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  1. Going into the offseason the Minnesota Twins have just one catcher on their 40-man roster. With little other help immediately seen throughout the system, it’s a position needing to be addressed this winter. The question for Derek Falvey and Thad Levine may be just how dire is the issue? Image courtesy of Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports Last offseason the Twins traded Silver Slugger Mitch Garver to the Texas Rangers. Injury had been his bugaboo in recent seasons, and he was ultimately shut down with Texas to undergo an arm procedure. In trading Josh Donaldson and Ben Rortvedt to the New York Yankees, Minnesota opted to pair Ryan Jeffers with former standout Gary Sanchez. It did not go well. While a timeshare was probably somewhat expected, Jeffers ultimately could’ve been given the keys to the kingdom. Unfortunately, he dealt with injury and ineffectiveness, playing only 67 games and posting an 86 OPS+. Looking ahead to 2023, it’s basically Jeffers or bust until Minnesota’s front office decides otherwise. The 2018 2nd-round pick has to show he’s capable of that 119 OPS+ he posted across his first 26 games in the majors. It’s hard to make much of 2022 for Jeffers given how truncated the action was. He bottomed out with a .550 OPS through his first 39 games, but then on June 8 started a little turnaround. In his next 21 games, through July 14, Jeffers slashed .286/.342/.529 (.871) with nine extra-base hits, including four home runs. In a year in which his power had looked nonexistent, it finally arrived at that point. Then the injury happened. Returning to a fading team in late September, Jeffers followed up a successful rehab in St. Paul by playing in just seven more games. It wasn't enough to settle in, and nothing about his production provided answers for the year ahead. Gone are Sanchez and Sandy Leon, leaving only Jeffers to assume time. Another talent will be brought in to work alongside him, but the level of that player should say plenty as to where Minnesota’s front office believes their backstop situation is. It was this front office that took a risk on Jeffers in the draft. Despite some reports and evaluations by other organizations that he may never have the defensive chops behind the plate, Minnesota took him on as a bat-first prospect. We have now seen a strong defender emerge, and it’s largely been the bat that has lagged behind. That alone should give hope to an organization relying on analysis from when Jeffers was originally drafted. For this pitching staff to be successful, Jeffers is the type of catcher they’d prefer working with. More often than not Sanchez had them working against a stacked deck, and Leon was leaned on heavily down the stretch. The front office could opt for a veteran backup in the form of Omar Narvaez, or they could make a big splash and land a starting type akin to Sean Murphy or Danny Jansen. There are ways for the roster to work with either path, but plenty will be said about the current prognosis of Jeffers in relation to whatever option they choose. There was a time that Jeffers and Garver held down the position almost as well as peak Joe Mauer did. Minnesota hasn’t had that consistency since the future Hall of Famer moved to first base, however, and they’ll be looking for a much better outcome from behind the dish in 2023. View full article
  2. Last offseason the Twins traded Silver Slugger Mitch Garver to the Texas Rangers. Injury had been his bugaboo in recent seasons, and he was ultimately shut down with Texas to undergo an arm procedure. In trading Josh Donaldson and Ben Rortvedt to the New York Yankees, Minnesota opted to pair Ryan Jeffers with former standout Gary Sanchez. It did not go well. While a timeshare was probably somewhat expected, Jeffers ultimately could’ve been given the keys to the kingdom. Unfortunately, he dealt with injury and ineffectiveness, playing only 67 games and posting an 86 OPS+. Looking ahead to 2023, it’s basically Jeffers or bust until Minnesota’s front office decides otherwise. The 2018 2nd-round pick has to show he’s capable of that 119 OPS+ he posted across his first 26 games in the majors. It’s hard to make much of 2022 for Jeffers given how truncated the action was. He bottomed out with a .550 OPS through his first 39 games, but then on June 8 started a little turnaround. In his next 21 games, through July 14, Jeffers slashed .286/.342/.529 (.871) with nine extra-base hits, including four home runs. In a year in which his power had looked nonexistent, it finally arrived at that point. Then the injury happened. Returning to a fading team in late September, Jeffers followed up a successful rehab in St. Paul by playing in just seven more games. It wasn't enough to settle in, and nothing about his production provided answers for the year ahead. Gone are Sanchez and Sandy Leon, leaving only Jeffers to assume time. Another talent will be brought in to work alongside him, but the level of that player should say plenty as to where Minnesota’s front office believes their backstop situation is. It was this front office that took a risk on Jeffers in the draft. Despite some reports and evaluations by other organizations that he may never have the defensive chops behind the plate, Minnesota took him on as a bat-first prospect. We have now seen a strong defender emerge, and it’s largely been the bat that has lagged behind. That alone should give hope to an organization relying on analysis from when Jeffers was originally drafted. For this pitching staff to be successful, Jeffers is the type of catcher they’d prefer working with. More often than not Sanchez had them working against a stacked deck, and Leon was leaned on heavily down the stretch. The front office could opt for a veteran backup in the form of Omar Narvaez, or they could make a big splash and land a starting type akin to Sean Murphy or Danny Jansen. There are ways for the roster to work with either path, but plenty will be said about the current prognosis of Jeffers in relation to whatever option they choose. There was a time that Jeffers and Garver held down the position almost as well as peak Joe Mauer did. Minnesota hasn’t had that consistency since the future Hall of Famer moved to first base, however, and they’ll be looking for a much better outcome from behind the dish in 2023.
  3. The Minnesota Twins had a less-than-ideal catching situation at times throughout the 2022 season. As they turn the page to 2023, it’s become clear that the front office views Ryan Jeffers as the guy they’re all-in behind. Image courtesy of Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports Prior to 2022, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine made a somewhat surprising move in dealing Mitch Garver to the Texas Rangers. Garver has had injuries throughout his career but was a Silver Slugger-winning backstop, and among the best offensive producers in the game when healthy. That left Ryan Jeffers and Ben Rortvedt as the only catchers on the 40-man roster. Not long after, Minnesota pivoted again when they sent Josh Donaldson and Rortvedt to the New York Yankees for Gio Urshela and Gary Sanchez. The hope was that Sanchez would benefit from a change of scenery. He’s never been a good defensive player, but the Twins have done a great job coaching catchers, although Tanner Swanson was a leader in that department and is now with the Yankees. Sanchez had once flashed a big bat, however, and there was hope that it would return. Fast forward to where we are now, and Jeffers is the lone catcher on Minnesota’s 40-man roster. Sanchez will be a free agent after the World Series, as will Sandy Leon. Sanchez posted a career-worst season and shouldn’t be entertained as an option. Leon found himself injured down the stretch and wound up on the 60-day injured list. With Caleb Hamilton being designated for assignment and subsequently claimed by the Boston Red Sox, no immediate backup presents itself. Ultimately, the starting option is the way Falvey and Levine would have it. Jeffers was seen as a reach in the Major League Baseball draft, with some analysts not knowing if he could ever stick behind the plate. Since, he’s become a solid to above-average defender and the carrying tool has always been his bat. The .648 OPS in 2022 is not good by any means, but the .756 OPS across 24 games prior to his injury suggested the bat was heating up. Catcher is not traditionally a position of great offensive production across the Major Leagues. Only 10 teams generated more than 2.7 fWAR in 2022 from their backstops. Even with as bad or rotating as Minnesota’s situation was, the 1.8 fWAR from the catching position ranked 13th in the sport. It’s really a situation of a few haves, and a ton of have-nots. The have-nots come in varying degrees of success, however, and the Twins would like to remain in the middle of the pack, if not move up that list. With Jeffers, Rocco Baldelli has upside offensively while getting a strong defensive option. Behind him in 2023, it’s almost a guarantee that Minnesota will need another Leon type. There isn’t a single prospect in the Twins' Top 30 that calls behind the plate home, and the best-case player with upside is Jair Camargo, who experienced a breakout year at Single and Double-A as a 22-year-old. However, Camargo can be a free agent following the World Series too. There’s more than a handful of capable veterans to spell Jeffers on the open market, and while Willson Contreras is the gold standard, it would seem odd for the Twins to spring for such an expense behind the plate. Ultimately, this is now the 25-year-old Jeffers' position to be in for 120-plus games per season, and the front office wants to cash in on their belief from the 2018 draft. View full article
  4. Prior to 2022, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine made a somewhat surprising move in dealing Mitch Garver to the Texas Rangers. Garver has had injuries throughout his career but was a Silver Slugger-winning backstop, and among the best offensive producers in the game when healthy. That left Ryan Jeffers and Ben Rortvedt as the only catchers on the 40-man roster. Not long after, Minnesota pivoted again when they sent Josh Donaldson and Rortvedt to the New York Yankees for Gio Urshela and Gary Sanchez. The hope was that Sanchez would benefit from a change of scenery. He’s never been a good defensive player, but the Twins have done a great job coaching catchers, although Tanner Swanson was a leader in that department and is now with the Yankees. Sanchez had once flashed a big bat, however, and there was hope that it would return. Fast forward to where we are now, and Jeffers is the lone catcher on Minnesota’s 40-man roster. Sanchez will be a free agent after the World Series, as will Sandy Leon. Sanchez posted a career-worst season and shouldn’t be entertained as an option. Leon found himself injured down the stretch and wound up on the 60-day injured list. With Caleb Hamilton being designated for assignment and subsequently claimed by the Boston Red Sox, no immediate backup presents itself. Ultimately, the starting option is the way Falvey and Levine would have it. Jeffers was seen as a reach in the Major League Baseball draft, with some analysts not knowing if he could ever stick behind the plate. Since, he’s become a solid to above-average defender and the carrying tool has always been his bat. The .648 OPS in 2022 is not good by any means, but the .756 OPS across 24 games prior to his injury suggested the bat was heating up. Catcher is not traditionally a position of great offensive production across the Major Leagues. Only 10 teams generated more than 2.7 fWAR in 2022 from their backstops. Even with as bad or rotating as Minnesota’s situation was, the 1.8 fWAR from the catching position ranked 13th in the sport. It’s really a situation of a few haves, and a ton of have-nots. The have-nots come in varying degrees of success, however, and the Twins would like to remain in the middle of the pack, if not move up that list. With Jeffers, Rocco Baldelli has upside offensively while getting a strong defensive option. Behind him in 2023, it’s almost a guarantee that Minnesota will need another Leon type. There isn’t a single prospect in the Twins' Top 30 that calls behind the plate home, and the best-case player with upside is Jair Camargo, who experienced a breakout year at Single and Double-A as a 22-year-old. However, Camargo can be a free agent following the World Series too. There’s more than a handful of capable veterans to spell Jeffers on the open market, and while Willson Contreras is the gold standard, it would seem odd for the Twins to spring for such an expense behind the plate. Ultimately, this is now the 25-year-old Jeffers' position to be in for 120-plus games per season, and the front office wants to cash in on their belief from the 2018 draft.
  5. After a late night arrival from the East Coast and a rain delay, the Twins and Guardians started their three game series; emotions were high, bats were on fire, coaches were heated and it’s only game one. Image courtesy of Vincent Carchietta, USA Today Box Score SP: Dylan Bundy 4.2 IP, 12 H, 7 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (94 pitches, 64 strikes (68%)) Home Runs: Carlos Correa (19) Top 3 WPA: Carlos Correa (.224), Jose Miranda (.35), Jovani Moran (.33) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Dylan Bundy started out facing off against Steven Kwan. Kwan hit a high fly ball towards left and Nick Gordon, tracking the ball, slid on his back as he crossed the third base line to catch the ball and get the energy rocking in Target Field to start the game. With such an electric start, the remainder of the first inning proved that the game was going to be contentious, as well as, most likely the rest of the series. As Bundy tried to work around a one-out start, Amed Rosario and Jose Ramirez got on base and a rip from Josh Naylor to left field got Rosario waved around to home to get the Guardians on the board first. The Guardians quickly showed Bundy and the Twins that they were ready to play and did not care that the Twins were running on fumes from the four-game series and a long night traveling home from New York. The seriousness of the game set in immediately as the Guardians went up 4-0 with a three-run homerun Oscar Gonzalez before the end of the inning and again in the fifth, pushing the score 0-7. With the bar being set by the Guardians early in the game, pitcher Cal Quantrill matched his offense's energy and the Guardians managed to dominate the Twins in both offense and defense. Mishaps from the Guardians and an overturned call in the second almost sucked the wind out of the team's sails, but they fought back and rebounded. In the fifth inning, the Twins were on a roll starting with a great hit from Correa who has been relentless in his pursuit of getting on base all night. Correa hit his third homerun in three days and his 900th hit tonight keeping the team in contention. The entirety of the Twins line-up took turns making magic happen tonight. Sandy Leon had a phenomenal night. Leon ended up being a huge part in the Twins getting runs on the board tonight in both opportunities in both the fifth and the sixth innings. Leon started the game with a strikeout and ended up with a single and a walk, and got home both times thanks to Correa’s hits. The Twins did not make this win easy on the Guardians, even with all the murky start to the game. The Starting pitching has been struggling to keep the runs down in the last few series and tonight was no exception. Starting Pitching Woes Dylan Bundy gave up a career-high 12 hits and seven earned runs. This far into the season, the starting pitching can not afford situations like they have had. In the past 13 games the Twins have only averaged 3.1 runs a game and through the past eight games when Twins Starters have given up runs first, they were unable to fight back and get the win. Last time we had a seven-run comeback was against Cleveland in 2009. Bundy was pulled after only 4 ⅓ innings, replaced by Aaron Sanchez who stayed in through the eighth inning, and didn’t allow another Guardians run before turning the game over to Jovani Moran. The bullpen got a much-needed break to continue to the battle this weekend and the offense has the momentum to still claim the division, if they want it badly enough. Injuries cost on and off the field The series comes down to who really wants it more. There are of course injuries to take into account. The Twins have 17 players on the IL as of today, most of those being day one guys on the 40-man. The 17 players have an accumulative 1,411 days of missed games and the cost of those players not being played is $11, 745, 225. The Twins are tied with the Reds for the most players currently on the IL, but the salaries are a $2 mill difference. When looking at September baseball, those numbers not only cost a lot on the books, but also in the standings. The one asset the Twins have is that they have a deep farm system and the players that have been brought up from AAA have really held their own, but are they going to be able to be what we need to get into the postseason? Pitching Preview Match-Up Cleveland Series: Saturday 6:15pm CST: Chris Archer (2-7, 4.47 ERA) vs. RHP Tristan McKenzie (9-11, 3.18 ERA) Sunday 1:10pm CST: TBD vs. RHP Shane Bieber (9-8, 2.96 ERA) Postgame Interview Coming soon. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet View full article
  6. The Minnesota Twins are awaiting the return of Ryan Jeffers to their active roster, and while he’s targeting a late-September return, there’s no guarantees. The outlook now is bleak, and there doesn’t seem to be any answers coming soon. Image courtesy of Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports This offseason Derek Falvey traded Mitch Garver to the Texas Rangers for Isiah Kinger-Falefa. Eventually Minnesota found their backstop when sending Josh Donaldson to the New York Yankees and bringing back Gary Sanchez. The hope was that a change of scenery may help the one-time slugger regain his ability but that hasn’t happened. There’s no denying that the 29-year-old Sanchez has to be feeling less pressure in Minnesota, but as a free agent after the year, he should see the same struggles in finding a team that wants him. With the Twins, Sanchez has posted a .677 OPS through 99 games, coming in with a below-league-average 95 OPS+. He’s still a poor receiver behind the plate, and while he has made some defensive strides, it’s not enough to make him much of an asset. Needing an alternative following Jeffers’ thumb injury, the Twins dealt for Sandy Leon from the Cleveland Guardians. He’s now played 16 games for Minnesota, after spending most of his time this season at Triple-A, and he’s been largely unusable. With Caleb Hamilton being thrust into action, a veteran was the preferred option. Leon, save for an outlier 2016 season with the Red Sox, has never been an offensive asset, and the 42 OPS+ here echoes that. Looking to return with a 93 OPS+, Jeffers has actually posted worse numbers than Sanchez this season. The saving grace is that he appeared to be turning it around prior to the injury. Across his last 21 games before hitting the injured list, Jeffers owned an .871 OPS and had blasted four homers. That 21-game sample size is not unlike the 26-game stretch in 2019 that resulted in a 119 OPS+ and had the Twins intrigued by making him their full-time option. No matter how this season ends, whether Jeffers makes it back or not, Minnesota looks to be at a loss when it comes to the position. Both Sanchez and Leon will be gone, and Jeffers returns to a massive amount of uncertainty. He’ll be given every opportunity to win the role, and it’s hard to fathom seeing a large amount being spent on the position behind him. That said, we’ve never seen him actually establish himself at the plate in anything but short bursts. It’s hard to create longevity and certainty at every position across the diamond, but Minnesota has seen black holes for quite some time up the middle of the diamond. Carlos Correa gave them a massive boost at the shortstop position, an area that has been a revolving door for years, but he doesn’t represent longevity. Garver and Jeffers manned the plate for a while, but now we’re left wondering again. Up-the-middle issues are hard to cover up, and both will be necessary to address this winter. Without a true answer on the farm, and not knowing where they’ll turn in free agency, how comfortable are you believing that Jeffers can be the answer behind the plate when he returns and beyond? View full article
  7. Box Score SP: Dylan Bundy 4.2 IP, 12 H, 7 ER, 0 BB, 2 K (94 pitches, 64 strikes (68%)) Home Runs: Carlos Correa (19) Top 3 WPA: Carlos Correa (.224), Jose Miranda (.35), Jovani Moran (.33) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Dylan Bundy started out facing off against Steven Kwan. Kwan hit a high fly ball towards left and Nick Gordon, tracking the ball, slid on his back as he crossed the third base line to catch the ball and get the energy rocking in Target Field to start the game. With such an electric start, the remainder of the first inning proved that the game was going to be contentious, as well as, most likely the rest of the series. As Bundy tried to work around a one-out start, Amed Rosario and Jose Ramirez got on base and a rip from Josh Naylor to left field got Rosario waved around to home to get the Guardians on the board first. The Guardians quickly showed Bundy and the Twins that they were ready to play and did not care that the Twins were running on fumes from the four-game series and a long night traveling home from New York. The seriousness of the game set in immediately as the Guardians went up 4-0 with a three-run homerun Oscar Gonzalez before the end of the inning and again in the fifth, pushing the score 0-7. With the bar being set by the Guardians early in the game, pitcher Cal Quantrill matched his offense's energy and the Guardians managed to dominate the Twins in both offense and defense. Mishaps from the Guardians and an overturned call in the second almost sucked the wind out of the team's sails, but they fought back and rebounded. In the fifth inning, the Twins were on a roll starting with a great hit from Correa who has been relentless in his pursuit of getting on base all night. Correa hit his third homerun in three days and his 900th hit tonight keeping the team in contention. The entirety of the Twins line-up took turns making magic happen tonight. Sandy Leon had a phenomenal night. Leon ended up being a huge part in the Twins getting runs on the board tonight in both opportunities in both the fifth and the sixth innings. Leon started the game with a strikeout and ended up with a single and a walk, and got home both times thanks to Correa’s hits. The Twins did not make this win easy on the Guardians, even with all the murky start to the game. The Starting pitching has been struggling to keep the runs down in the last few series and tonight was no exception. Starting Pitching Woes Dylan Bundy gave up a career-high 12 hits and seven earned runs. This far into the season, the starting pitching can not afford situations like they have had. In the past 13 games the Twins have only averaged 3.1 runs a game and through the past eight games when Twins Starters have given up runs first, they were unable to fight back and get the win. Last time we had a seven-run comeback was against Cleveland in 2009. Bundy was pulled after only 4 ⅓ innings, replaced by Aaron Sanchez who stayed in through the eighth inning, and didn’t allow another Guardians run before turning the game over to Jovani Moran. The bullpen got a much-needed break to continue to the battle this weekend and the offense has the momentum to still claim the division, if they want it badly enough. Injuries cost on and off the field The series comes down to who really wants it more. There are of course injuries to take into account. The Twins have 17 players on the IL as of today, most of those being day one guys on the 40-man. The 17 players have an accumulative 1,411 days of missed games and the cost of those players not being played is $11, 745, 225. The Twins are tied with the Reds for the most players currently on the IL, but the salaries are a $2 mill difference. When looking at September baseball, those numbers not only cost a lot on the books, but also in the standings. The one asset the Twins have is that they have a deep farm system and the players that have been brought up from AAA have really held their own, but are they going to be able to be what we need to get into the postseason? Pitching Preview Match-Up Cleveland Series: Saturday 6:15pm CST: Chris Archer (2-7, 4.47 ERA) vs. RHP Tristan McKenzie (9-11, 3.18 ERA) Sunday 1:10pm CST: TBD vs. RHP Shane Bieber (9-8, 2.96 ERA) Postgame Interview Coming soon. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
  8. This offseason Derek Falvey traded Mitch Garver to the Texas Rangers for Isiah Kinger-Falefa. Eventually Minnesota found their backstop when sending Josh Donaldson to the New York Yankees and bringing back Gary Sanchez. The hope was that a change of scenery may help the one-time slugger regain his ability but that hasn’t happened. There’s no denying that the 29-year-old Sanchez has to be feeling less pressure in Minnesota, but as a free agent after the year, he should see the same struggles in finding a team that wants him. With the Twins, Sanchez has posted a .677 OPS through 99 games, coming in with a below-league-average 95 OPS+. He’s still a poor receiver behind the plate, and while he has made some defensive strides, it’s not enough to make him much of an asset. Needing an alternative following Jeffers’ thumb injury, the Twins dealt for Sandy Leon from the Cleveland Guardians. He’s now played 16 games for Minnesota, after spending most of his time this season at Triple-A, and he’s been largely unusable. With Caleb Hamilton being thrust into action, a veteran was the preferred option. Leon, save for an outlier 2016 season with the Red Sox, has never been an offensive asset, and the 42 OPS+ here echoes that. Looking to return with a 93 OPS+, Jeffers has actually posted worse numbers than Sanchez this season. The saving grace is that he appeared to be turning it around prior to the injury. Across his last 21 games before hitting the injured list, Jeffers owned an .871 OPS and had blasted four homers. That 21-game sample size is not unlike the 26-game stretch in 2019 that resulted in a 119 OPS+ and had the Twins intrigued by making him their full-time option. No matter how this season ends, whether Jeffers makes it back or not, Minnesota looks to be at a loss when it comes to the position. Both Sanchez and Leon will be gone, and Jeffers returns to a massive amount of uncertainty. He’ll be given every opportunity to win the role, and it’s hard to fathom seeing a large amount being spent on the position behind him. That said, we’ve never seen him actually establish himself at the plate in anything but short bursts. It’s hard to create longevity and certainty at every position across the diamond, but Minnesota has seen black holes for quite some time up the middle of the diamond. Carlos Correa gave them a massive boost at the shortstop position, an area that has been a revolving door for years, but he doesn’t represent longevity. Garver and Jeffers manned the plate for a while, but now we’re left wondering again. Up-the-middle issues are hard to cover up, and both will be necessary to address this winter. Without a true answer on the farm, and not knowing where they’ll turn in free agency, how comfortable are you believing that Jeffers can be the answer behind the plate when he returns and beyond?
  9. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Sonny Gray 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 SO Homeruns: Gilberto Celestino (2) Top 3 WPA: Sonny Gray .179, Caleb Thielbar .158, Gilberto Celestino .125 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) After doing ‘just enough’ on Monday night, the Twins were back at it on Tuesday, looking to get a winning streak, and some momentum going in their efforts to chase down the Cleveland Guardians. Here’s how they lined up against Zack Greinke. Jorge Polanco was the notable absentee after being lifted from the series opener with knee soreness after an awkward slide. Prior to the game, a pensive sounding Sonny Gray, somewhat carefully, stated his desire to pitch deeper into ballgames. I’d love to hear folks thoughts on Gray’s interview in the comments. Gray Dominates Weak Royals Lineup Whatever Sonny Gray was alluding to in his pre-game interview, he sure delivered in the mound. The Twins recent weeks have been incredibly frustrating to watch. Games have been punctuated by a sputtering offense, poor pitching, or both. Boy, did Gray hold up his end of the bargain on Tuesday night. After cruising through six innings, Gray ran into trouble in the seventh, giving up back to back singles to Salvador Perez and Vinnie Pasquantino. Gray was close to his best however, throwing 61 strikes in 92 pitches while racking up ten strikeouts, tying a season high. Gray was relieved by Caleb Thielbar with two men on and no outs in the seventh innings. Lots of Hits, Not Enough Big Hits Early for Twins Offense The offensive showing was painfully familiar through the firsttwo-thirdss of the game. Through five innings, the Twins had managed 8 hit, but managed just three runs off Zack Greinke. Going back to their poor final two games in the Angels series, the Twins were 4 for their last 34 (.117) with runners in scoring position. The Twins scored twice in the second inning. After a Gio Urshela single, Gilberto Celestino reached on a fielding error. A Sandy Leon bunt scored Urshela, while a Luis Arraez single brought home Celestino. Celestino added a solo home run in his next at bat in the fourth inning, his second in his last five games. With limited right-handed flexibility in the lineup, Celestino developing any kind of line drive power would be a welcome surprise for the Twins. Thielbar Snuffs out Runners, Twins Add On Despite Gray running into trouble in the top of the seventh inning, the Twins had the perfect foil in Caleb Thielbar. With two men on and no outs, he pitched a scoreless frame, striking out two. Thielbar has been one of the Twins best relievers in 2022, and outside April, has been the lone bullpen success story to start the season with the Twins not name Jhoan Duran. The Twins did what they have struggled to do in recent games in the bottom of the seventh inning, add on. A Max Kepler groundout, Gio Urshela single, and a Nick Gordon double added on three runs, increasing the lead to 6-0 and offering the kind of all around offensive output the Twins will need to continue to win the AL Central. Michael Fulmer and Cole Sands pitched the final two (scoreless) innings of the game for Minnesota. In the bottom of the eighth, the Twins added three more runs, courtesy of singles from Jose Miranda, Gio Urshela, and Nick Gordon. After the wreckage had cleared, the Twins managed 16 hits and ended the game 6-18 with runners in scoring position. Elsewhere in the AL Central, the Guardians lost, allowing the Twins to close within a game of Cleveland, having played two less games. Bullpen Usage Chart FRI SAT SUN MON TUES TOT Duran 15 19 0 10 0 44 López 10 19 0 13 0 42 Fulmer 12 0 20 0 7 39 Thielbar 0 13 0 8 17 38 Jax 0 13 0 14 0 27 Megill 0 0 26 0 0 26 Pagan 0 9 10 0 0 19 Sands 0 0 0 0 19 19 Next Up On Wednesday, the Twins will conclude their series against Kansas City. Tyler Mahle goes for the Twins against Daniel Lynch for the Royals. First pitch is 12:10pm CT Postgame Interviews
  10. The Twins put an excellent game together on Tuesday night, tallying 16 hits to crush the Royals and support Sonny Gray's 10 strikeout performance. The win closed the Guardians division lead to just one game. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Sonny Gray 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 SO Homeruns: Gilberto Celestino (2) Top 3 WPA: Sonny Gray .179, Caleb Thielbar .158, Gilberto Celestino .125 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) After doing ‘just enough’ on Monday night, the Twins were back at it on Tuesday, looking to get a winning streak, and some momentum going in their efforts to chase down the Cleveland Guardians. Here’s how they lined up against Zack Greinke. Jorge Polanco was the notable absentee after being lifted from the series opener with knee soreness after an awkward slide. Prior to the game, a pensive sounding Sonny Gray, somewhat carefully, stated his desire to pitch deeper into ballgames. I’d love to hear folks thoughts on Gray’s interview in the comments. Gray Dominates Weak Royals Lineup Whatever Sonny Gray was alluding to in his pre-game interview, he sure delivered in the mound. The Twins recent weeks have been incredibly frustrating to watch. Games have been punctuated by a sputtering offense, poor pitching, or both. Boy, did Gray hold up his end of the bargain on Tuesday night. After cruising through six innings, Gray ran into trouble in the seventh, giving up back to back singles to Salvador Perez and Vinnie Pasquantino. Gray was close to his best however, throwing 61 strikes in 92 pitches while racking up ten strikeouts, tying a season high. Gray was relieved by Caleb Thielbar with two men on and no outs in the seventh innings. Lots of Hits, Not Enough Big Hits Early for Twins Offense The offensive showing was painfully familiar through the firsttwo-thirdss of the game. Through five innings, the Twins had managed 8 hit, but managed just three runs off Zack Greinke. Going back to their poor final two games in the Angels series, the Twins were 4 for their last 34 (.117) with runners in scoring position. The Twins scored twice in the second inning. After a Gio Urshela single, Gilberto Celestino reached on a fielding error. A Sandy Leon bunt scored Urshela, while a Luis Arraez single brought home Celestino. Celestino added a solo home run in his next at bat in the fourth inning, his second in his last five games. With limited right-handed flexibility in the lineup, Celestino developing any kind of line drive power would be a welcome surprise for the Twins. Thielbar Snuffs out Runners, Twins Add On Despite Gray running into trouble in the top of the seventh inning, the Twins had the perfect foil in Caleb Thielbar. With two men on and no outs, he pitched a scoreless frame, striking out two. Thielbar has been one of the Twins best relievers in 2022, and outside April, has been the lone bullpen success story to start the season with the Twins not name Jhoan Duran. The Twins did what they have struggled to do in recent games in the bottom of the seventh inning, add on. A Max Kepler groundout, Gio Urshela single, and a Nick Gordon double added on three runs, increasing the lead to 6-0 and offering the kind of all around offensive output the Twins will need to continue to win the AL Central. Michael Fulmer and Cole Sands pitched the final two (scoreless) innings of the game for Minnesota. In the bottom of the eighth, the Twins added three more runs, courtesy of singles from Jose Miranda, Gio Urshela, and Nick Gordon. After the wreckage had cleared, the Twins managed 16 hits and ended the game 6-18 with runners in scoring position. Elsewhere in the AL Central, the Guardians lost, allowing the Twins to close within a game of Cleveland, having played two less games. Bullpen Usage Chart FRI SAT SUN MON TUES TOT Duran 15 19 0 10 0 44 López 10 19 0 13 0 42 Fulmer 12 0 20 0 7 39 Thielbar 0 13 0 8 17 38 Jax 0 13 0 14 0 27 Megill 0 0 26 0 0 26 Pagan 0 9 10 0 0 19 Sands 0 0 0 0 19 19 Next Up On Wednesday, the Twins will conclude their series against Kansas City. Tyler Mahle goes for the Twins against Daniel Lynch for the Royals. First pitch is 12:10pm CT Postgame Interviews View full article
  11. After an awful walk off loss on Saturday night, the Twins went into their series finale against the Angels on a mission to regroup and prove to themselves they are still a playoff contending team. That mission failed as the Twins dropped their second series of a five-game road trip returning home with only one win. Box Score: SP: Chris Archer 4 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K (65 pitches, 45 strikes (65.8 strike %)) Home Runs: Byron Buxton (28) Top 3 or Bottom 3 WPA: Chris Archer -.168, Jose Miranda .-126, Jorge Polanco -.110 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The first two innings for the Twins were all Byron Buxton and Chris Archer. Buxton put the Twins up 2-0 in the first with his 28th homer of the season, Correa being the other run scoring and reaching on a walk in the previous at bat. Archer continued from the progress of control he had shown in his previous start against the Blue Jays. For his first two innings, 21 of 29 Archer’s pitches were in the strike zone and he struck out half of the batters he faced to get outs as well. Command of the strike zone began to slip for Archer in the third. Archer threw 22 pitches to that point, but only 11 landed in the strike zone as he issued his first walk of the game against Shohei Ohtani which put Archer in a jam with two on and two out facing Luis Rengifo. Rengifo tied the game up 2-2 with a bases-clearing double making contact on a slider high in the strike zone and away. Archer averted further damage striking out Tyler Ward in the next at-bat with only three strikes. Still, the Twins found themselves tied once more and needed to mount the offense for another comeback for the second day in a row. The Twins failed to break the tie in the top of the fourth. This gave the Angels an opportunity to do so. And they did. Jo Adell led off the bottom half of the inning with a double and later scored on a sacrifice fly from former Twin Kurt Suzuki that put the Angels up 3-2. The Twins did get their first base runner since Buxton’s homer in the fifth with a two-out Sandy Leon double. Luis Arraez followed up next but failed to drive him home. Archer’s afternoon would be done after four innings and mark his second straight start of allowing one or fewer walks. Archer last accomplished this feat in June during his June 19 start against the Diamondbacks with no walks, and his June 25 start against the Rockies with one walk. Trevor Megill would come into the game in place of Archer. Carlos Correa ended the 5th after Ohtani walked. Ohtani attempted to steal a base off Megill but Leon made a perfect throw right to Correa, who didn’t even turn his head to tag Ohtani out and keep the game at 3-2, Angels. The game would remain uneventful for the Twins hitters over the next two innings. Buxton provided the only excitement in the top of the sixth with a single and his fifth stolen base of the season. Pitching-wise, things got as ugly as usual. Megill continued to work the sixth, found himself in a jam of two on and two out but averted any damage. Michael Fulmer, who pitched the seventh, found himself in the same jam with one out and gave up an RBI single to Ohtani to make it a 4-2 Angels lead. The Angels came close to scoring another run in the next at-bat but Jorge Polanco threw out the runner advancing home to keep the score at 4-2. The Twins could not follow up Polanco’s smart defensive play with any offense for the rest of the game. Correa managed the only hit for the Twins in the game's final two innings while the Angels took home a win and series victory to finish out the Twins five game road trip What’s Next? The Twins return home Monday for a seven-game homestand. The first series is against the Royals beginning Monday night at 6:40 p.m. Joe Ryan is scheduled to make the start for the Twins against the Royals Kris Bubic. Postgame Interview (Bally Sports Tweets) Coming soon. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet View full article
  12. Box Score: SP: Chris Archer 4 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K (65 pitches, 45 strikes (65.8 strike %)) Home Runs: Byron Buxton (28) Top 3 or Bottom 3 WPA: Chris Archer -.168, Jose Miranda .-126, Jorge Polanco -.110 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The first two innings for the Twins were all Byron Buxton and Chris Archer. Buxton put the Twins up 2-0 in the first with his 28th homer of the season, Correa being the other run scoring and reaching on a walk in the previous at bat. Archer continued from the progress of control he had shown in his previous start against the Blue Jays. For his first two innings, 21 of 29 Archer’s pitches were in the strike zone and he struck out half of the batters he faced to get outs as well. Command of the strike zone began to slip for Archer in the third. Archer threw 22 pitches to that point, but only 11 landed in the strike zone as he issued his first walk of the game against Shohei Ohtani which put Archer in a jam with two on and two out facing Luis Rengifo. Rengifo tied the game up 2-2 with a bases-clearing double making contact on a slider high in the strike zone and away. Archer averted further damage striking out Tyler Ward in the next at-bat with only three strikes. Still, the Twins found themselves tied once more and needed to mount the offense for another comeback for the second day in a row. The Twins failed to break the tie in the top of the fourth. This gave the Angels an opportunity to do so. And they did. Jo Adell led off the bottom half of the inning with a double and later scored on a sacrifice fly from former Twin Kurt Suzuki that put the Angels up 3-2. The Twins did get their first base runner since Buxton’s homer in the fifth with a two-out Sandy Leon double. Luis Arraez followed up next but failed to drive him home. Archer’s afternoon would be done after four innings and mark his second straight start of allowing one or fewer walks. Archer last accomplished this feat in June during his June 19 start against the Diamondbacks with no walks, and his June 25 start against the Rockies with one walk. Trevor Megill would come into the game in place of Archer. Carlos Correa ended the 5th after Ohtani walked. Ohtani attempted to steal a base off Megill but Leon made a perfect throw right to Correa, who didn’t even turn his head to tag Ohtani out and keep the game at 3-2, Angels. The game would remain uneventful for the Twins hitters over the next two innings. Buxton provided the only excitement in the top of the sixth with a single and his fifth stolen base of the season. Pitching-wise, things got as ugly as usual. Megill continued to work the sixth, found himself in a jam of two on and two out but averted any damage. Michael Fulmer, who pitched the seventh, found himself in the same jam with one out and gave up an RBI single to Ohtani to make it a 4-2 Angels lead. The Angels came close to scoring another run in the next at-bat but Jorge Polanco threw out the runner advancing home to keep the score at 4-2. The Twins could not follow up Polanco’s smart defensive play with any offense for the rest of the game. Correa managed the only hit for the Twins in the game's final two innings while the Angels took home a win and series victory to finish out the Twins five game road trip What’s Next? The Twins return home Monday for a seven-game homestand. The first series is against the Royals beginning Monday night at 6:40 p.m. Joe Ryan is scheduled to make the start for the Twins against the Royals Kris Bubic. Postgame Interview (Bally Sports Tweets) Coming soon. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
  13. It was an afternoon contest with Joe Ryan starting against the Detroit Tigers and Tyler Alexander. A gorgeous 84-degree day at the yard, Kickily was waiting for me in the bleachers near the bullpens. It was here that I had first met the artist, early on in the season, and he was quick to remind me that this was as good of a perspective as any to start. Melissa Berman on Kickliy We began discussion surrounding the YouTube Game of the Week, in which Minnesota was recently featured and Kickliy found himself on the broadcast. From discussing his art to doing live painting alongside the crew, it’s become more than apparent to the artist that Major League Baseball has taken note of his work. Taking note of the action around us, the Twins were donning their alternate reds, a uniform combination Kickliy notes as being fun to paint. Unfortunately, the Detroit Tigers had their boring grays on, something that leaves little eye appeal available. 1st Inning Kickliy brandishes his tools and pulls out the first sheet of paper. Still sitting in the left field bleachers, the view is of the whole field, with a focus on home plate and the stands behind. Green dots of paint are placed on the page, dried and ready for manipulation. This was a neat starting position I had not considered. Given the amount of similar color in his view, Kickliy allowed for a starting position to help with the speed in which he’s able to clock out his masterpieces. Ryan worked a quick top half, and Kickliy took in a phone call from home. Still painting the entire time, a scene begins to take place. 2nd Inning Working through what will eventually become his scene, Kickliy notes that the perspective from certain locations are set realities. What he’s capturing is action, and that’s why he puts in so much advanced work to understand movements of players and knowing their mannerisms. At this point in the season, he’s a creature of habit, and the vision becomes a routine process. While adults have taken notice of his work, there’s no age limit to the intrigue. A small baby boy is now looking on. Shortly thereafter we move up a few rows as someone came for the seats we were in. The entire paint studio moves on the fly, and within minutes the art is back underway. Background remains the focal point here as people stop and comment while finding their seats. Then Sandy Leon rips a two-run double, his first hit with the Twins, Kickliy smiles and kicks into action. 3rd Inning Less than ten minutes later the first painting is done. Leon’s initial highlight with Minnesota is in the books. Kickliy adds some words in his traditional font, and a fan from the row behind comments, “that’s awesome.” More comments from those around roll in, “That’s a really good painting,” says one. Another walks up and offers a “that is beautiful” sentiment. The artwork has now taken on a life of its own and questions as to whether they’re for sale of a gallery exists become a talking point. Kickliy then leans back for a selfie with his perspective in the background, uploading to Twitter and Instagram, and now all of Twins Territory has access to the art. 4th Inning With one piece already completed, it’s now time for a fresh perspective. From the left field bleachers, we walk down the concourse along the third base line. An usher inside one of the elevator areas recognizes Kickliy from previously being painted. He knocks on the window to get the artist’s attention and smiles while offering a thumbs up. We make our way past Hrbek’s, but not before being stopped by another usher, this one knowing Kickliy well. She sparks up a quick conversation before shaking his hand and offering “Have a great game” before we’re again on our way. Pulling up to a section along the first base line, a fan recognizes Kickliy before heading into the section. A quick conversation ensues, but after previously only following on Instagram, Kickliy has a new follower on Twitter. 5th Inning Sitting in one of the diamond boxes just beyond first base, we now get a closer look at Joe Ryan. Minnesota’s starter has cruised much of this day, and his long pitching motion catches the eye of Kickliy. With a new perspective visible, but action taking place, the art again gets underway. Ryan puts himself front and center when he finishes off the inning on a strikeout. 6th Inning Manager Rocco Baldelli goes to the bullpen for Michael Fulmer’s Twins debut. Kickliy already having started a piece featuring Ryan’s motion, he’s now forced to quickly finish from memory. As Carlos Correa’s walk-up song, 25/8 by Bad Bunny, comes on Kickliy begins to hum. He’s taken in so much action that he has the words down, and it fuels him as he again notes how much planning and repetition help him to stay sharp. 7th Inning While not all fans appreciate the monotony of the 7th inning stretch, you can count Kickliy a supporter. Standing, stretching, and beginning to sway along with the music, Kickliy emphatically throws up hand gestures for 1-2-3 strikes as the song concludes. A fan approaches him, this time from multiple rows back, and asks whether the art is for sale. He wants to know more after having seen him on a recent broadcast. Kickliy notes how to follow his work and then wraps up the second painting with another selfie being posted to his social media channels. 8th Inning While the perspective of games around Target Field largely remains constant, the action does not. This game had little in terms of constant action, and Kickliy is then forced to think on the fly. Finding a few subjects in the crowd near us, he opts for a group of older women sitting behind us off to his left. As they are taking in the game, none of them had noticed he’d begun to work with them as subjects. Despite this contest being largely wrapped up, there was still a story to tell during this late juncture. As other fans begin to notice Kickliy’s subjects, they eagerly look on at the paint and then back at the women to both judge the work and take in the expressions of the unknowing fans. As he wipes a bit of paint off on his pullover, a stadium giveaway from Opening Day, he remains clued in on the subject even with a small amount of action on the field. 9th Inning Jorge Lopez is on for his first save with the Twins, a game they’ve had in hand from the jump. Kickliy continues adding details to this image and is perfecting the final few strokes. Just before the Tigers limp off on the final out, he turns the painting around and the women immediately offer smiles and dropped jaws. Fans around the area clap and the women find themselves incredibly impressed with a moment presented to them simply by taking in a baseball game. Rather than a selfie this time, Kickliy has me take a picture with him and the subjects. They shake hands and are on their way. We relax in the seats for a few moments as the crowd clears out. It’s somewhat decompressing following the day’s game. Our final conversation ends, and we begin to go our separate ways. After all, there’s more action to be painted tomorrow.
  14. Earlier this summer Twins Daily’s Melissa Berman sat down with artist Kickliy Sports and peeled back the layers as to what makes the Minnesota artist tick. With Minnesota Twins fans now well aware of his work, and clamoring for each new rendition, I wondered what viewing a game solely through his perspective would look like. It was an afternoon contest with Joe Ryan starting against the Detroit Tigers and Tyler Alexander. A gorgeous 84-degree day at the yard, Kickily was waiting for me in the bleachers near the bullpens. It was here that I had first met the artist, early on in the season, and he was quick to remind me that this was as good of a perspective as any to start. Melissa Berman on Kickliy We began discussion surrounding the YouTube Game of the Week, in which Minnesota was recently featured and Kickliy found himself on the broadcast. From discussing his art to doing live painting alongside the crew, it’s become more than apparent to the artist that Major League Baseball has taken note of his work. Taking note of the action around us, the Twins were donning their alternate reds, a uniform combination Kickliy notes as being fun to paint. Unfortunately, the Detroit Tigers had their boring grays on, something that leaves little eye appeal available. 1st Inning Kickliy brandishes his tools and pulls out the first sheet of paper. Still sitting in the left field bleachers, the view is of the whole field, with a focus on home plate and the stands behind. Green dots of paint are placed on the page, dried and ready for manipulation. This was a neat starting position I had not considered. Given the amount of similar color in his view, Kickliy allowed for a starting position to help with the speed in which he’s able to clock out his masterpieces. Ryan worked a quick top half, and Kickliy took in a phone call from home. Still painting the entire time, a scene begins to take place. 2nd Inning Working through what will eventually become his scene, Kickliy notes that the perspective from certain locations are set realities. What he’s capturing is action, and that’s why he puts in so much advanced work to understand movements of players and knowing their mannerisms. At this point in the season, he’s a creature of habit, and the vision becomes a routine process. While adults have taken notice of his work, there’s no age limit to the intrigue. A small baby boy is now looking on. Shortly thereafter we move up a few rows as someone came for the seats we were in. The entire paint studio moves on the fly, and within minutes the art is back underway. Background remains the focal point here as people stop and comment while finding their seats. Then Sandy Leon rips a two-run double, his first hit with the Twins, Kickliy smiles and kicks into action. 3rd Inning Less than ten minutes later the first painting is done. Leon’s initial highlight with Minnesota is in the books. Kickliy adds some words in his traditional font, and a fan from the row behind comments, “that’s awesome.” More comments from those around roll in, “That’s a really good painting,” says one. Another walks up and offers a “that is beautiful” sentiment. The artwork has now taken on a life of its own and questions as to whether they’re for sale of a gallery exists become a talking point. Kickliy then leans back for a selfie with his perspective in the background, uploading to Twitter and Instagram, and now all of Twins Territory has access to the art. 4th Inning With one piece already completed, it’s now time for a fresh perspective. From the left field bleachers, we walk down the concourse along the third base line. An usher inside one of the elevator areas recognizes Kickliy from previously being painted. He knocks on the window to get the artist’s attention and smiles while offering a thumbs up. We make our way past Hrbek’s, but not before being stopped by another usher, this one knowing Kickliy well. She sparks up a quick conversation before shaking his hand and offering “Have a great game” before we’re again on our way. Pulling up to a section along the first base line, a fan recognizes Kickliy before heading into the section. A quick conversation ensues, but after previously only following on Instagram, Kickliy has a new follower on Twitter. 5th Inning Sitting in one of the diamond boxes just beyond first base, we now get a closer look at Joe Ryan. Minnesota’s starter has cruised much of this day, and his long pitching motion catches the eye of Kickliy. With a new perspective visible, but action taking place, the art again gets underway. Ryan puts himself front and center when he finishes off the inning on a strikeout. 6th Inning Manager Rocco Baldelli goes to the bullpen for Michael Fulmer’s Twins debut. Kickliy already having started a piece featuring Ryan’s motion, he’s now forced to quickly finish from memory. As Carlos Correa’s walk-up song, 25/8 by Bad Bunny, comes on Kickliy begins to hum. He’s taken in so much action that he has the words down, and it fuels him as he again notes how much planning and repetition help him to stay sharp. 7th Inning While not all fans appreciate the monotony of the 7th inning stretch, you can count Kickliy a supporter. Standing, stretching, and beginning to sway along with the music, Kickliy emphatically throws up hand gestures for 1-2-3 strikes as the song concludes. A fan approaches him, this time from multiple rows back, and asks whether the art is for sale. He wants to know more after having seen him on a recent broadcast. Kickliy notes how to follow his work and then wraps up the second painting with another selfie being posted to his social media channels. 8th Inning While the perspective of games around Target Field largely remains constant, the action does not. This game had little in terms of constant action, and Kickliy is then forced to think on the fly. Finding a few subjects in the crowd near us, he opts for a group of older women sitting behind us off to his left. As they are taking in the game, none of them had noticed he’d begun to work with them as subjects. Despite this contest being largely wrapped up, there was still a story to tell during this late juncture. As other fans begin to notice Kickliy’s subjects, they eagerly look on at the paint and then back at the women to both judge the work and take in the expressions of the unknowing fans. As he wipes a bit of paint off on his pullover, a stadium giveaway from Opening Day, he remains clued in on the subject even with a small amount of action on the field. 9th Inning Jorge Lopez is on for his first save with the Twins, a game they’ve had in hand from the jump. Kickliy continues adding details to this image and is perfecting the final few strokes. Just before the Tigers limp off on the final out, he turns the painting around and the women immediately offer smiles and dropped jaws. Fans around the area clap and the women find themselves incredibly impressed with a moment presented to them simply by taking in a baseball game. Rather than a selfie this time, Kickliy has me take a picture with him and the subjects. They shake hands and are on their way. We relax in the seats for a few moments as the crowd clears out. It’s somewhat decompressing following the day’s game. Our final conversation ends, and we begin to go our separate ways. After all, there’s more action to be painted tomorrow. View full article
  15. Strong pitching, lots of hits, and big runs. This is what summer nights are supposed to be and what the Twins have continued to bring us over the past three games. The Twins held off the Blue Jays and took game three giving them a 2-1 lead in a big series. Box Score SP: Dylan Bundy: 4 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 K (65 pitches, 45 strikes (69%)) Home Runs: Jose Miranda (11) Top 3 WPA: Jorge Polanco (.204), Luis Arraez (.177), Jose Miranda (.163) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Dylan Bundy started the game for the Twins on Saturday. He was able to hold off the Blue Jays through the first three innings, but the second time through the lineup, the Jays had seen enough of Bundy to capitalize on his pitches. Teoscar Hernandez doubled on a sharp line drive earlier and was brought home on a two-run homer from Bo Bichette tying up the game at 2-2 in the fourth inning. Bundy let two runs in but got out of the inning with no further issues. He had six strikeouts in his four innings, his best game since the Fourth of July against the White Sox. On the Blue Jays side, Mitch White started out and did a decent job of trying to keep the Twins off the board. In the third inning Sandy Leon was walked, which got the momentum started. Luis Arraez ripped a ball down the first base line for a double. Both Leon and Arraez were brought home on sacrifice flies from Byron Buxton and Jorge Polanco to get the Twins on the board first. The Twins were seeing doubles. Throughout the game, the team accumulated five doubles. In the fifth inning, Luis Arraez doubled and later scored on a Jorge Polanco double. The Twins led 3-2 through five innings. The momentum of the hits was exciting, giving it almost a playoff feel. Jose Miranda got his 11th home run, Nick Gordon stole a base and scored on a squeeze bunt from Sandy Leon, and Arraez had three hits and stole a base. Jake Cave, who has been on a tear since coming up from Triple-A St. Paul hit a stand up triple giving the Twins a 7-3 lead. The Twins lineups and bullpen in this series have been fun to watch. There is no longer a doom and gloom hanging over the team. The hitters are putting balls into play, the bullpen is controlling the momentum of the other team. The bullpen came in and owned one of the better teams in the league for the second night in a row. Between solid arms and great game management by Rocco Baldelli, the bullpen moved quickly and swiftly through each inning. Trevor Megill was first out of the 'pen and the only reliever to struggle was Griffin Jax, who let two on base with no outs. Baldelli called Jhoan Duran to the mound. The Twins bullpen gave up just one run. Jorge Lopez came in to end the game with the Twins taking game three of the four-game series. What’s Next? The Twins finish out their four game series with the Blue Jays tomorrow, hoping to get a series win against one of the hardest teams in the league. Pitching matchup tomorrow: Sunday 12:10 pm CST: Chris Archer (2-5, 4.05 ERA) vs RHP Kevin Gausmann (8-8, 3.06 ERA) Postgame Interviews Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet View full article
  16. Box Score SP: Dylan Bundy: 4 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 K (65 pitches, 45 strikes (69%)) Home Runs: Jose Miranda (11) Top 3 WPA: Jorge Polanco (.204), Luis Arraez (.177), Jose Miranda (.163) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Dylan Bundy started the game for the Twins on Saturday. He was able to hold off the Blue Jays through the first three innings, but the second time through the lineup, the Jays had seen enough of Bundy to capitalize on his pitches. Teoscar Hernandez doubled on a sharp line drive earlier and was brought home on a two-run homer from Bo Bichette tying up the game at 2-2 in the fourth inning. Bundy let two runs in but got out of the inning with no further issues. He had six strikeouts in his four innings, his best game since the Fourth of July against the White Sox. On the Blue Jays side, Mitch White started out and did a decent job of trying to keep the Twins off the board. In the third inning Sandy Leon was walked, which got the momentum started. Luis Arraez ripped a ball down the first base line for a double. Both Leon and Arraez were brought home on sacrifice flies from Byron Buxton and Jorge Polanco to get the Twins on the board first. The Twins were seeing doubles. Throughout the game, the team accumulated five doubles. In the fifth inning, Luis Arraez doubled and later scored on a Jorge Polanco double. The Twins led 3-2 through five innings. The momentum of the hits was exciting, giving it almost a playoff feel. Jose Miranda got his 11th home run, Nick Gordon stole a base and scored on a squeeze bunt from Sandy Leon, and Arraez had three hits and stole a base. Jake Cave, who has been on a tear since coming up from Triple-A St. Paul hit a stand up triple giving the Twins a 7-3 lead. The Twins lineups and bullpen in this series have been fun to watch. There is no longer a doom and gloom hanging over the team. The hitters are putting balls into play, the bullpen is controlling the momentum of the other team. The bullpen came in and owned one of the better teams in the league for the second night in a row. Between solid arms and great game management by Rocco Baldelli, the bullpen moved quickly and swiftly through each inning. Trevor Megill was first out of the 'pen and the only reliever to struggle was Griffin Jax, who let two on base with no outs. Baldelli called Jhoan Duran to the mound. The Twins bullpen gave up just one run. Jorge Lopez came in to end the game with the Twins taking game three of the four-game series. What’s Next? The Twins finish out their four game series with the Blue Jays tomorrow, hoping to get a series win against one of the hardest teams in the league. Pitching matchup tomorrow: Sunday 12:10 pm CST: Chris Archer (2-5, 4.05 ERA) vs RHP Kevin Gausmann (8-8, 3.06 ERA) Postgame Interviews Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
  17. The Standings: Minnesota 55-50 Cleveland 54-51 (1.0 GB, 2.0 GB of 2nd Wild Card) Chicago 53-52 (2.0 GB) Kansas City 42-64 (13.5 GB) Detroit 42-65 (14.0 GB) The Guardians and White Sox have used the opportunity presented by the Twins to draw closer. Back as many as five games just before the All-Star Break, both clubs find themselves within striking distance as August gets underway. The division might not be good (it isn’t), but it should remain interesting. The Stories: Minnesota made all of the splashes during the trade deadline. Needing pitching help, in both the bullpen and rotation, arms such as Jorge Lopez and Tyler Mahle were both acquired. After Ryan Jeffers went down with a broken thumb, a catcher became a need as well, and Sandy Leon was grabbed from Cleveland. The bullpen pecking order has changed, but it didn’t take long for Emilio Pagan to mess things up again out of the break. Carlos Correa is slumping and Byron Buxton continues trying to manage his knee issues. Rocco Baldelli’s club needs to get going sooner rather than later. Somewhat shockingly the White Sox did virtually nothing at the trade deadline. They shipped catcher Reese McGuire out in exchange for lefty Jake Diekman, but that was the extent of their moves. A clean bill of health may be the best thing afforded to them the rest of the way, and that started with Luis Robert being activated off the injured list. Tony La Russa will need to do a better job managing down the stretch, but he’s certainly got a club capable of making some noise. Unlike Chicago, Cleveland literally did nothing at the deadline when it comes to the Major League roster. Leon was at Triple-A when sent to the Twins, and although Ian Hamilton may have a big league impact, he too was pitching for St. Paul. The Guardians need a full rotation if they’re going to hold serve with Minnesota, and getting Aaron Civale back should help. He began a rehab assignment at Triple-A on Thursday. Steven Kwan currently has an 18-game hitting streak and prospect Tyler Freeman made his big league debut. Despite suggesting they were open for business, Detroit wound up being quiet at the trade deadline. They did allow Michael Fulmer to walk across the diamond at Target Field, but Tarik Skubal stayed put. The Tigers ace probably sapped any trade possibility when he left his most recent start with left arm fatigue. He was later placed on the injured list. Hopefully it’s not a long injury or anything serious, but it’s obviously smart that Detroit is taking things seriously. The Royals wound up trading Andrew Benintendi to the New York Yankees and then finally shipped Whit Merrifield to the Toronto Blue Jays. Merrifield had been a subject of trade rumors for years, but this time it finally happened. He did also go through with vaccination for Covid in order to be eligible to enter Canada. Former Twins prospect Brent Rooker rejoined the division when San Diego sent him to Kansas City in exchange for Cam Gallagher. Heart and Hustle Nominees: The Heart and Hustle nominees for each team were announced this week. Voting takes place prior to the All-Star Break. MLB defines the award by saying, "This esteemed award honors active players who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and traditions of the game. The Heart and Hustle Award is also the only award in Major League Baseball that is voted on by former players." The nominees for each club are: Minnesota Twins - Luis Arraez Chicago White Sox - Jose Abreu Cleveland Guardians - Jose Abreu Kansas City Royals - Bobby Witt Jr. Detroit Tigers - Eric Haase The Week Ahead: Things get tougher before they get easier on the Twins. A four-game set with Toronto starts the weekend, but then they travel to California and have a two-game set with the Dodgers. Clayton Kershaw nearly threw a no-hitter against them earlier this season, and Minnesota was clearly outmatched. An underwhelming Angels squad will greet them next weekend. Chicago remains on the road against bottom feeders for most of the week. Playing against the Rangers and then headed to Kansas City, they should have plenty of wins to stack before returning home against Detroit. They could find themselves leading the division a few days from now with this slate. Terry Francona’s Guardians have a four-game set with the Astros over the weekend, but then travel to Detroit and Toronto next week. They could be in a spot to lose ground if Minnesota and Chicago are able to string wins together. Detroit has to fend off the Tampa Bay Rays at home this weekend which won’t be an easy task. Divisional matchups follow and they can’t get caught looking ahead, if that’s a thing for a team this bad. Eris Hosmer returned to Kansas City as the Red Sox new first basemen. He’s there over the weekend before the Royals host Chicago, including a doubleheader, then welcome the Dodgers for three. What are you looking forward to this week? Are the Twins actually going to lose the division lead?
  18. The 2022 Major League Baseball Trade Deadline is now behind us. The AL Central remains a tightly contested division, even if seemingly no one wants to actually go on a run and take command. Minnesota brought in reinforcements while everyone else is banking on their own options to hold serve. The Standings: Minnesota 55-50 Cleveland 54-51 (1.0 GB, 2.0 GB of 2nd Wild Card) Chicago 53-52 (2.0 GB) Kansas City 42-64 (13.5 GB) Detroit 42-65 (14.0 GB) The Guardians and White Sox have used the opportunity presented by the Twins to draw closer. Back as many as five games just before the All-Star Break, both clubs find themselves within striking distance as August gets underway. The division might not be good (it isn’t), but it should remain interesting. The Stories: Minnesota made all of the splashes during the trade deadline. Needing pitching help, in both the bullpen and rotation, arms such as Jorge Lopez and Tyler Mahle were both acquired. After Ryan Jeffers went down with a broken thumb, a catcher became a need as well, and Sandy Leon was grabbed from Cleveland. The bullpen pecking order has changed, but it didn’t take long for Emilio Pagan to mess things up again out of the break. Carlos Correa is slumping and Byron Buxton continues trying to manage his knee issues. Rocco Baldelli’s club needs to get going sooner rather than later. Somewhat shockingly the White Sox did virtually nothing at the trade deadline. They shipped catcher Reese McGuire out in exchange for lefty Jake Diekman, but that was the extent of their moves. A clean bill of health may be the best thing afforded to them the rest of the way, and that started with Luis Robert being activated off the injured list. Tony La Russa will need to do a better job managing down the stretch, but he’s certainly got a club capable of making some noise. Unlike Chicago, Cleveland literally did nothing at the deadline when it comes to the Major League roster. Leon was at Triple-A when sent to the Twins, and although Ian Hamilton may have a big league impact, he too was pitching for St. Paul. The Guardians need a full rotation if they’re going to hold serve with Minnesota, and getting Aaron Civale back should help. He began a rehab assignment at Triple-A on Thursday. Steven Kwan currently has an 18-game hitting streak and prospect Tyler Freeman made his big league debut. Despite suggesting they were open for business, Detroit wound up being quiet at the trade deadline. They did allow Michael Fulmer to walk across the diamond at Target Field, but Tarik Skubal stayed put. The Tigers ace probably sapped any trade possibility when he left his most recent start with left arm fatigue. He was later placed on the injured list. Hopefully it’s not a long injury or anything serious, but it’s obviously smart that Detroit is taking things seriously. The Royals wound up trading Andrew Benintendi to the New York Yankees and then finally shipped Whit Merrifield to the Toronto Blue Jays. Merrifield had been a subject of trade rumors for years, but this time it finally happened. He did also go through with vaccination for Covid in order to be eligible to enter Canada. Former Twins prospect Brent Rooker rejoined the division when San Diego sent him to Kansas City in exchange for Cam Gallagher. Heart and Hustle Nominees: The Heart and Hustle nominees for each team were announced this week. Voting takes place prior to the All-Star Break. MLB defines the award by saying, "This esteemed award honors active players who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and traditions of the game. The Heart and Hustle Award is also the only award in Major League Baseball that is voted on by former players." The nominees for each club are: Minnesota Twins - Luis Arraez Chicago White Sox - Jose Abreu Cleveland Guardians - Jose Abreu Kansas City Royals - Bobby Witt Jr. Detroit Tigers - Eric Haase The Week Ahead: Things get tougher before they get easier on the Twins. A four-game set with Toronto starts the weekend, but then they travel to California and have a two-game set with the Dodgers. Clayton Kershaw nearly threw a no-hitter against them earlier this season, and Minnesota was clearly outmatched. An underwhelming Angels squad will greet them next weekend. Chicago remains on the road against bottom feeders for most of the week. Playing against the Rangers and then headed to Kansas City, they should have plenty of wins to stack before returning home against Detroit. They could find themselves leading the division a few days from now with this slate. Terry Francona’s Guardians have a four-game set with the Astros over the weekend, but then travel to Detroit and Toronto next week. They could be in a spot to lose ground if Minnesota and Chicago are able to string wins together. Detroit has to fend off the Tampa Bay Rays at home this weekend which won’t be an easy task. Divisional matchups follow and they can’t get caught looking ahead, if that’s a thing for a team this bad. Eris Hosmer returned to Kansas City as the Red Sox new first basemen. He’s there over the weekend before the Royals host Chicago, including a doubleheader, then welcome the Dodgers for three. What are you looking forward to this week? Are the Twins actually going to lose the division lead? View full article
  19. The Twins waited until Tuesday, the trade deadline, to make their moves, but in the end, they added right-handed starter Tyler Mahle, right-handed relievers Jorge Lopez and Michael Fulmer, and a backup catcher option in Sandy Leon. It came at a price as the Twins dealt infielders Spencer Steer and Christian Encarnacion-Strand, left-handed pitchers Cade Povich, Steve Hajjar and Juan Rojas, right-handed pitchers Yennier Cano, Sawyer Gipson Long and Juan Nunez. Seth Stohs: As you know, I don’t like to see prospects traded, and yet, I fully understand that it is a necessary evil in order for the big-league club to add talent and fill holes. Before the deadline, the obvious question is: What do the Twins need to do? I would tell people that they need to add at least one starter, two reliable relievers, and another catching option. That’s exactly what the Twins front office did. Mahle now rejoins Sonny Gray at the top of the Twins rotation. Lopez should team with Jhoan Duran at the end of ball games. Fulmer should slot into 7th and 8th innings with Griffin Jax. Back to the prospects, Spencer Steer has a chance to be a really good player, but with the Twins, he’s behind Jose Miranda and others. Same with Christian Encarnacion-Strand who has destroyed baseballs since entering pro ball in 2021. Steve Hajjar has had an up and down season, but he has a chance to be good if healthy. Cade Povich has a chance to be a mid-rotation starter, maybe even more. The Twins had to give up something in order to get something, but they did just that. The front office made the necessary moves. The question, in my mind, is if the Twins added enough to stay ahead of the White Sox in the AL Central. We shall see. Jeremy Nygaard: For me, the long and the short of it is that you hope your prospects turn into productive players. Not that they’re great comparisons, but you hope you can develop Cade Povich into a player with Tyler Mahle’s ability. You hope that any of those other pitching prospects that were dealt if they fail as starters, turn into really good relievers like Jorge Lopez. And that’s exactly how the teams that dealt Mahle and Lopez feel too. They just acquired three or four chances. Nobody that the Twins dealt is sure things and like you mentioned, Seth, even Steer was going to have a hard time breaking into the lineup. It’s hard not to like the deals they made because they give the Twins a chance to go deeper this year, Mahle will be a big part of the rotation in ‘23 and Lopez helps the bullpen for the next two years. Plus they still have all their top prospects. Sure, Fulmer was a rental, but at a low cost. Now, if you want to talk about if Lopez has two more years being the dude he is now… well, that’s another story. Melissa Berman: Tuesday represented the most active trade deadline day the Twins have had in years, maybe ever, and is a clear message from the front office: "We see ourselves as serious contenders, and we want to win now." While losing high-flying prospects like Steer and Encarnacion-Strand is unfortunate, it simultaneously is a vote of confidence for the Twins' young corps of Arraez, Miranda, Lewis, Kirilloff, and Larnach. When healthy, each player has produced at a high level, and it is outwardly apparent that the Twins see them in their long-term outlook. Consequently, there would not be a lot of places for these hitting prospects to go in the Twins organization. The Twins made good moves on Tuesday that provide them with much-needed help for the rest of the 2022 season and several more to come. Contrast the multitude of Twins moves with the Chicago White Sox, who only added reliever Jake Diekman, and the Cleveland Guardians, who added pitcher Ian Hamilton. The lack of moves could mean one of two things: the teams think they can compete with what they currently have, or, conversely, they don't see themselves as serious division contenders this season. Rebuilding and major retooling of lineups are best done in the offseason with the free agent market at a team’s disposal. Time will tell if the AL Central, currently the most competitive division race in baseball, will stay a close three-horse race, and if the Twins’ moves will be enough to keep them on top. Rena Wang: To echo Melissa, it was exciting as a fan to see the Twins so active at the trade deadline for the first time in years. We’ve become accustomed to disappointment and a lack of urgency to win (CC. the trade Correa crew), but we’ve known in the back of our minds all along that the Twins’ front office is ready to win with the moves that were made in the offseason. It's always painful to lose prospects, especially Christian Encarnacion-Strand who was recently named the Minor League Hitter of the Month for the second time, but the definition of a prospect speaks for itself. I’m always an advocate of taking a risk for something tangible and certain. The Twins also exceeded expectations by trading for Jorge López, the best young closer in baseball. Although Michael Fulmer fits the profile of the average Twins’ trade target, he’s having a career season in the bullpen and would slot in perfectly with Griffin Jax and Tyler Duffey as a middle reliever. Tyler Mahle is the starter that the Twins desperately need with Bailey Ober headed to the 60-Day IL. All in all, if these trade targets continue to perform as advertised, the Twins have a real shot to compete for the first time in years. Theo Tollefson: The Falvey and Levine regime had their best trade deadline to date Tuesday. They acquired the bare minimum of what many Twins fans had been asking for since mid-June with a reliable middle-of-the-rotation starter and two backend relievers. Tyler Mahle was the best acquisition of them all. Mahle has had much better numbers on the road this year than he had at Great American Ballpark with the Red. Given that Target Field is more of a pitcher-friendly ballpark than GAB, Mahle should find himself more comfortable in his new home ballpark for the next year and a half with the Twins. Jorge Lopez was a surprise acquisition but a welcomed one at that. Lopez has finally reached the potential he was given as a prospect with the Brewers over seven years ago. Although Rocco Baldelli has never officially designated someone as the closer in his five years as manager, people can expect Lopez to unofficially fill that role for the Twins and take a load off of Duran and the rest of the bullpen. Michael Fulmer is just another good addition for a depleted Twins bullpen. He will certainly help in any role he is used for in relief. The Twins did give up a good amount of prospects to acquire who they needed this deadline, but they did not sell their entire farm system as the Padres did to get what they needed. This sets the team up well to win the AL Central this season and retool themselves for next year as well. Nash Walker: The Twins filled their biggest hole with a bang in Jorge López. They so badly needed a high-leverage right-handed reliever to pair with Jhoan Duran in the back of the bullpen. Other than Josh Hader, López was the best reliever dealt during the deadline. He’s also under team control through 2024, a significant wrinkle that sets up the Twins’ backend for the future. Tyler Mahle was my No. 1 target for the Twins when combining every factor. He should thrive outside of Cincinnati and I love his stuff. He knows how to pitch and there’s room for upside. Mahle is a mid-rotation starter *right now,* but I think there’s a real chance he’s a frontline starter very soon. Could they have used another starter? No question. Mahle is a great addition either way. After Mahle and López, I was hoping the Twins wouldn’t stop short. They then traded for Michael Fulmer, who I think is one of the more underrated relievers in baseball. Fulmer shuts down right-handed hitters and the Twins now boast a strength in the bullpen with Duran, López, Griffin Jax and Fulmer. It was a good finish to a good deadline. Let’s see how it plays out. Matt Braun: This was exactly the trade deadline the Twins needed; each move perfectly covered a weakness and two of the deals netted players who will impact future Twins teams as well. It’s hard to complain about that. What excites me—beyond the added talent—is that the team found a way to trade uncertain or blocked prospects without losing the big names. Spencer Steer is a major loss, but he had no easy path to the Twins; Cade Povich is a serious blow—I thought that he had the potential to become a solid mid-rotation arm—but he’s the only player I’m truly worked up over. Tyler Mahle is the dude. I’ve wanted Mahle on the team for years; I think his performance has another gear left and moving him away from a little league ballpark will neutralize his home run issue. I’m absolutely ecstatic that the Twins snagged him away from the Reds, and I might argue that he would be a theoretical game 1 starter (don’t worry, I knocked on wood after typing that). Jorge López is another great get. His stuff is mind-bending, he’s only 29, and the Twins will have him for two more years following this season. He and Jhoan Duran in the back-end may be the best—and nastiest—1-2 punch the team has had in a long time. Michael Fulmer is an acceptable get; he fills the 6th/7th inning role adequately—although his control worries me—and a middle relief piece deepens the bullpen. Gone are the days of Tyler Thornburg pitching in the 8th inning. My only qualm is that Dylan Bundy and Chris Archer still constitute 40% of the starting rotation. That’s not a terrible problem—every team will tell you that they aren’t fully comfortable with their starting staff—but it’s still an area the team could have improved upon. Netting Carlos Rodón would have made this an award-winning deadline; instead, it’s a great one. Your Turn: Share your thoughts in the comments below. Try to keep it to 150-200 words, and enjoy reading the thoughts of others.
  20. The Minnesota Twins added a starting pitcher, two relief pitchers and a backup catcher option before Tuesday’s MLB trade deadline. They lost some really good prospects to do so. With a day to reflect, what are your thoughts on what the Twins did at the deadline? The Twins waited until Tuesday, the trade deadline, to make their moves, but in the end, they added right-handed starter Tyler Mahle, right-handed relievers Jorge Lopez and Michael Fulmer, and a backup catcher option in Sandy Leon. It came at a price as the Twins dealt infielders Spencer Steer and Christian Encarnacion-Strand, left-handed pitchers Cade Povich, Steve Hajjar and Juan Rojas, right-handed pitchers Yennier Cano, Sawyer Gipson Long and Juan Nunez. Seth Stohs: As you know, I don’t like to see prospects traded, and yet, I fully understand that it is a necessary evil in order for the big-league club to add talent and fill holes. Before the deadline, the obvious question is: What do the Twins need to do? I would tell people that they need to add at least one starter, two reliable relievers, and another catching option. That’s exactly what the Twins front office did. Mahle now rejoins Sonny Gray at the top of the Twins rotation. Lopez should team with Jhoan Duran at the end of ball games. Fulmer should slot into 7th and 8th innings with Griffin Jax. Back to the prospects, Spencer Steer has a chance to be a really good player, but with the Twins, he’s behind Jose Miranda and others. Same with Christian Encarnacion-Strand who has destroyed baseballs since entering pro ball in 2021. Steve Hajjar has had an up and down season, but he has a chance to be good if healthy. Cade Povich has a chance to be a mid-rotation starter, maybe even more. The Twins had to give up something in order to get something, but they did just that. The front office made the necessary moves. The question, in my mind, is if the Twins added enough to stay ahead of the White Sox in the AL Central. We shall see. Jeremy Nygaard: For me, the long and the short of it is that you hope your prospects turn into productive players. Not that they’re great comparisons, but you hope you can develop Cade Povich into a player with Tyler Mahle’s ability. You hope that any of those other pitching prospects that were dealt if they fail as starters, turn into really good relievers like Jorge Lopez. And that’s exactly how the teams that dealt Mahle and Lopez feel too. They just acquired three or four chances. Nobody that the Twins dealt is sure things and like you mentioned, Seth, even Steer was going to have a hard time breaking into the lineup. It’s hard not to like the deals they made because they give the Twins a chance to go deeper this year, Mahle will be a big part of the rotation in ‘23 and Lopez helps the bullpen for the next two years. Plus they still have all their top prospects. Sure, Fulmer was a rental, but at a low cost. Now, if you want to talk about if Lopez has two more years being the dude he is now… well, that’s another story. Melissa Berman: Tuesday represented the most active trade deadline day the Twins have had in years, maybe ever, and is a clear message from the front office: "We see ourselves as serious contenders, and we want to win now." While losing high-flying prospects like Steer and Encarnacion-Strand is unfortunate, it simultaneously is a vote of confidence for the Twins' young corps of Arraez, Miranda, Lewis, Kirilloff, and Larnach. When healthy, each player has produced at a high level, and it is outwardly apparent that the Twins see them in their long-term outlook. Consequently, there would not be a lot of places for these hitting prospects to go in the Twins organization. The Twins made good moves on Tuesday that provide them with much-needed help for the rest of the 2022 season and several more to come. Contrast the multitude of Twins moves with the Chicago White Sox, who only added reliever Jake Diekman, and the Cleveland Guardians, who added pitcher Ian Hamilton. The lack of moves could mean one of two things: the teams think they can compete with what they currently have, or, conversely, they don't see themselves as serious division contenders this season. Rebuilding and major retooling of lineups are best done in the offseason with the free agent market at a team’s disposal. Time will tell if the AL Central, currently the most competitive division race in baseball, will stay a close three-horse race, and if the Twins’ moves will be enough to keep them on top. Rena Wang: To echo Melissa, it was exciting as a fan to see the Twins so active at the trade deadline for the first time in years. We’ve become accustomed to disappointment and a lack of urgency to win (CC. the trade Correa crew), but we’ve known in the back of our minds all along that the Twins’ front office is ready to win with the moves that were made in the offseason. It's always painful to lose prospects, especially Christian Encarnacion-Strand who was recently named the Minor League Hitter of the Month for the second time, but the definition of a prospect speaks for itself. I’m always an advocate of taking a risk for something tangible and certain. The Twins also exceeded expectations by trading for Jorge López, the best young closer in baseball. Although Michael Fulmer fits the profile of the average Twins’ trade target, he’s having a career season in the bullpen and would slot in perfectly with Griffin Jax and Tyler Duffey as a middle reliever. Tyler Mahle is the starter that the Twins desperately need with Bailey Ober headed to the 60-Day IL. All in all, if these trade targets continue to perform as advertised, the Twins have a real shot to compete for the first time in years. Theo Tollefson: The Falvey and Levine regime had their best trade deadline to date Tuesday. They acquired the bare minimum of what many Twins fans had been asking for since mid-June with a reliable middle-of-the-rotation starter and two backend relievers. Tyler Mahle was the best acquisition of them all. Mahle has had much better numbers on the road this year than he had at Great American Ballpark with the Red. Given that Target Field is more of a pitcher-friendly ballpark than GAB, Mahle should find himself more comfortable in his new home ballpark for the next year and a half with the Twins. Jorge Lopez was a surprise acquisition but a welcomed one at that. Lopez has finally reached the potential he was given as a prospect with the Brewers over seven years ago. Although Rocco Baldelli has never officially designated someone as the closer in his five years as manager, people can expect Lopez to unofficially fill that role for the Twins and take a load off of Duran and the rest of the bullpen. Michael Fulmer is just another good addition for a depleted Twins bullpen. He will certainly help in any role he is used for in relief. The Twins did give up a good amount of prospects to acquire who they needed this deadline, but they did not sell their entire farm system as the Padres did to get what they needed. This sets the team up well to win the AL Central this season and retool themselves for next year as well. Nash Walker: The Twins filled their biggest hole with a bang in Jorge López. They so badly needed a high-leverage right-handed reliever to pair with Jhoan Duran in the back of the bullpen. Other than Josh Hader, López was the best reliever dealt during the deadline. He’s also under team control through 2024, a significant wrinkle that sets up the Twins’ backend for the future. Tyler Mahle was my No. 1 target for the Twins when combining every factor. He should thrive outside of Cincinnati and I love his stuff. He knows how to pitch and there’s room for upside. Mahle is a mid-rotation starter *right now,* but I think there’s a real chance he’s a frontline starter very soon. Could they have used another starter? No question. Mahle is a great addition either way. After Mahle and López, I was hoping the Twins wouldn’t stop short. They then traded for Michael Fulmer, who I think is one of the more underrated relievers in baseball. Fulmer shuts down right-handed hitters and the Twins now boast a strength in the bullpen with Duran, López, Griffin Jax and Fulmer. It was a good finish to a good deadline. Let’s see how it plays out. Matt Braun: This was exactly the trade deadline the Twins needed; each move perfectly covered a weakness and two of the deals netted players who will impact future Twins teams as well. It’s hard to complain about that. What excites me—beyond the added talent—is that the team found a way to trade uncertain or blocked prospects without losing the big names. Spencer Steer is a major loss, but he had no easy path to the Twins; Cade Povich is a serious blow—I thought that he had the potential to become a solid mid-rotation arm—but he’s the only player I’m truly worked up over. Tyler Mahle is the dude. I’ve wanted Mahle on the team for years; I think his performance has another gear left and moving him away from a little league ballpark will neutralize his home run issue. I’m absolutely ecstatic that the Twins snagged him away from the Reds, and I might argue that he would be a theoretical game 1 starter (don’t worry, I knocked on wood after typing that). Jorge López is another great get. His stuff is mind-bending, he’s only 29, and the Twins will have him for two more years following this season. He and Jhoan Duran in the back-end may be the best—and nastiest—1-2 punch the team has had in a long time. Michael Fulmer is an acceptable get; he fills the 6th/7th inning role adequately—although his control worries me—and a middle relief piece deepens the bullpen. Gone are the days of Tyler Thornburg pitching in the 8th inning. My only qualm is that Dylan Bundy and Chris Archer still constitute 40% of the starting rotation. That’s not a terrible problem—every team will tell you that they aren’t fully comfortable with their starting staff—but it’s still an area the team could have improved upon. Netting Carlos Rodón would have made this an award-winning deadline; instead, it’s a great one. Your Turn: Share your thoughts in the comments below. Try to keep it to 150-200 words, and enjoy reading the thoughts of others. View full article
  21. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Joe Ryan, 5 IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 9K (78 pitches, 63 strikes, 80.8%) Home Runs: none Top 3 WPA: Sandy León (.200), Joe Ryan (.155), Michael Fulmer (.079) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Four new ballplayers joined the Twins at Tuesday’s trade deadline, three pitchers (Tyler Mahle, Jorge López, and Michael Fulmer) and a catcher (Sandy León). With Minnesota’s pitching going through an incredibly rough patch for weeks now, it was natural for the pitcher trades to be celebrated the most. But it was the lone bat acquired in those deals to make some noise first. After going down in order in the first inning, the offense set the wheels in motion in the second. TD’s hitter of the month of July, José Miranda kicked things off with a leadoff single shortly before Nick Gordon drew a one-out walk. Lefty Tyler Alexander managed to retire Jake Cave for the second out, but he couldn’t dodge the León bullet. Batting eighth in his very first at-bat as a Twin, León drove in both runners with a double to the left-field corner. Unfortunately for the Twins, the offense couldn’t do much outside that second inning. Alexander pitched three perfect innings around it, keeping the Twins bats on a leash. Fortunately for the Twins, though, Joe Ryan had a tremendous start to this game – perhaps another impact brought to the table by León. Ryan tossed four scoreless innings to open this game, allowing only two hits while striking out seven. During the fifth, he had some issues, causing him to hit two batters and allowing Riley Greene to push the leadoff runner across, scoring Detroit’s first run. Ryan limited the damage to the one run by striking out the next two batters for a total of nine through five. Also, TD’s Nick Nelson found this gem: Came the sixth inning, and Rocco Baldelli decided it was time to have another new Twin make his debut for Minnesota. Fulmer needed only 13 pitches, nine of which were strikes, to toss a scoreless frame with a punch out. He also caught former teammate Harold Castro trying to steal second to end the inning. In the home sixth, Byron Buxton led things off with a walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and was pushed across by a Carlos Correa single, making it 3-1 Minnesota. While Caleb Thielbar and Jhoan Duran did a fine job keeping the lead intact through the seventh and eighth innings, the bats had a hard time adding on. Cave and León got back-to-back hits in the seventh (León’s first multi-hit game of the season), but both runners ended up being stranded. But they managed to get one more insurance run for Jorge Lopez to have an easier time trying to get his first save as a Twin in the ninth. Buxton led off the eighth with a single, shortly before Jorge Polanco got his first hit of the afternoon, a one-out single. Miranda drew a walk to load the bases with one out, and the Twins had the chance to break the game open. Gio Urshela hit a sac-fly to center to score Buxton from third, but that was all Minnesota got, as Gordon struck out next to end the inning. López stepped up for his first save opportunity with Minnesota and he breezed through the ninth, retiring the side on seven pitches, concluding a perfect debut for the new fellows. Postgame interview What’s Next? The Twins continue their homestand on Thursday when they start a four-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays at Target Field. The first pitch of game one is scheduled for tomorrow at 6:40 pm CDT, with Sonny Gray (3.41 ERA) taking the mound for Minnesota and Alek Manoah (2.43 ERA) starting for Toronto. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Pagán 20 20 0 16 0 56 Jax 11 0 20 24 0 55 Duran 11 0 10 0 19 40 Megill 7 23 0 8 0 38 Fulmer 0 0 23 0 13 36 Duffey 28 0 0 7 0 35 Moran 0 16 0 10 0 26 Thielbar 0 7 0 0 11 18 López 0 0 0 0 7 7
  22. Minnesota’s pitchers combined for a fantastic afternoon on the mound, and the offense came through when needed, despite some early struggles, helping the Twins to secure a series victory against the Tigers at Target Field. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Joe Ryan, 5 IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 9K (78 pitches, 63 strikes, 80.8%) Home Runs: none Top 3 WPA: Sandy León (.200), Joe Ryan (.155), Michael Fulmer (.079) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Four new ballplayers joined the Twins at Tuesday’s trade deadline, three pitchers (Tyler Mahle, Jorge López, and Michael Fulmer) and a catcher (Sandy León). With Minnesota’s pitching going through an incredibly rough patch for weeks now, it was natural for the pitcher trades to be celebrated the most. But it was the lone bat acquired in those deals to make some noise first. After going down in order in the first inning, the offense set the wheels in motion in the second. TD’s hitter of the month of July, José Miranda kicked things off with a leadoff single shortly before Nick Gordon drew a one-out walk. Lefty Tyler Alexander managed to retire Jake Cave for the second out, but he couldn’t dodge the León bullet. Batting eighth in his very first at-bat as a Twin, León drove in both runners with a double to the left-field corner. Unfortunately for the Twins, the offense couldn’t do much outside that second inning. Alexander pitched three perfect innings around it, keeping the Twins bats on a leash. Fortunately for the Twins, though, Joe Ryan had a tremendous start to this game – perhaps another impact brought to the table by León. Ryan tossed four scoreless innings to open this game, allowing only two hits while striking out seven. During the fifth, he had some issues, causing him to hit two batters and allowing Riley Greene to push the leadoff runner across, scoring Detroit’s first run. Ryan limited the damage to the one run by striking out the next two batters for a total of nine through five. Also, TD’s Nick Nelson found this gem: Came the sixth inning, and Rocco Baldelli decided it was time to have another new Twin make his debut for Minnesota. Fulmer needed only 13 pitches, nine of which were strikes, to toss a scoreless frame with a punch out. He also caught former teammate Harold Castro trying to steal second to end the inning. In the home sixth, Byron Buxton led things off with a walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and was pushed across by a Carlos Correa single, making it 3-1 Minnesota. While Caleb Thielbar and Jhoan Duran did a fine job keeping the lead intact through the seventh and eighth innings, the bats had a hard time adding on. Cave and León got back-to-back hits in the seventh (León’s first multi-hit game of the season), but both runners ended up being stranded. But they managed to get one more insurance run for Jorge Lopez to have an easier time trying to get his first save as a Twin in the ninth. Buxton led off the eighth with a single, shortly before Jorge Polanco got his first hit of the afternoon, a one-out single. Miranda drew a walk to load the bases with one out, and the Twins had the chance to break the game open. Gio Urshela hit a sac-fly to center to score Buxton from third, but that was all Minnesota got, as Gordon struck out next to end the inning. López stepped up for his first save opportunity with Minnesota and he breezed through the ninth, retiring the side on seven pitches, concluding a perfect debut for the new fellows. Postgame interview What’s Next? The Twins continue their homestand on Thursday when they start a four-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays at Target Field. The first pitch of game one is scheduled for tomorrow at 6:40 pm CDT, with Sonny Gray (3.41 ERA) taking the mound for Minnesota and Alek Manoah (2.43 ERA) starting for Toronto. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Pagán 20 20 0 16 0 56 Jax 11 0 20 24 0 55 Duran 11 0 10 0 19 40 Megill 7 23 0 8 0 38 Fulmer 0 0 23 0 13 36 Duffey 28 0 0 7 0 35 Moran 0 16 0 10 0 26 Thielbar 0 7 0 0 11 18 López 0 0 0 0 7 7 View full article
  23. Needing catching help after Ryan Jeffers found himself on the injured list due to a fractured thumb, the Minnesota Twins had a new addition to their shopping list. Trading within the division, they got a partner for Gary Sanchez in the form of veteran Sandy Leon. It’s often thought that teams don’t match up with foes from within the division, especially considering how closely the Cleveland Guardians are in contention with the Minnesota Twins. Sandy Leon has been at Triple-A for the majority of this season, however, playing just eight games at the Major League level. An 11-year veteran, Leon is a light hitting backstop owning just a .595 career OPS. He hasn’t batted above the Mendoza Line since 2017 with the Boston Red Sox, but he’s been a capable defender behind the dish. Given the inexperience brought with Caleb Hamilton, and Sanchez’s inability to control the position defensively, this is a move that acts as an insurance policy until the return of Jeffers. In acquiring Leon, Minnesota decided to part with minor league reliever Ian Hamilton. Signed in 2021 after spending time with the Chicago White Sox, Hamilton is a hard thrower that’s struggled with command and worked to build his way back following a serious car accident in 2019. Hamilton has posted a very strong 1.88 ERA at Triple-A this year, but it’s turned into just 2 2/3 innings of opportunity at the highest level. Given Hamilton’s 11.3 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9, it seemed he could be someone that Minnesota may opt to select at some point down the stretch. Knowing the Twins bullpen needs help, Hamilton has shown flashes that probably could’ve been explored. Still, trading for another need in-depth behind the plate, this is the type of low-risk move that gets it done. There’s still just about an hour until the 2022 Major League Baseball trade deadline passes, and it remains to be seen if Minnesota is done for the day. Adding three pieces across three separate trades, the front office has put in some substantial work to supplement a group leading the American League Central division. View full article
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