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  1. LaMonte Wade, Akil Baddoo, and Nick Anderson have all gone on to find success with other organizations. Teams need to be strong when it comes to scouting, so do the Twins have an issue when it comes to scouting their own talent? There’s no question that successful organizations need to have a strong scouting department. It is the job of this group to find talent at any level and decide if those players are a good fit for an organization. One undervalued scouting skill might be the ability of an organization to evaluate their own talent and decide which pieces are most critical for an organization’s long-term success. Unfortunately, these three players have all found success with other organizations without getting a long look at the big-league level by the Twins. Akil Baddoo, Detroit Tigers Minnesota drafted Baddoo in the second round back in 2016 and he played his first four professional seasons in the organization. Back in 2019, he topped out at High-A where he hit .214/.290/.393 in 29 games. Entering the 2021 season, he didn’t have an at-bat at the Double-A level and the lost 2020 season certainly took away some development time, so the Twins left him unprotected in the Rule 5 Draft. Now, it’s looking like the Twins might have given up on him too soon. Detroit is in rebuild mode so they can afford to take some chances in the Rule 5 Draft, and they were willing to give Baddoo a shot at the big-league level. His hot start to the season was well documented as he had a 1.024 OPS through his first 15 games. He may not be getting the hype he was at season’s start, but he entered play on Monday with a 142 OPS+ while leading the American League in triples. Minnesota had a lot of minor league outfield depth, but Baddoo is looking more like he can be a contributor for years to come. LaMonte Wade Jr., San Francisco Giants Wade was a ninth-round pick by the Twins in the 2015 MLB Draft and the Twins had used him throughout parts of the 2019 and 2020 season. In those two years, he compiled an 87 OPS+ in 42 games and he looked to have a shot at making the 2021 Twins. The decision came down to picking Wade or Jake Cave as the team’s fourth outfielder. Minnesota was able to trade Wade to the Giants in exchange for Shaun Anderson, who was recently claimed off waivers by the Rangers. It was a deal that couldn’t have gone more poorly for the Twins. In his age-27 season, Wade has found a role with the Giants, the first team to 50 wins this season. Through his first 28 games, he has posted a 136 OPS+ while playing all three outfield positions and first base. Cave compiled a 43 OPS+ in 31 games this year before ending up on the 60-day injured list with a stress reaction in his lower back. Wade is finding big-league success on one of baseball’s best teams while the Twins have been forced to shuffle through a variety of outfielders. Nick Anderson, Tampa Bay Rays Anderson, a Minnesota native, had to work his way into professional baseball after attending college at Mayville State University in North Dakota. The Twins signed him out of independent baseball and used him as a reliever in four different seasons as he topped out at Triple-A. In November 2018, the Twins traded him to the Miami Marlins for Brian Schales and Anderson has pitched at the big-league level ever since that deal. Anderson was a critical piece of the Rays bullpen that drove them to the 2020 World Series. Throughout the 2019-20 seasons, he has combined for a 155 ERA+ with a 0.96 WHIP and 15 SO/9. His 2021 season hasn’t started yet as he recovers from a partial torn ligament in his right elbow. The injury didn’t require surgery and he is supposed to return for the season’s second half. This will be a welcome boost to a Rays club that is fighting for an AL East crown. He would also be a welcome addition to a Twins bullpen that has seen it’s fair share of struggles this season. It’s great to see these players writing their own success story, but it’s too bad those achievements didn’t come in a Twins uniform. Minnesota needs to hang on to players like these that can add to their organizational depth and that process might start with looking in the mirror at their own self-scouting. Do you think the Twins have a self-scouting issue? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  2. There’s no question that successful organizations need to have a strong scouting department. It is the job of this group to find talent at any level and decide if those players are a good fit for an organization. One undervalued scouting skill might be the ability of an organization to evaluate their own talent and decide which pieces are most critical for an organization’s long-term success. Unfortunately, these three players have all found success with other organizations without getting a long look at the big-league level by the Twins. Akil Baddoo, Detroit Tigers Minnesota drafted Baddoo in the second round back in 2016 and he played his first four professional seasons in the organization. Back in 2019, he topped out at High-A where he hit .214/.290/.393 in 29 games. Entering the 2021 season, he didn’t have an at-bat at the Double-A level and the lost 2020 season certainly took away some development time, so the Twins left him unprotected in the Rule 5 Draft. Now, it’s looking like the Twins might have given up on him too soon. Detroit is in rebuild mode so they can afford to take some chances in the Rule 5 Draft, and they were willing to give Baddoo a shot at the big-league level. His hot start to the season was well documented as he had a 1.024 OPS through his first 15 games. He may not be getting the hype he was at season’s start, but he entered play on Monday with a 142 OPS+ while leading the American League in triples. Minnesota had a lot of minor league outfield depth, but Baddoo is looking more like he can be a contributor for years to come. LaMonte Wade Jr., San Francisco Giants Wade was a ninth-round pick by the Twins in the 2015 MLB Draft and the Twins had used him throughout parts of the 2019 and 2020 season. In those two years, he compiled an 87 OPS+ in 42 games and he looked to have a shot at making the 2021 Twins. The decision came down to picking Wade or Jake Cave as the team’s fourth outfielder. Minnesota was able to trade Wade to the Giants in exchange for Shaun Anderson, who was recently claimed off waivers by the Rangers. It was a deal that couldn’t have gone more poorly for the Twins. In his age-27 season, Wade has found a role with the Giants, the first team to 50 wins this season. Through his first 28 games, he has posted a 136 OPS+ while playing all three outfield positions and first base. Cave compiled a 43 OPS+ in 31 games this year before ending up on the 60-day injured list with a stress reaction in his lower back. Wade is finding big-league success on one of baseball’s best teams while the Twins have been forced to shuffle through a variety of outfielders. Nick Anderson, Tampa Bay Rays Anderson, a Minnesota native, had to work his way into professional baseball after attending college at Mayville State University in North Dakota. The Twins signed him out of independent baseball and used him as a reliever in four different seasons as he topped out at Triple-A. In November 2018, the Twins traded him to the Miami Marlins for Brian Schales and Anderson has pitched at the big-league level ever since that deal. Anderson was a critical piece of the Rays bullpen that drove them to the 2020 World Series. Throughout the 2019-20 seasons, he has combined for a 155 ERA+ with a 0.96 WHIP and 15 SO/9. His 2021 season hasn’t started yet as he recovers from a partial torn ligament in his right elbow. The injury didn’t require surgery and he is supposed to return for the season’s second half. This will be a welcome boost to a Rays club that is fighting for an AL East crown. He would also be a welcome addition to a Twins bullpen that has seen it’s fair share of struggles this season. It’s great to see these players writing their own success story, but it’s too bad those achievements didn’t come in a Twins uniform. Minnesota needs to hang on to players like these that can add to their organizational depth and that process might start with looking in the mirror at their own self-scouting. Do you think the Twins have a self-scouting issue? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  3. Something went wrong with Minnesota’s offseason blueprint in 2021. There is plenty of blame to be shared, but here are the Twins top three offseason mistakes. 3. Trusting the Bullpen Castoffs Wes Johnson has done some amazing things with bullpen arms in the past and the Twins entered 2021 thinking that he would be able to replicate these results with a new group of bullpen castoffs. Now it’s the beginning of June and Minnesota has rotated through Shaun Anderson, Derek Law, Juan Minaya, and Brandon Waddell. There were some big shoes to fill in the bullpen (see below), but all these new additions faced struggles. From season’s start, almost nothing seemed to work when it came to the bullpen. It’s also tough to adequately assess relievers when they have such a small sample size of work. It also didn’t help that Randy Dobnak was pushed from the rotation and didn’t really find success in a relief role. One light at the end of the tunnel might be Luke Farrell as he is the lone bullpen castoff that has found success. However, it might be too little, too late for Minnesota this year. 2. Signing Alex Colome Minnesota lost multiple bullpen arms during the winter and there needed to be some replacements found for Tyler Clippard, Trevor May, Sergio Romo, and Matt Wisler. None of these players have shined with their new teams. Clippard is on the 60-day injured list with a shoulder issue. Both Romo and Wisler have ERAs north of 5.80. May’s strikeout numbers have dropped, and he has the highest WHIP since his rookie season. Needless to say, relief pitchers can be fickle especially on the heels of a shortened 2020 campaign. Colome looked like a savvy signing at the time as he was coming off two tremendous seasons in Chicago. In 83 1/3 innings, he had a 2.27 ERA with a 1.03 WHIP and 42 saves. Overall, the results were certainly there since he moved to the bullpen fulltime in 2016. Maybe the White Sox knew a little bit more about Colome’s current situation as they let him go after two tremendous seasons. Minnesota certainly hasn’t seen the previous version of Colome this season. He has a -2.24 win probability added (WPA), which means he’s cost the Twins over two wins so far this season. Also, he has the lowest WAR in baseball among relief pitchers. Things have gone better recently as he has posted a 3.09 ERA with 11 strikeouts in 11 2/3 innings since the start of May. During that stretch, he has still provided negative WPA and it’s not like the Twins have a lot of other bullpen options. 1. Signing Matt Shoemaker The Matt Shoemaker experience has been a rough one and it seems likely that his time with the Twins will quickly be coming to an end. He leads the American League in losses and earned runs. Among AL starters with more than 50 innings pitched, he is the only pitcher with a negative WAR total for the year. Unfortunately, the Twins have six pitchers currently on the IL including starters like Kenta Maeda, Lewis Thorpe, and Devin Smeltzer so the club has to keep him around for depth. Entering the season, he had a 3.86 career ERA, but he had been limited to 18 starts since the end of 2017. His list of injuries including multiple forearm injuries, a torn ACL, shoulder inflammation, and a fractured skull from a line drive off his head. Injuries haven’t been the issue this year as he already pitched more innings than his totals in each of the last three years. It’s not as if a lot was expected from Shoemaker. He was signed for $2 million and was coming of a string of significant injury issues over the last several years. There were signs of hope as his fastball velocity increased last year and his sinker and splitter were improving. Obviously, those things haven’t worked out like the front office had planned. How would you rank the Twins offseason mistakes? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  4. 3. Trusting the Bullpen Castoffs Wes Johnson has done some amazing things with bullpen arms in the past and the Twins entered 2021 thinking that he would be able to replicate these results with a new group of bullpen castoffs. Now it’s the beginning of June and Minnesota has rotated through Shaun Anderson, Derek Law, Juan Minaya, and Brandon Waddell. There were some big shoes to fill in the bullpen (see below), but all these new additions faced struggles. From season’s start, almost nothing seemed to work when it came to the bullpen. It’s also tough to adequately assess relievers when they have such a small sample size of work. It also didn’t help that Randy Dobnak was pushed from the rotation and didn’t really find success in a relief role. One light at the end of the tunnel might be Luke Farrell as he is the lone bullpen castoff that has found success. However, it might be too little, too late for Minnesota this year. 2. Signing Alex Colome Minnesota lost multiple bullpen arms during the winter and there needed to be some replacements found for Tyler Clippard, Trevor May, Sergio Romo, and Matt Wisler. None of these players have shined with their new teams. Clippard is on the 60-day injured list with a shoulder issue. Both Romo and Wisler have ERAs north of 5.80. May’s strikeout numbers have dropped, and he has the highest WHIP since his rookie season. Needless to say, relief pitchers can be fickle especially on the heels of a shortened 2020 campaign. Colome looked like a savvy signing at the time as he was coming off two tremendous seasons in Chicago. In 83 1/3 innings, he had a 2.27 ERA with a 1.03 WHIP and 42 saves. Overall, the results were certainly there since he moved to the bullpen fulltime in 2016. Maybe the White Sox knew a little bit more about Colome’s current situation as they let him go after two tremendous seasons. Minnesota certainly hasn’t seen the previous version of Colome this season. He has a -2.24 win probability added (WPA), which means he’s cost the Twins over two wins so far this season. Also, he has the lowest WAR in baseball among relief pitchers. Things have gone better recently as he has posted a 3.09 ERA with 11 strikeouts in 11 2/3 innings since the start of May. During that stretch, he has still provided negative WPA and it’s not like the Twins have a lot of other bullpen options. 1. Signing Matt Shoemaker The Matt Shoemaker experience has been a rough one and it seems likely that his time with the Twins will quickly be coming to an end. He leads the American League in losses and earned runs. Among AL starters with more than 50 innings pitched, he is the only pitcher with a negative WAR total for the year. Unfortunately, the Twins have six pitchers currently on the IL including starters like Kenta Maeda, Lewis Thorpe, and Devin Smeltzer so the club has to keep him around for depth. Entering the season, he had a 3.86 career ERA, but he had been limited to 18 starts since the end of 2017. His list of injuries including multiple forearm injuries, a torn ACL, shoulder inflammation, and a fractured skull from a line drive off his head. Injuries haven’t been the issue this year as he already pitched more innings than his totals in each of the last three years. It’s not as if a lot was expected from Shoemaker. He was signed for $2 million and was coming of a string of significant injury issues over the last several years. There were signs of hope as his fastball velocity increased last year and his sinker and splitter were improving. Obviously, those things haven’t worked out like the front office had planned. How would you rank the Twins offseason mistakes? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  5. Catchers (2): Mitch Garver, Ryan Jeffers In the initial roster projection, Willians Astudillo was included as a third catcher and bench option for Rocco Baldelli. Things have shifted with other parts of the roster and this made Astudillo the first player dropped from the 26-man roster. Garver and Jeffers will rotate catcher duties and Astudillo can rake in St. Paul until he is needed at the big-league level. Infielders (5): Miguel Sano, Jorge Polanco, Luis Arraez, Josh Donaldson, Andrelton Simmons Little has changed here with all infield positions solidified and Luis Arraez set to shift into a super-utility role. How will Jorge Polanco adjust to second base? Can Josh Donaldson stay healthy? Will Andrelton Simmons help the Twins to have their best defensive team ever? There are still plenty of questions to be answered, but this group looks solid to start on Opening Day. Outfield (4): Jake Cave, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Brent Rooker There’s some talk that the Twins could ignore some of the service time rules and allow Alex Kirilloff to be with the team from season’s start. That is certainly a possibility, but it seems more likely for him to start the year at Triple-A with Jake Cave and Brent Rooker getting outfield at-bats. Byron Buxton bulked up again this winter and Max Kepler might have something to prove in 2021. Designated Hitter (1): Nelson Cruz Cruz is over 40-years old this season and few players have found success after crossing this plateau. Can Cruz join this elite list of players that all made the Hall of Fame? Rotation (5): Kenta Maeda, Jose Berrios, Michael Pineda, J.A. Happ, Matt Shoemaker The biggest change since the first roster projection is Minnesota signed Matt Shoemaker to fill out the fifth spot in the rotation. This pushed Randy Dobnak out of a rotation spot for the time being. After pitchers threw limited innings last year, some teams are considering a six-man rotation to help ease workloads. Dobnak can easily be a fill-in starter or a long reliever to eat innings if another starter has a short outing. Bullpen (9): Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, Alex Colome, Jorge Alcala, Hansel Robles, Caleb Thielbar, Cody Stashak, Randy Dobnak, Shaun Anderson The first seven bullpen spots are relatively set-in stone barring any injuries. This leaves at least one spot available as the team needs to decide if they are going with a 13- or 14-man pitching staff. Last year, teams were limited to 13-pitchers when there were 26-man rosters. That rule has been dropped for 2021, so Minnesota can start the year with a nine-man bullpen to help starters ease back into the workload associated with a full 162-game season. Dobnak moves from the rotation to the bullpen as a long-reliever and Shaun Anderson gets the bump up to the final bullpen spot. Who do you think makes the Opening Day roster? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  6. Jorge Alcala, RHP Alcala has 18 big league games under his belt, but the 2021 season can be an opportunity to prove he belongs in Minnesota’s long-term relief plans. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli already showed confidence in Alcala by using him in the seventh inning or later in every September appearance last season. Minnesota’s bullpen looks different for 2021 and this can allow Alcala to take on an even more important role. When the Twins acquired Alcala, he was still being used as a starter, but his transition to reliever has come with excellent results. Minnesota’s bullpen pecking order will likely fluctuate throughout the 2021 season with players serving in different roles depending on the situation. Can Alcala move up the depth chart throughout the season? Jhoan Duran, RHP Last winter, president of baseball operations Derek Falvey said that he expected Jordan Balazovic and Jhoan Duran to both make their MLB debuts in 2020. Obviously, the shortened season stopped that from happening, but both players seem primed for a debut in 2021. Here at Twins Daily, Duran is the highest ranked pitcher in our annual top-20 prospect list and there is plenty to be excited about when thinking about what he can add to the Twins starting staff. He might be the most exciting starting pitching prospect to come through the Twins system in quite some time. With an electric fastball and improving off-speed offerings, Duran can provide a mid-season boost for the Twins, especially if the White Sox are hot on their tails. The question is, how high is his ceiling? Shaun Anderson, RHP Matt Wisler was a breakout pitcher for the Twins last season after the team brought him in and told him to concentrate even more on throwing his slider. He threw it over 83% of the time and found remarkable success. Minnesota felt comfortable enough with finding a Wisler replacement that they let him walk this winter. This season, Shaun Anderson hopes to follow a similar trajectory as Wisler. In 2020, Anderson threw his slider 53% of the time, so there is certainly room for him to use this pitch on a more consistent basis. However, there is a major difference between Wisler and Anderson as Anderson’s fastball averages 94 mph. He also ranks in the 92nd percentile when it comes to fastball spin. Working with Wes Johnson might allow Anderson to find the right mixture of these two pitches. Alex Kirilloff, OF/1B While Duran moved up our rankings to the number one pitching spot, Kirilloff and Royce Lewis both can make a claim as the team’s top overall prospect. At some point in 2021, he is going to take over as a starting outfielder and the Twins hope he stays there for most of the next decade. Back in 2018, he was one of the best hitting prospects in all of baseball, but the 2019 season saw injuries take a toll. He was able to homer four times in five playoff games that season, so the power potential is there. His hit tool separates him from the crowd as he can spray the ball to all fields. As I have previously written, his minor league spray charts should be hung in a museum. His advanced approach at the plate should help him to transition to the big-league level. Kirilloff avoids swings and misses and he should pencil into the middle of Minnesota’s line-up for years to come. Who do you think will breakout for the Twins in 2021? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  7. Following their flurry of early-February activity, the Twins made a few minor moves on the fringes of the bullpen and bench before wrapping up the rotation with an addition this week. Now, it looks as though their roster is mostly finalized, with just days until pitchers and catchers report for spring training.Here's a look at how the 2021 Minnesota Twins roster and payroll are shaping up, as spring training bears down upon us. Download attachment: twinsroster21521.png The $124 million payroll estimate above is merely a baseline – with reachable performance incentives added in (mainly Kenta Maeda's), the Twins will probably be well north of $130 million. It'd be the highest payroll in franchise history, although they were on track to spend more than $140 million last year before the season was shortened. Are they done? That's not entirely clear. But the 40-man roster is full, and the team is looking pretty complete. Here are some updates and things to watch as we wait for the Lee County Sports Complex to soon spring to life. IF THE SHOEMAKER FITS... The Twins have dropped plenty of hints that they were monitoring the starting pitcher market, seeking a reasonably-priced veteran to come in and compete with Randy Dobnak for the fifth rotation job. On Monday, they got their guy, agreeing to terms with 34-year-old right-hander Matt Shoemaker on a one-year deal worth $2 million. Shoemaker has much to prove on the health front, having thrown just 166 innings combined over the past four years due to various injuries. But as Andrew Thares pointed out ahead of the signing, Shoemaker saw a big spike in velocity last year and there are some signs his pitch mix can be further optimized by the Twins. Plus, the righty ended last year in good shape physically, and even got the nod in Game 1 of the postseason for Toronto last year, firing three shutout innings against the Rays. The presence of a perfectly dependable fallback option in Dobnak gave Minnesota the chance to gamble a bit in their final rotation spot. While some might have liked to see a higher-upside play such as James Paxton (who signed with Seattle last week for $8.5 million), Shoemaker can be a very strong fifth starter if healthy. ROUNDING OUT THE RELIEF CORPS In the days following their big free agency additions of Nelson Cruz and Alex Colomé, the Twins brought in a few more bullpen candidates, acquiring Shaun Anderson via trade and Ian Hamilton via waivers. The latter might already be on his way out, as the Twins designated him for assignment just days after claiming him, making room for Colomé. If another organization snags him, it'll be Hamilton's fourth time switching places since last September. If not, the Twins can keep him around as quality non-roster bullpen depth, alongside fellow waiver pickup Brandon Waddell. As for Anderson, it seems he is here to stay after the Twins acquired him from San Francisco in exchange for outfielder LaMonte Wade Jr. Anderson boasts big stuff – an upper-80s slider and spin-heavy mid-90s fastball – but the challenge for Minnesota lies in helping him command it. I wrote here about a mid-August incident in 2020 where Anderson buzzed Mike Trout's tower three times in one week, leading to some on-field tension and infuriating Angels manager Joe Maddon. If the Twins can help him reign in his intriguing stuff, Anderson could be a big addition to this bullpen. Will he make the Opening Day roster? PROJECTING THE OPENING DAY BULLPEN Last week I was joined by John Bonnes and David Youngs on Offseason Live to break down the bullpen picture and project the Opening Day setup. Together we tried to determine which relievers will be in the mix when the season starts, and what the pecking order might be. Here's where we landed: Taylor RogersTyler DuffeyAlex ColoméHansel RoblesJorge AlcalaCaleb ThielbarCody StashakLewis ThorpeAt that time, we were under then impression that Thorpe was out of minor-league options, giving him an inside track for the long relief role. Dobnak was also still penciled in as the fifth starter. With the revelation coming to light this week – via Aaron Gleeman of The Athletic – that Thorpe will get a rare fourth option year, the Twins are no longer obligated to carry him coming off a bad year. Meanwhile, Dobnak being supplanted from the rotation makes him the ideal fit for a long man/piggy-backing role, with which he's fairly familiar. Thus, we now have Dobnak as the eighth reliever in our roster projection, with Thorpe likely headed to St. Paul. SPICING UP THE OUTFIELD The Twins used another waiver claim last week to add outfielder Kyle Garlick, who effectively replaced the previous week's waiver claim, Hamilton. Garlick infuses helpful corner outfield depth, with Minnesota losing both Eddie Rosario and Marwin González, and his right-handedness adds some nice balance alongside Max Kepler, Alex Kirilloff, Jake Cave, and Trevor Larnach. Garlick hasn't had a ton of success in the majors (.691 OPS in 76 plate appearances), but he has slugged .553 against left-handed pitching, and he slashed .292/.364/.708 versus southpaws at Triple-A in 2019. Given how mightily the Twins struggled in this department last year, the decision to swap out a lefty swinger in Wade for a lefty masher in Garlick makes plenty of sense. Since Garlick has an option, he seems likely to open in Triple-A barring injuries. TWINS DONE MAKING BIG MOVES? The Twins could arguably use further additions in the bullpen, but it sounds unlikely they've got any big bullets left to fire. As Phil Miller reported in the Star Tribune, Derek Falvey indicated the the "heavy lifting is done" after the team committed nearly $40 million to Cruz, Colomé, Andrelton Simmons and J.A. Happ in the span of a few weeks. "We'll have some other conversations about other potential guys as well as nonroster fits and others that will compete. But I feel really good about our pitching right now," Falvey said. Miller understandably inferred this to mean that Jake Odorizzi is basically out of the picture, which seems all the more certain after Shoemaker's signing. The 40-man roster is full and the payroll seems to be essentially maxed out. I'd be surprised if they sign anyone else to a big-league deal. That said, I still fully expect the Twins to bring in a few non-roster relievers. Among the noteworthy names still unsigned: David Robertson, RHPPedro Strop, RHPIan Kennedy, RHPTyler Clippard, RHP,Oliver Drake, RHPBrad Peacock, RHPChaz Roe, RHPBrandon Workman, RHPJeremy Jeffress, RHPA.J. Ramos, RHPCam Bedrosian, RHPNobody on that list has particularly high stock at the moment, obviously, but there are plenty of legitimate names. I'd be thrilled to bring in a few of those guys on non-guaranteed contracts and get a good look at then. I'm sure the Twins would too. But for now, with the preliminary list of non-roster invites announced and the first player player group reporting to camp on Friday, it's time to start getting familiar with the group we have. For the most part, this is probably it, and from my view it's a dang good roster. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  8. Here's a look at how the 2021 Minnesota Twins roster and payroll are shaping up, as spring training bears down upon us. The $124 million payroll estimate above is merely a baseline – with reachable performance incentives added in (mainly Kenta Maeda's), the Twins will probably be well north of $130 million. It'd be the highest payroll in franchise history, although they were on track to spend more than $140 million last year before the season was shortened. Are they done? That's not entirely clear. But the 40-man roster is full, and the team is looking pretty complete. Here are some updates and things to watch as we wait for the Lee County Sports Complex to soon spring to life. IF THE SHOEMAKER FITS... The Twins have dropped plenty of hints that they were monitoring the starting pitcher market, seeking a reasonably-priced veteran to come in and compete with Randy Dobnak for the fifth rotation job. On Monday, they got their guy, agreeing to terms with 34-year-old right-hander Matt Shoemaker on a one-year deal worth $2 million. Shoemaker has much to prove on the health front, having thrown just 166 innings combined over the past four years due to various injuries. But as Andrew Thares pointed out ahead of the signing, Shoemaker saw a big spike in velocity last year and there are some signs his pitch mix can be further optimized by the Twins. Plus, the righty ended last year in good shape physically, and even got the nod in Game 1 of the postseason for Toronto last year, firing three shutout innings against the Rays. The presence of a perfectly dependable fallback option in Dobnak gave Minnesota the chance to gamble a bit in their final rotation spot. While some might have liked to see a higher-upside play such as James Paxton (who signed with Seattle last week for $8.5 million), Shoemaker can be a very strong fifth starter if healthy. ROUNDING OUT THE RELIEF CORPS In the days following their big free agency additions of Nelson Cruz and Alex Colomé, the Twins brought in a few more bullpen candidates, acquiring Shaun Anderson via trade and Ian Hamilton via waivers. The latter might already be on his way out, as the Twins designated him for assignment just days after claiming him, making room for Colomé. If another organization snags him, it'll be Hamilton's fourth time switching places since last September. If not, the Twins can keep him around as quality non-roster bullpen depth, alongside fellow waiver pickup Brandon Waddell. As for Anderson, it seems he is here to stay after the Twins acquired him from San Francisco in exchange for outfielder LaMonte Wade Jr. Anderson boasts big stuff – an upper-80s slider and spin-heavy mid-90s fastball – but the challenge for Minnesota lies in helping him command it. I wrote here about a mid-August incident in 2020 where Anderson buzzed Mike Trout's tower three times in one week, leading to some on-field tension and infuriating Angels manager Joe Maddon. If the Twins can help him reign in his intriguing stuff, Anderson could be a big addition to this bullpen. Will he make the Opening Day roster? PROJECTING THE OPENING DAY BULLPEN Last week I was joined by John Bonnes and David Youngs on Offseason Live to break down the bullpen picture and project the Opening Day setup. Together we tried to determine which relievers will be in the mix when the season starts, and what the pecking order might be. Here's where we landed: Taylor Rogers Tyler Duffey Alex Colomé Hansel Robles Jorge Alcala Caleb Thielbar Cody Stashak Lewis Thorpe At that time, we were under then impression that Thorpe was out of minor-league options, giving him an inside track for the long relief role. Dobnak was also still penciled in as the fifth starter. With the revelation coming to light this week – via Aaron Gleeman of The Athletic – that Thorpe will get a rare fourth option year, the Twins are no longer obligated to carry him coming off a bad year. Meanwhile, Dobnak being supplanted from the rotation makes him the ideal fit for a long man/piggy-backing role, with which he's fairly familiar. Thus, we now have Dobnak as the eighth reliever in our roster projection, with Thorpe likely headed to St. Paul. SPICING UP THE OUTFIELD The Twins used another waiver claim last week to add outfielder Kyle Garlick, who effectively replaced the previous week's waiver claim, Hamilton. Garlick infuses helpful corner outfield depth, with Minnesota losing both Eddie Rosario and Marwin González, and his right-handedness adds some nice balance alongside Max Kepler, Alex Kirilloff, Jake Cave, and Trevor Larnach. Garlick hasn't had a ton of success in the majors (.691 OPS in 76 plate appearances), but he has slugged .553 against left-handed pitching, and he slashed .292/.364/.708 versus southpaws at Triple-A in 2019. Given how mightily the Twins struggled in this department last year, the decision to swap out a lefty swinger in Wade for a lefty masher in Garlick makes plenty of sense. Since Garlick has an option, he seems likely to open in Triple-A barring injuries. TWINS DONE MAKING BIG MOVES? The Twins could arguably use further additions in the bullpen, but it sounds unlikely they've got any big bullets left to fire. As Phil Miller reported in the Star Tribune, Derek Falvey indicated the the "heavy lifting is done" after the team committed nearly $40 million to Cruz, Colomé, Andrelton Simmons and J.A. Happ in the span of a few weeks. "We'll have some other conversations about other potential guys as well as nonroster fits and others that will compete. But I feel really good about our pitching right now," Falvey said. Miller understandably inferred this to mean that Jake Odorizzi is basically out of the picture, which seems all the more certain after Shoemaker's signing. The 40-man roster is full and the payroll seems to be essentially maxed out. I'd be surprised if they sign anyone else to a big-league deal. That said, I still fully expect the Twins to bring in a few non-roster relievers. Among the noteworthy names still unsigned: David Robertson, RHP Pedro Strop, RHP Ian Kennedy, RHP Tyler Clippard, RHP, Oliver Drake, RHP Brad Peacock, RHP Chaz Roe, RHP Brandon Workman, RHP Jeremy Jeffress, RHP A.J. Ramos, RHP Cam Bedrosian, RHP Nobody on that list has particularly high stock at the moment, obviously, but there are plenty of legitimate names. I'd be thrilled to bring in a few of those guys on non-guaranteed contracts and get a good look at then. I'm sure the Twins would too. But for now, with the preliminary list of non-roster invites announced and the first player player group reporting to camp on Friday, it's time to start getting familiar with the group we have. For the most part, this is probably it, and from my view it's a dang good roster. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  9. Anderson is a wild one, and I'm not referring to the long locks pouring out from the back of his baseball cap. In 2020, his first full season (well, "full" season) as a reliever, he issued 12 walks over 15 ⅓ innings, a 7.0 BB/9 average. Obviously it's a ridiculously small sample size, and it doesn't necessarily jibe with his previous track record – he had a 3.6 BB/9 rate in 96 innings as a rookie in 2019, and a 2.3 BB/9 rate in the minors – but the wildness was fully on display last summer and it led to some rather heated moments. In mid-August, the Angels and Giants faced off in back-to-back series at their respective ballparks. On Tuesday night, Anderson entered in the ninth inning with an 8-1 lead. The leadoff man? Mike Trout. Facing the greatest player in the game, Anderson uncorked a pair of mid-90s fastballs that sailed near Trout's head. This one was the second, and it caused a bit of stir, later resulting in Giants manager Gabe Kapler feeling the need to explain afterward: "We don't throw at people. It's not who we are." https://twitter.com/NBCSGiants/status/1295868683550523392 In fairness, the wayward heaters from Anderson did look like pretty clear misfires, and there's not much reason to think he'd be head-hunting a Hall of Famer in his second MLB season. Two days later however, in San Francisco, Anderson faced Trout once again. And once again... drama unfolded: https://twitter.com/NBCSGiants/status/1296671442587852800 This up-and-in fastball from Anderson wasn't quite as close to Trout's helmet, but after what transpired two days earlier, Angels manager Joe Maddon had seen enough. He confronted the umps on the field and later had some harsh words about the Giants reliever. "Enough is enough," Maddon said. "This is the major leagues. There's a level of accountability here also. I don't wanna use the word 'irresponsible' loosely, but in that situation, you pretty much knew it was gonna happen again. And I'm not accusing the guy of doing anything on purpose; I'm just saying he doesn't command his fastball enough in order to know where it's going." Quite the review of Anderson from Maddon there! And it speaks to the main challenge faced by the Twins as they look to work their magic once again. The slider is pretty clearly an overpowering weapon (he threw it 53% of the time last year and held opponents to a .108/.164/.243 with it in a limited sample) but it's not clear he can succeed as a one-trick pony a la Matt Wisler. The fastball has some potential, buzzing in at 94.4 MPH on average and ranking in the 92nd percentile for spin, but Anderson and the Twins are going to need to find a way to rein it in. Luckily, they can be patient. Although Anderson's no spring chicken at age 26, he does have options remaining so the Twins can develop in him in the minors or shuttle him back and forth across 35W as needed. There's something to be unlocked here, and when it comes to this pitcher profile, no team in the majors has proven more adept at turning the key than Minnesota. They've also shown they can help such pitchers succeed in spite of a wild side; Wisler averaged 5.0 BB/9 last year and still posted a 1.07 ERA. In other words, while Shaun Anderson might not be the most glitzy addition, Twins fans should know better by now than to discount it. Maybe keep him out in the pen when the Angels are in town this year, though. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  10. On Thursday night, the Twins traded for their latest relief pitching project in Shaun Anderson, a big sturdy right-hander with a standout slider in the upper-80s. There's much to like, but some barriers to overcome, which are best exemplified by an incident that took place in San Francisco last August.Anderson is a wild one, and I'm not referring to the long locks pouring out from the back of his baseball cap. In 2020, his first full season (well, "full" season) as a reliever, he issued 12 walks over 15 ⅓ innings, a 7.0 BB/9 average. Obviously it's a ridiculously small sample size, and it doesn't necessarily jibe with his previous track record – he had a 3.6 BB/9 rate in 96 innings as a rookie in 2019, and a 2.3 BB/9 rate in the minors – but the wildness was fully on display last summer and it led to some rather heated moments. In mid-August, the Angels and Giants faced off in back-to-back series at their respective ballparks. On Tuesday night, Anderson entered in the ninth inning with an 8-1 lead. The leadoff man? Mike Trout. Facing the greatest player in the game, Anderson uncorked a pair of mid-90s fastballs that sailed near Trout's head. This one was the second, and it caused a bit of stir, later resulting in Giants manager Gabe Kapler feeling the need to explain afterward: "We don't throw at people. It's not who we are." This up-and-in fastball from Anderson wasn't quite as close to Trout's helmet, but after what transpired two days earlier, Angels manager Joe Maddon had seen enough. He confronted the umps on the field and later had some harsh words about the Giants reliever. "Enough is enough," Maddon said. "This is the major leagues. There's a level of accountability here also. I don't wanna use the word 'irresponsible' loosely, but in that situation, you pretty much knew it was gonna happen again. And I'm not accusing the guy of doing anything on purpose; I'm just saying he doesn't command his fastball enough in order to know where it's going." Quite the review of Anderson from Maddon there! And it speaks to the main challenge faced by the Twins as they look to work their magic once again. The slider is pretty clearly an overpowering weapon (he threw it 53% of the time last year and held opponents to a .108/.164/.243 with it in a limited sample) but it's not clear he can succeed as a one-trick pony a la Matt Wisler. The fastball has some potential, buzzing in at 94.4 MPH on average and ranking in the 92nd percentile for spin, but Anderson and the Twins are going to need to find a way to rein it in. Luckily, they can be patient. Although Anderson's no spring chicken at age 26, he does have options remaining so the Twins can develop in him in the minors or shuttle him back and forth across 35W as needed. There's something to be unlocked here, and when it comes to this pitcher profile, no team in the majors has proven more adept at turning the key than Minnesota. They've also shown they can help such pitchers succeed in spite of a wild side; Wisler averaged 5.0 BB/9 last year and still posted a 1.07 ERA. In other words, while Shaun Anderson might not be the most glitzy addition, Twins fans should know better by now than to discount it. Maybe keep him out in the pen when the Angels are in town this year, though. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  11. Shaun Anderson was a third-round draft pick out of the University of Florida by the Red Sox in 2016. He went to San Francisco in the 2017 Eduardo Nunez trade ahead of the deadline. Anderson debuted for the Giants in 2019, making 16 starts and 12 relief appearances with a 5.44 ERA. In 2020, the right-hander moved to a full-time relief role and had more success, with a 3.54 and 18 strikeouts over 15 ⅓ innings, although his 12 walks were concerning. Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing around 230 lbs, the 26-year-old Anderson leans heavily on a high-powered slider (surprise!), which he threw 53% of the time last year. The pitch limited opponents to a .108/.164/.243 slash line. Obviously it's the kind of project the Twins like to take on, and have had success with. The Matt Wisler comparisons are natural enough (especially given that Anderson is coming from the team that just signed Wisler), and it's easy to see a similar scenario playing out here. https://twitter.com/dohyoungpark/status/1357507395547709440 Anderson also throws a fastball in the mid-90s and has mixed in the occasional changeup, although it'd be no surprise if the Twins have him drop the third pitch. He has options, so there's no assurance he'll start on the big-league club. LaMonte Wade Jr. is a very solid player, capable of playing all three outfield positions and bringing exceptional discipline at the plate. Unfortunately he was hopelessly buried on the depth chart in Minnesota, even with Eddie Rosario out of the picture. In San Francisco he figures to get more of an opportunity, and reunite with former Twins farmhand Jaylin Davis. https://twitter.com/SethTweets/status/1357538628663009282 We'll have plenty more information and analysis soon, so be sure to check back. For now, let's hear your initial thoughts and reactions in the comments. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  12. Another day, another move. After agreeing to terms with free agents Nelson Cruz and Alex Colomé on successive days, the Twins struck their first trade of the offseason Thursday. The team announced that it has dealt outfielder LaMonte Wade Jr. to the Giants for right-handed relief pitcher Shaun Anderson.Shaun Anderson was a third-round draft pick out of the University of Florida by the Red Sox in 2016. He went to San Francisco in the 2017 Eduardo Nunez trade ahead of the deadline. Anderson debuted for the Giants in 2019, making 16 starts and 12 relief appearances with a 5.44 ERA. In 2020, the right-hander moved to a full-time relief role and had more success, with a 3.54 and 18 strikeouts over 15 ⅓ innings, although his 12 walks were concerning. Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing around 230 lbs, the 26-year-old Anderson leans heavily on a high-powered slider (surprise!), which he threw 53% of the time last year. The pitch limited opponents to a .108/.164/.243 slash line. Obviously it's the kind of project the Twins like to take on, and have had success with. The Matt Wisler comparisons are natural enough (especially given that Anderson is coming from the team that just signed Wisler), and it's easy to see a similar scenario playing out here. We'll have plenty more information and analysis soon, so be sure to check back. For now, let's hear your initial thoughts and reactions in the comments. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
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