pitchers cruised throughout the game, allowing just three hits to Peoria hitters and scattering five walks. Kody Funderburk made the start and went the first three innings, allowing one hit, two walks, and striking out two. Andrew Cabezas went the next four innings and picked up the win, allowing one hit, two walks, and striking out two. Melvi Acosta finished the game with two scoreless frames, allowing a hit and a walk while striking out two. Leadoff man Spencer Steer (2-for-4, 2 R, BB, SB) was the only Kernels batter with multiple hits, while Matt Wallner, Jair Camargo, and Seth Gray each clubbed a double. Gabe Snyder had an RBI triple in the first and was hit by a pitch twice. While the lineup had just seven hits, they also drew eight walks. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers 6, Bradenton 3 Box Score Newly minted as the Twins low-A affiliate and renamed the Mighty Mussels before last year’s MiLB season was cancelled, Fort Myers opened their new era with a 6-3 win over Bradenton. Willie Joe Garry Jr. got the scoring started three pitches into the game, launching a home run to right-center for the early 1-0 lead. Fort Myers would leave the bases loaded without adding another run in the opening frame and from there until the seventh inning the pitchers were the story. Mussels starter Regi Grace went 4 2/3 innings, allowing just one run on four hits and a walk while striking out six. Though he struck out the first two hitters of the fifth, he was lifted as his pitch count reached its limit at 75. He was relieved by Louie Varland who was drafted in the 15th round of the 2019 draft out of Concordia-St. Paul, and he would finish the game’s final 4 1/3 with some eye-popping numbers. He gave up two earned runs on two hits and a walk among his 16 batters faced, but struck out TEN(!) of them. The runs given up came on a two-run home run that gave the Marauders a 3-2 lead after seven, but the bats would pick him up in the ninth to give him the win. Will Holland led off the top of the ninth with a double and a few walks (one intentional to Garry Jr.) around a strikeout kept the bases loaded for the bulk of it. The first two runs would score on wild pitches, then with two outs Edouard Julien delivered the finishing blow with a two-run single. Garry Jr. (1-for-3, HR, 2 R, RBI, 2 BB), Holland (1-for-3, 2B, 2 R, BB), Keoni Cavaco (1-for-3, R, RBI, 2 BB, SB), and Julien (2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI, BB) led the way for the offense in the win. Aaron Sabato was 0-for-5 with 3 K’s in his minor league debut. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Louie Varland, Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (4.1 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, BB, 10 K) Hitter of the Day – Ryan Jeffers, St. Paul Saints (2-for-4, R, HR, 2 RBI, K) PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #1 - Alex Kirilloff (Minnesota) – Did not play #2 - Royce Lewis (Rehab) - Out for Season (torn ACL) #3 - Trevor Larnach (St. Paul) – 0-for-3, BB, K #4 - Ryan Jeffers (St. Paul) – 2-for-4, R, HR, 2 RBI, K #5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – Did not pitch #6 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – Injured List (back) #7 - Keoni Cavaco (Ft. Myers) – 1-for-3, R, RBI, 2 BB, SB #8 - Aaron Sabato (Ft. Myers) – 0-for-5, 3 K #9 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) – Did not pitch #10 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – Did not pitch #11 - Gilberto Celestino (Wichita) – 1-for-5, 2 K #12 - Brent Rooker (St. Paul) – 0-for-4, 3 K #13 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – 1-for-5, R, 2B, K #14 - Misael Urbina (Complex) – N/A #15 - Cole Sands (Wichita) – Did not pitch #16 - Edwar Colina (Rehab) - 60-Day IL (elbow) #17 - Ben Rortvedt (Minnesota) – Did not play #18 - Alerick Soularie (Complex) – N/A #19 - Jose Miranda (Wichita) – 1-for-3, R, BB #20 - Bailey Ober (St. Paul) – Did not pitch WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Omaha (12:05PM CST) – LHP Charlie Barnes Wichita @ Springfield (6:35PM CST) – TBD Peoria @ Cedar Rapids (6:35PM CST) – RHP Ben Gross Fort Myers @ Bradenton (5:05PM CST) – RHP Casey Legumina Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s games! Click here to view the article
  18. With spring training officially underway and a new season rapidly approaching, it's time to kick off my annual position-by-position analysis of the Minnesota Twins roster. Today, we break down the team's very strong outlook behind the plate.Projected Starter: Mitch Garver Likely Backup: Ryan Jeffers Depth: Willians Astudillo, Tomás Telis Prospects: Ben Rortvedt THE GOOD Few teams have a starting catcher as good as Mitch Garver. No teams have a backup catcher as good as Ryan Jeffers – to the extent you'd call him a "backup" given this appears to be a straight 50/50 timeshare. The Twins are in a pretty optimal situation with two starting-caliber catchers on hand. Although questions marks surround both Garver and Jeffers to some extent, each backstop has proven his mettle in the majors after stepping in with big expectations and big pressure. In 2019, after coming up short in their offseason pursuits of free agents Yasmani Grandal and Robinson Chirinos, the Twins turned to Garver as the primary partner for veteran Jason Castro. Garver's future behind the plate was somewhat in doubt after another concussion ended his 2018 campaign, while Castro was trying to come back from knee surgery. It was a bit of a precarious situation. It worked out nicely, in part because Castro rebounded with a .767 OPS, but mainly because Garver broke through with a spectacular season that earned him Silver Slugger honors and catapulted him immediately into the upper echelon of major-league catchers. He slashed .273/.365/.630 with 31 home runs and a .404 wOBA in 391 plate appearance, producing 3.9 fWAR in just 93 games. Garver's offensive explosion was accompanied by clear improvements on the defensive end, as he graded out very well by pitch-framing metrics and earned more confidence from Twins pitchers. While the luster wore off from his breakout during in injury-marred and abbreviated 2020 campaign, Garver is a prime rebound candidate and remains a high-quality starting option. For a deeper dive into position's long-term outlook, check out Cody Christie's future position analysis at catcher. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  19. Projected Starter: Mitch Garver Likely Backup: Ryan Jeffers Depth: Willians Astudillo, Tomás Telis Prospects: Ben Rortvedt THE GOOD Few teams have a starting catcher as good as Mitch Garver. No teams have a backup catcher as good as Ryan Jeffers – to the extent you'd call him a "backup" given this appears to be a straight 50/50 timeshare. The Twins are in a pretty optimal situation with two starting-caliber catchers on hand. Although questions marks surround both Garver and Jeffers to some extent, each backstop has proven his mettle in the majors after stepping in with big expectations and big pressure. In 2019, after coming up short in their offseason pursuits of free agents Yasmani Grandal and Robinson Chirinos, the Twins turned to Garver as the primary partner for veteran Jason Castro. Garver's future behind the plate was somewhat in doubt after another concussion ended his 2018 campaign, while Castro was trying to come back from knee surgery. It was a bit of a precarious situation. It worked out nicely, in part because Castro rebounded with a .767 OPS, but mainly because Garver broke through with a spectacular season that earned him Silver Slugger honors and catapulted him immediately into the upper echelon of major-league catchers. He slashed .273/.365/.630 with 31 home runs and a .404 wOBA in 391 plate appearance, producing 3.9 fWAR in just 93 games. Garver's offensive explosion was accompanied by clear improvements on the defensive end, as he graded out very well by pitch-framing metrics and earned more confidence from Twins pitchers. While the luster wore off from his breakout during in injury-marred and abbreviated 2020 campaign, Garver is a prime rebound candidate and remains a high-quality starting option. The uncertainties attached to Garver are much easier to stomach given last year's emergence of Jeffers, who answered the call for Minnesota's beleaguered catching corps. Showing up as a 23-year-old rookie, he showed astonishing poise and preparedness, slashing .273/.355/.436 while grading out well defensively. Jeffers received Twins Daily's nod for Rookie of the Year, and made such an impression that his spot on the 2021 Opening Day roster was at no point in doubt. He might not offer the upside to match what Garver showed in 2019, but Jeffers has instantly established himself as a high-floor timeshare partner, balancing out Garver's risk factor while enabling Rocco Baldelli to take it easy on both of them. The manager can rotate his top two catchers steadily to regulate their workloads, without ever sacrificing high-end offense or defense. How many other teams can say that? THE BAD While the Twins have an admirable 1-2 punch atop the depth chart at catcher, neither player is necessarily a slam dunk. Garver's immense struggles in 2020, when his OPS plummeted by nearly 500 points and he struck out in 46% of his plate appearances, can't be completely ignored, mitigating circumstances aside. He won't be that bad again, and got off on the right foot this year with a ringing single in his first spring training AB, but Garver will not escape the shadow of his 2020 season until he goes out on the field in real games and firmly proves it a fluke. As for Jeffers, his successful first stint in the majors carried no specific indicators of unsustainability, but all standard caveats apply. It was a 26-game sample for a 23-year-old who'd previously played only 24 games above Single-A. He needs to substantiate that performance while holding up to the rigors of a full MLB season as catcher – no small task. In terms of depth behind these two, the Twins aren't in bad shape with Tomás Telis, Ben Rortvedt and Willians Astudillo (who may round out the Opening Day roster as a third catcher). Needless to say, they'd see a huge drop-off in the quality of their catching rotation if either Garver or Jeffers goes down. THE BOTTOM LINE Minnesota's catching situation is the envy of much of the league. You'd be hard-pressed to find another club that would be in as comfortable shape as the Twins if their 1A option became unavailable. In fact, as spring training gets underway, it's not entirely clear Garver should be the 1A, given that Jeffers earned enough trust last season to start both playoff games. Regardless of how you want to stack them, these two provide Minnesota with a decisive competitive advantage behind the plate compared to nearly all rivals. For a deeper dive into position's long-term outlook, check out Cody Christie's future position analysis at catcher. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  20. MLB.com tried to identify the top players under 25 under an interesting premise. “If you were starting a team today, and you were able to choose only from players under 25 years old -- that’s Major League stars and Minor League prospects, just so long as they aren’t past their age-24 season in 2021 -- who would you pick?” It can be a tough exercise, especially with Minnesota’s deep farm system. 5. Royce Lewis, SS (21-years old) Lewis might be the team’s second-best prospect, but his recently announced knee surgery puts a hold on his development. There were already questions about his swing and his long-term defensive position. Those questions will remain, especially after not playing a professional game in 2020 or 2021. The potential is there, the work ethic is there, and he projects to be a building block piece in the future. For now, the Twins are going to be left looking for other shortstop options as they wait for Lewis to return to the field. 4. Jhoan Duran, RHP (23-years old) Minnesota’s front office was confident Duran would debut in 2020, but then the pandemic shortened the season. He worked at the Twins alternate site last season and reports continue to be positive. Here at Twins Daily, Duran is the organization’s highest ranked pitching prospect. With a fastball that hits triple-digits and a unique splinker pitch, Duran is one of the most intriguing prospects to come through the Twins organization. He has the making of four above average pitches and the Twins hope he is a pitcher they can build their rotation around for years to come. 3. Ryan Jeffers, C (23-years old) Jeffers is half of one of baseball’s best catching duos and he’s six and a half years younger than Mitch Garver. Because Garver was a late bloomer, the Twins have team control of both players for multiple seasons. Jeffers was Twins Daily’s number four overall prospect and it’s clear to see why people should be excited about him. He has some of the best catch framing skills in baseball and it is going to be intriguing to see how his numbers play over the course of 162-games. Jeffers needs to prove his offensive numbers weren’t a fluke from 2020, but he was known as a hitter out of college. 2. Luis Arraez, UTL (24-years old) Arraez is moving to a utility role for 2021, but there’s no question that Rocco Baldelli will find way to insert him into the line-up on a regular basis. Even though he was hobbled in 2020, he still managed to post a .321 batting average, which means he has a career .331 batting average in 124 big-league games. On many other teams, Arraez would be in the everyday starting line-up, but he’s only one injury away from finding himself back in a fulltime role. FanGraph’s ZiPS projects him to win the AL batting title and it will be Baldelli’s job to make sure he gets enough plate appearances to qualify. 1. Alex Kirilloff, OF (23-years old) Kirilloff is the type of player any team would like to build their franchise around. He had tremendous make-up and a sweet swing that is hard to ignore. MLB.com will likely include him on their top-25 list entering next season after baseball gets a longer look at Minnesota’s top prospect. One of the few questions that remains is whether or not Kirilloff will be on the Opening Day roster. Minnesota’s winning window is open and that’s one of the strongest reasons to have Kirilloff be in the line-up from day one. How good can he be in his age-23 campaign? Other Potential Names (Ages): Jordan Balazovic (22), Trevor Larnach (24), Aaron Sabato (21), Gilberto Celestino (22), Matt Canterino (23), Edwar Colina (23) Would you put any of these other names on the list? Should Lewis drop off because of his injury? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  21. Position: C Age: 23 (DOB: 6-3-1997) 2020 Stats (MLB): 62 PA, .273/.355/.436, 3 HR, 7 RBI ETA: 2021 2020 Ranking: 5 2019 Ranking: 13 National Top 100 Rankings BA: 60 |MLB: NR | ATH: NR |BP: NR What’s To Like Defense is the name of the game for any prospect that plays an up-the-middle defensive position and Jeffers showed his tremendous defensive value last season. He only caught 162 big-league innings, but he ranked seventh in baseball when it comes to strike rate, which puts him into elite company. According to Baseball Savant, he ranked in the 90th percentile when it came to framing pitches last year. Twins pitchers must love pitching to him, because his smooth receiving skills gain extra strikes for pitchers and help them to get into favorable counts. For two straight offseasons, MLB.com has named Jeffers as the organizations best defensive prospect. Offensively, Jeffers combines plate discipline and a powerful swing that has improved over the last three seasons. Throughout the minors, he posted a 18.5% strikeout rate, but that number jumped to over 30% in his initial big-league run last year. Historically, his walk rate was 10.2% in the minors and he posted a 8.1 BB% in 2020. Expect both of those numbers to improve in 2021 as he gets more experience seeing MLB pitching. Jeffers just missed Baseball Prospectus’ Top-101 list as he was the second to last player removed. ESPN thinks highly of Jeffers as Kiley McDaniel has him ranked higher than any other national ranking (57th). FanGraphs also has Jeffers in their top-60 prospects as they said, “A physical beast with a power over hit offensive profile, Jeffers has the talent to be an everyday catcher but needs to improve his ability to control the running game.” What’s Left To Work On His defense has improved so much throughout his professional career, but there are other areas he can improve. Like FanGraphs wrote, his arm might not be as strong as a team would like from their everyday catcher. Jeffers has continued to work on quickening his release and that continues to help him improve his caught stealing percentage. Last year, base runners were successful in 14 of 16 potential chances, which put Jeffers at 13% below the league average in CS%. Another thing to consider is that MLB might be moving toward electronic strike zones and that could also negatively impact his long-term value. If his defensive value changes, Jeffers needs to continue to produce at the plate. His hit tool is average, which is why last year’s offensive numbers were a pleasant surprise. Some scouting reports have his breaking ball recognition and plate coverage as slightly below average. He posted a .364 BABIP last season and many projections have that total regressing in 2021. Jeffers is going to have to prove that 2020 wasn’t a fluke and that he can continue to make adjustments at baseball’s highest level. What’s Next Jeffers is projected to split catching duties with Mitch Garver throughout the 2021 season. Rocco Baldelli loves to rotate his catchers on a regular basis, so Jeffers should be getting 3-4 starts per week. He will be playing at the big-league level from season’s start, so it will be intriguing to watch his chances at bringing home AL Rookie of the Year honors. He’d need to put up some impressive offensive totals and teammate Alex Kirilloff might have something to say about the award before things are said and done. Does Jeffers have a shot of AL Rookie of the Year honors? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. Twins Daily 2021 Top 20 Prospects Honorable Mentions 20. Bailey Ober, RHP 19. Jose Miranda, INF 18. Alerick Soularie, OF 17. Ben Rortvedt, C 16. Edwar Colina, RHP 15. Cole Sands, RHP 14. Misael Urbina, OF 13. Matt Wallner, OF 12. Brent Rooker, OF/1B 11. Gilberto Celestino, OF 10. Blayne Enlow, RHP 9. Matt Canterino, RHP 8. Aaron Sabato, 1B 7. Keoni Cavaco, SS 6. Jordan Balazovic, RHP 5. Jhoan Duran, RHP 4. Ryan Jeffers, C Stop by tomorrow for prospect #3! 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. Max Kepler, Right Field MLB Network Rank: NR Right field includes some of baseball’s most notable names like Mookie Betts, Aaron Judge, and Bryce Harper along with young studs like Juan Soto and Ronald Acuna Jr. Since the beginning of 2018, Kepler ranks as one of the best right fielders in all of baseball. According to FanGraphs, Kepler has the eighth highest WAR among right fielders over the last three seasons. This puts him ahead of players on MLB’s list including Mike Yastrzemski, Jorge Soler, Joey Gallo, and Charlie Blackmon. Kepler’s defense helps to separate him from the other players on this list. According to SABR’s SDI rankings, Kepler was the AL’s second-best defensive right fielder in 2019 and the only player ahead of him on the list, Mookie Betts, has since been traded to the NL. He probably doesn’t have a chance to rank in the top-5, but there’s a solid argument for him being baseball’s sixth best right fielder. Ryan Jeffers, Catcher MLB Network Rank: NR Minnesota has a catcher rank in MLB’s top-10, but Mitch Garver might not even be the team’s best catcher in 2021. Garver entered the 2020 season as MLB’s fourth best catcher as he trailed J.T. Realmuto, Yasmani Grandal, and Willson Contreras. Garver went from the AL’s Silver Slugger in 2019 to hitting .167/.247/.264 in 26 games last season. This allowed Jeffers his time to shine. Jeffers was seen as a bat first catcher coming out of college, but he has turned himself into a tremendous defensive asset. During his rookie season, he ranked seventh in baseball when it comes to strike rate which places him ahead of many names on MLB’s top-10 list. Offensively, he hit .273/.355/.436 with three home runs in 26 games. To top it off, Garver just turned 30 in January and Jeffers won’t turn 24 until June. Taylor Rogers, Relief Pitcher MLB Network Rank: NR Tyler Duffey represents Minnesota on MLB’s top-10 relief pitcher list and few question how valuable Duffey has been over the last two seasons. However, Rogers has a longer track record and there are some signs that point to his 2020 numbers being more of a fluke. His BABIP rose to a career high .400, but he was still striking out well over a batter per inning. With an even better defense behind him in 2021, there’s a clear opportunity for him to rebound. Since the start of 2018, Rogers ranks fourth among all relief pitchers in WAR including a tremendous 2019 campaign. In that season, he had the third highest win probability added among AL relievers. Many of the players on MLB’s list haven’t ranked in the top-10 before and. Also, their rankings seem to be relying a lot on numbers from last season when many relievers were limited in their number of appearances due to the shortened season. Who do you think are the Twins most underrated players? 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. In a season without minor league games, it is hard to know what happened on the back fields at spring training, at the alternate site in St. Paul, or in instructional leagues this fall. For better or for worse, the names on this list will form the core of the Minnesota Twins for the majority of the next decade. 5. Jhoan Duran- RHP (23-years old) Acquired: Along with Gabriel Maciel and Ernie De La Trinidad in the Eduard Escobar trade ETA: 2021 Duran can pump it across the plate with a triple-digit fastball that regularly sits in the high 90s. He combines that with a very good pitch that is a cross between a splitter and a sinker. His off-speed pitches include a curveball and a changeup that he can use to keep hitters off balance. At 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, his frame continues to fill out. His command continues to improve and his ability to triple-digit velocity and other sinking pitches will make it tough for big league hitters to make consistent contact. 4. Ryan Jeffers- C (23-years old) Acquired: 2018 2nd Round Pick ETA: 2020 When the Twins drafted Jeffers, he was seen as a bat-only player as many scouts felt like he would be a hindrance behind the plate. Things certainly have changed as MLB.com just named him the organization’s best defensive prospect. He burst onto the scene last year and he is the highest riser on this list. Minnesota is projected to use Jeffers and Mitch Garver in a two-catcher system for 2021. Last season, he hit .273/.355/.436, so there could be some expected regression, but he will continue to have strong defensive value. 3. Trevor Larnach- OF (23-years old) Acquired: 2018 1st Round Pick ETA: 2021 In some other organizations, Larnach would have a shot at being the team’s top prospect, but Minnesota has some bigger names ahead of him. His polished swing is going to make him a home run threat at the big-league level. He’s a large man and that prevents him from adding much value on the defensive side of the ball. During the 2019 campaign, he was the organization’s choice for Twins Minor League Player of the Year. He should start 2021 in St. Paul before making his big-league debut sometime next season. 2. Royce Lewis- SS (21-years old) Acquired: 2017 1st Round Pick ETA: 2022 Since the Twins drafted him, Lewis has been considered the top prospect in the Twins organization. Within the industry, there seems to be a shift this winter as more national outlets are putting Kirilloff at the top of the list. There are questions with Lewis about his swing mechanics and his future defensive position and this makes it tough to know what the future might hold. He is making changes to his swing, but some of the flaws are still present. Likely, he has a higher ceiling than Kirilloff, but his floor is also lower and that’s why I have a new number one prospect on my list. 1. Alex Kirilloff- OF/1B (23-years old) Acquired: 2016 1st Round Pick ETA: 2020 In the last draft under Terry Ryan, the Twins took a high school outfielder known for his advanced swing and a tremendous make-up. He has a tremendous plate coverage, and he uses a free-swinging approach to drive balls to all parts of the field. Defensively, he will end up playing right field, first base or designated hitter so that will decrease some of his value. However, he has proven that he is a hitter, and he is projected to hit for power. Minnesota is going to be able to rely on him in the middle of their batting order for the majority of the next decade. How would you rank the top five prospects? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES — Prospects 16-20 — Prospects 11-15 — Prospects 6-10 MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  24. We've reached the top 10 in our ranking of the most indispensable assets to the Twins organization. The five players we'll look at today can be viewed as building blocks, but at this time... probably not cornerstones?First, you can get up to speed on the 'why and how' behind these rankings by reading Monday's introductory post. If you're already hip, proceed to find my choices (and reasoning) for the 11th-through-15th most valuable player assets currently under Minnesota's control as 2021 gets underway. Read Part 1 (16-20)Read Part 2 (11-15)10. Trevor Larnach, OF 2020 Ranking: 14 Ranked as Twins Daily's No. 3 prospect coming into the season, Larnach didn't have a chance to raise his stock in 2020. He spent his summer practicing and scrimmaging in St. Paul, and never seemed to be in serious consideration for a call-up (unlike fellow top prospect Alex Kirilloff, who debuted in a playoff elimination game). With that said, it's not as if Larnach forgot how to play. The former first-rounder had already established himself as a polished hitter ready to make an impact. Turning 24 next month, he's a plug-and-play corner outfield bat with a solid floor and real upside, controllable through much of his prime. The main thing holding him back on this list is redundancy. As a corner outfielder he's stuck behind Kirilloff and Max Kepler indefinitely, and while first base is a possible destination, Larnach has yet to play the position professionally. He's the prime example of a player who'd have much more value to another team than to the Twins, making him a trade candidate. 9: Byron Buxton, CF 2020 Ranking: 7 The 2020 season was much like the 2019 season for Buxton and his valuation. He showed signs of being an elite difference-maker, but was unavailable often – including at the end when the Twins needed him most. Buxton's health struggles have been so chronic and unshakable that they've defined his career more than anything else up to this point. Which is a real shame because when you take them out of the equation, he's one of the most valuable assets in all of baseball. Unparalleled speed, transformative defensive impact, and high-end power: all offered by a 27-year-old who will earn around $15 million in his final two years of team control. If he can stay on the field, Buxton could be the single most vital key to a championship for this franchise. But he continually hasn't been able to, and now the clock is ticking on his opportunity to fulfill all that potential as a Twin. 8: Mitch Garver, C 2020 Ranking: 6 Garver's drop-off in 2020 was dramatic to say the least, but I'm inclined to mostly write it off. He got hurt in spring training, missed tons of time with a strained oblique, and never appeared fully comfortable at the plate. His brutal stats – .167 average, .511 OPS, and an eye-popping 46% K rate – were vastly out of line with any prior benchmarks. Still, the question remains whether Garver is capable of sustaining anything close to the MVP-caliber level of performance shown over 93 games in 2019. Is he a star or merely a quality rotational piece behind the plate, as he appeared in 2018? The uncertainty, combined with a price tag that's beginning to rise as he progresses into arbitration, places Garver just one peg below the meteoric riser up next on the list. 7: Ryan Jeffers, C 2020 Ranking: 20 Last year, when Jeffers edged into these rankings at the No. 20 spot as a relative unknown, I wrote that "Folks in the know rave about his defensive skills, and pitch-framing especially ... Thus far Jeffers has done nothing but validate the team's belief in him. A catcher who shines both ways is among the game's most coveted assets." Affirming those beliefs in 2020 caused Jeffers to make a huge leap in these rankings. No longer is his impact theoretical; at age 23, his rookie contributions were crucial, coming in cold from the alternate site and filling in admirably for the injured Garver. All the strengths we'd heard about in those glowing reports – powerful bat, unusual poise behind the plate, natural instincts for pitch-framing, arm strong enough to deliver a bullet to second from his knees – were on display, under incredibly difficult circumstances. When I started putting these rankings together, catcher was a clear point of organizational weakness. In 2018 Jason Castro was the highest-ranked backstop at No. 17. Now, we've got two proven commodities, both under the age of 30 and controllable for several years, in the top 10. What a turnaround. 6: Jorge Polanco, SS 2020 Ranking: 1 From No. 1 to outside of the top five: how did it happen? The main thing is that 2020 reinforced some of the concerns that shrouded Polanco even when he sat atop this list. Namely: that his second-half production in 2019 (.788 OPS) was more representative than his All-Star first half (.882); that his balky ankle – now requiring surgery for a second straight winter – was no isolated issue; and that he doesn't really have the defensive chops to play short. That last one is most glaring, and is reflected by the front office's apparent pursuit of a new shortstop this winter. Polanco remains a fixture-type building block with a highly favorable contract – controlled for three years at a total of $18 million, with multiple team options on the back end. But it's becoming clearer that he'll play out these remaining years as either a utility man or a blatant defensive liability at short, which is a far cry from the American League's starting SS in the 2019 All-Star Game. THE TOP 20 TWINS ASSETS OF 2021 20. Keoni Cavaco, SS 19. Brent Rooker, OF/1B 18. Josh Donaldson, 3B 17. Taylor Rogers, LHP 16. Jorge Alcala, RHP 15. Miguel Sanó, 1B 14. Tyler Duffey, RHP 13. Jordan Balazovic, RHP 12. Jhoan Duran, RHP 11. Luis Arráez, 2B 10. Trevor Larnach, OF 9. Byron Buxton, CF 8. Mitch Garver, C 7. Ryan Jeffers, C 6. Jorge Polanco, SS 1-5: Coming tomorrow! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  25. First, you can get up to speed on the 'why and how' behind these rankings by reading Monday's introductory post. If you're already hip, proceed to find my choices (and reasoning) for the 11th-through-15th most valuable player assets currently under Minnesota's control as 2021 gets underway. Read Part 1 (16-20) Read Part 2 (11-15) 10. Trevor Larnach, OF 2020 Ranking: 14 Ranked as Twins Daily's No. 3 prospect coming into the season, Larnach didn't have a chance to raise his stock in 2020. He spent his summer practicing and scrimmaging in St. Paul, and never seemed to be in serious consideration for a call-up (unlike fellow top prospect Alex Kirilloff, who debuted in a playoff elimination game). With that said, it's not as if Larnach forgot how to play. The former first-rounder had already established himself as a polished hitter ready to make an impact. Turning 24 next month, he's a plug-and-play corner outfield bat with a solid floor and real upside, controllable through much of his prime. The main thing holding him back on this list is redundancy. As a corner outfielder he's stuck behind Kirilloff and Max Kepler indefinitely, and while first base is a possible destination, Larnach has yet to play the position professionally. He's the prime example of a player who'd have much more value to another team than to the Twins, making him a trade candidate. 9: Byron Buxton, CF 2020 Ranking: 7 The 2020 season was much like the 2019 season for Buxton and his valuation. He showed signs of being an elite difference-maker, but was unavailable often – including at the end when the Twins needed him most. Buxton's health struggles have been so chronic and unshakable that they've defined his career more than anything else up to this point. Which is a real shame because when you take them out of the equation, he's one of the most valuable assets in all of baseball. Unparalleled speed, transformative defensive impact, and high-end power: all offered by a 27-year-old who will earn around $15 million in his final two years of team control. If he can stay on the field, Buxton could be the single most vital key to a championship for this franchise. But he continually hasn't been able to, and now the clock is ticking on his opportunity to fulfill all that potential as a Twin. 8: Mitch Garver, C 2020 Ranking: 6 Garver's drop-off in 2020 was dramatic to say the least, but I'm inclined to mostly write it off. He got hurt in spring training, missed tons of time with a strained oblique, and never appeared fully comfortable at the plate. His brutal stats – .167 average, .511 OPS, and an eye-popping 46% K rate – were vastly out of line with any prior benchmarks. Still, the question remains whether Garver is capable of sustaining anything close to the MVP-caliber level of performance shown over 93 games in 2019. Is he a star or merely a quality rotational piece behind the plate, as he appeared in 2018? The uncertainty, combined with a price tag that's beginning to rise as he progresses into arbitration, places Garver just one peg below the meteoric riser up next on the list. 7: Ryan Jeffers, C 2020 Ranking: 20 Last year, when Jeffers edged into these rankings at the No. 20 spot as a relative unknown, I wrote that "Folks in the know rave about his defensive skills, and pitch-framing especially ... Thus far Jeffers has done nothing but validate the team's belief in him. A catcher who shines both ways is among the game's most coveted assets." Affirming those beliefs in 2020 caused Jeffers to make a huge leap in these rankings. No longer is his impact theoretical; at age 23, his rookie contributions were crucial, coming in cold from the alternate site and filling in admirably for the injured Garver. All the strengths we'd heard about in those glowing reports – powerful bat, unusual poise behind the plate, natural instincts for pitch-framing, arm strong enough to deliver a bullet to second from his knees – were on display, under incredibly difficult circumstances. When I started putting these rankings together, catcher was a clear point of organizational weakness. In 2018 Jason Castro was the highest-ranked backstop at No. 17. Now, we've got two proven commodities, both under the age of 30 and controllable for several years, in the top 10. What a turnaround. 6: Jorge Polanco, SS 2020 Ranking: 1 From No. 1 to outside of the top five: how did it happen? The main thing is that 2020 reinforced some of the concerns that shrouded Polanco even when he sat atop this list. Namely: that his second-half production in 2019 (.788 OPS) was more representative than his All-Star first half (.882); that his balky ankle – now requiring surgery for a second straight winter – was no isolated issue; and that he doesn't really have the defensive chops to play short. That last one is most glaring, and is reflected by the front office's apparent pursuit of a new shortstop this winter. Polanco remains a fixture-type building block with a highly favorable contract – controlled for three years at a total of $18 million, with multiple team options on the back end. But it's becoming clearer that he'll play out these remaining years as either a utility man or a blatant defensive liability at short, which is a far cry from the American League's starting SS in the 2019 All-Star Game. THE TOP 20 TWINS ASSETS OF 2021 20. Keoni Cavaco, SS 19. Brent Rooker, OF/1B 18. Josh Donaldson, 3B 17. Taylor Rogers, LHP 16. Jorge Alcala, RHP 15. Miguel Sanó, 1B 14. Tyler Duffey, RHP 13. Jordan Balazovic, RHP 12. Jhoan Duran, RHP 11. Luis Arráez, 2B 10. Trevor Larnach, OF 9. Byron Buxton, CF 8. Mitch Garver, C 7. Ryan Jeffers, C 6. Jorge Polanco, SS 1-5: Coming tomorrow!MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
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