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  1. Joe Ryan joins a unique company with Jose Guzman and Steve Busby as one of only three MLB pitchers to make their sixth career start on Opening Day. Guzman started Opening Day in 1986 for the Texas Rangers, and Steve Busby pitched on Opening Day in 1973 for the Royals. Do their performances from those starts set any realistic expectations for Ryan? Twins manager Rocco Baldelli announced Thursday afternoon that the team's starter for Opening Day will be a rookie righty, Joe Ryan. Ryan, who only made five starts with the Twins in 2021, will become the third Major League pitcher to make his sixth career start on an Opening Day. Both Steve Busby and Juan Guzman pitched eight full seasons in the big leagues. What, if anything, do their histories tell about Ryan's future from an Opening Day standpoint? Ryan's performance with the Twins in September 2021 was very solid. After he returned from pitching in the Olympics in Tokyo for Team USA, he made two starts with the Saints before getting his call up to the Majors on September 1. Ryan is no stranger to pitching on big stages. Ryan's counterpart on the mound will be Seattle Mariners ace and 2021 AL Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray. Ryan's predecessors in this historic start also faced challenging opponents in their Opening Day starts. For Busby in 1973, his Kansas City Royals faced off against strikeout king Nolan Ryan and the California Angels. Guzman and the Texas Rangers were facing the face of a franchise for their Opening Day in 1986, Dave Stieb of the Toronto Blue Jays. On April 6, 1973, Busby's Opening Day performance ended up with a loss for the Royals. Busby pitched 4 1/3 innings before being yanked by Royals manager Jack McKeon. Busby gave up three earned runs on seven hits and a walk. He walked one batter. The Angels ended up not scoring any more runs after Busby was pulled, and even though the Royals scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth against Ryan, it wasn't enough. Ryan threw a complete game and did what Nolan Ryan did best. He struck out 12 batters in the game. Guzman's 1986 Opening Day start looked much different than Busby's. Even facing the reigning AL ERA champ in Stieb, the Rangers' offense scored three runs in the fourth and fifth innings. Stieb was taken out after 4 1/3 innings pitched, and Guzman held the Blue Jays scoreless to that point in the game. Guzman eventually gave up three runs to the Blue Jays in the top of the sixth but powered through the mishap and threw eight innings. Guzman's stat line for his Opening Day start ended with three earned runs on eight hits over eight innings. He struck out three and didn't issue any walks. The Rangers beat the Blue Jays 6-3, giving Guzman his fourth career win in his sixth career start. Like Busby and Guzman, Ryan's mound opponent is an established ace in Robbie Ray. The defending AL Cy Young Award winner will be a formidable opponent to match up against on the mound for Ryan. Still, Baldelli has strong confidence in Ryan to be the guy for the Twins to start their season. So, what can history show Ryan based on the two other pitchers who made their sixth career start on Opening Day? Of course, it tells us nothing. When a sample size is just two, nothing can be learned from those two starts. After a three-week spring training, Ryan shouldn't have any expectations to pitch like his predecessors, certainly not to pitch eight innings like Guzman. Instead, he will create his unique performance against the Mariners that can hopefully lead to a Twins win. It will be a great game nonetheless as the Twins return to the field for 2022 and give fans the first rookie Opening Day starter since Tom Hall in 1969. Get your predictions in. How will Joe Ryan perform in his first Opening Day start (hopefully first of many)? How will the Twins do against Robbie Ray? Leave your comments and predictions below. View full article
  2. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli announced Thursday afternoon that the team's starter for Opening Day will be a rookie righty, Joe Ryan. Ryan, who only made five starts with the Twins in 2021, will become the third Major League pitcher to make his sixth career start on an Opening Day. Both Steve Busby and Juan Guzman pitched eight full seasons in the big leagues. What, if anything, do their histories tell about Ryan's future from an Opening Day standpoint? Ryan's performance with the Twins in September 2021 was very solid. After he returned from pitching in the Olympics in Tokyo for Team USA, he made two starts with the Saints before getting his call up to the Majors on September 1. Ryan is no stranger to pitching on big stages. Ryan's counterpart on the mound will be Seattle Mariners ace and 2021 AL Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray. Ryan's predecessors in this historic start also faced challenging opponents in their Opening Day starts. For Busby in 1973, his Kansas City Royals faced off against strikeout king Nolan Ryan and the California Angels. Guzman and the Texas Rangers were facing the face of a franchise for their Opening Day in 1986, Dave Stieb of the Toronto Blue Jays. On April 6, 1973, Busby's Opening Day performance ended up with a loss for the Royals. Busby pitched 4 1/3 innings before being yanked by Royals manager Jack McKeon. Busby gave up three earned runs on seven hits and a walk. He walked one batter. The Angels ended up not scoring any more runs after Busby was pulled, and even though the Royals scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth against Ryan, it wasn't enough. Ryan threw a complete game and did what Nolan Ryan did best. He struck out 12 batters in the game. Guzman's 1986 Opening Day start looked much different than Busby's. Even facing the reigning AL ERA champ in Stieb, the Rangers' offense scored three runs in the fourth and fifth innings. Stieb was taken out after 4 1/3 innings pitched, and Guzman held the Blue Jays scoreless to that point in the game. Guzman eventually gave up three runs to the Blue Jays in the top of the sixth but powered through the mishap and threw eight innings. Guzman's stat line for his Opening Day start ended with three earned runs on eight hits over eight innings. He struck out three and didn't issue any walks. The Rangers beat the Blue Jays 6-3, giving Guzman his fourth career win in his sixth career start. Like Busby and Guzman, Ryan's mound opponent is an established ace in Robbie Ray. The defending AL Cy Young Award winner will be a formidable opponent to match up against on the mound for Ryan. Still, Baldelli has strong confidence in Ryan to be the guy for the Twins to start their season. So, what can history show Ryan based on the two other pitchers who made their sixth career start on Opening Day? Of course, it tells us nothing. When a sample size is just two, nothing can be learned from those two starts. After a three-week spring training, Ryan shouldn't have any expectations to pitch like his predecessors, certainly not to pitch eight innings like Guzman. Instead, he will create his unique performance against the Mariners that can hopefully lead to a Twins win. It will be a great game nonetheless as the Twins return to the field for 2022 and give fans the first rookie Opening Day starter since Tom Hall in 1969. Get your predictions in. How will Joe Ryan perform in his first Opening Day start (hopefully first of many)? How will the Twins do against Robbie Ray? Leave your comments and predictions below.
  3. Thursday afternoon, Rocco Baldelli announced that Twins rookie right-handed pitcher Joe Ryan will take the mound in game one of the Twins 2022 regular season against the Seattle Mariners. Naming a rookie the Opening-Day starter says many things about the Twins' state. So let’s dive into what this means. Congratulations are in order for the rookie, as it is rare for a pitcher this new to the league to get an opening day start. Ryan getting the nod on opening day shows that the Twins are extremely confident in him, but they also may have a problem with their starting rotation. Thanks for the Memories, Nelson First, who would have thought the return would have been this immense when the Twins dealt Nelson Cruz to the Tampa Bay Rays in July of 2021. Obviously, the Twins received Ryan, who is now an MLB dot com Top-100 prospect, and the Twins' opening-day starter, along with right-handed pitcher Drew Strotman, who is the Twins' 19th-best prospect according to MLB dot com. The Twins traded away 59 games of a designated hitter who hit .226/.283/.442 (.725) with a 96 wRC+ for the Rays. Over that stretch for the Twins, the designated hitter spot hit .244/.353/.463 (.816) with a wRC+ of 124. As crazy as it sounds, the Twins actually upgraded their designated hitter position by trading away Cruz and spreading out designated hitter at-bats. Josh Donaldson (30 starts), Brent Rooker (10 starts), Miguel Sano (6 starts), Jorge Polanco (6 starts), Luis Arraez (4 starts), Mitch Garver (2 starts), and Max Kepler (1 start) all received at-bats in the designated hitter role. This combination of players was more productive for the Twins in the DH role than Cruz was for the Rays. Considering that the Twins upgraded at DH and received their opening-day starter for the following season, this trade looks like a massive win for Derek Falvey and company. Positives Obviously, the Twins giving a rookie a nod on opening day for the first time since Tom Hall in 1969 shows the immense amount of confidence they have in Ryan. Ryan has had a good spring training thus far, throwing five innings, allowing no runs, and striking out six. It has been a minimal sample size, but Ryan has looked very sharp and poised in both starts he has made. Ryan has been a strikeout machine in his professional baseball career despite having below-average velocity. Ryan averaged 13 strikeouts per nine throughout the minor leagues, and his success continued in his five big league starts, striking out 30 batters in 26 2/3 innings. He was 2-1 with a 4.05 ERA, but poor batted-ball luck inflated his ERA. His xERA was 2.99, suggesting that he is better than the 4.05 figure. So how does Ryan have so much success with below-average velocity? Does he throw the majority of his pitches as off-speed pitches? Nope, it's more like the opposite. Of 616 pitchers to throw at least 250 pitches in 2021, Ryan had the 25th highest fastball percentage, throwing a fastball 65.8 percent of the time. For Ryan, it all comes down to deception and movement. Of that same group of pitchers to throw at least 250 pitches in 2021, Ryan had the 33rd most vertical movement on his fastball (18.3 inches). This puts him in the top six percent of pitchers in terms of vertical movement on his fastball. Additionally, Ryan may be so effective because of his unorthodox release point. Ryan has an extremely low release point, as among 555 right-handed pitchers with a four-seam fastball in MLB, Ryan has the 24th lowest average release point (5.05 feet), and nobody with a lower release point than him throws the pitch as frequently as he does. His unorthodox deception and movement make his fastball appear to be rising, making it very tough on hitters. TwinsDaily's own Parker Hageman does a great job of highlighting this below. Between Ryan's strong track record of strikeouts and his unorthodox fastball, there is a reason to believe that he will be a solid contributor to the Twins pitching staff in 2022 and on, making it easy to see why the Twins have so much confidence in him. Negatives Although Ryan is an up-and-coming pitcher for the Twins, it is tough to justify having an inexperienced pitcher be the opening-day starter for a team that wants to contend. A team that signed Carlos Correa to the largest deal ever for an infielder. A team that, as Ted Schwerzler would say, "paid the man" when they extended Byron Buxton for seven years. A team that went out and traded their first-round pick from just last year to acquire Sonny Gray, who most people presumed would take the role of staff ace. It is a little problematic when you realize that Ryan is one of the least experienced pitchers in MLB history to get the opening-day nod for his team. As Twins beat writer Do-Hyoung Park points out, there have only been two other pitchers in MLB history to make an opening-day start within their first six career games, and Joe Ryan is the first one to do it since the disposable camera was invented (1987). I'm as big of a Joe Ryan fan as anyone, but starting him on opening day says more about the Twins' starting rotation than anything. How many other teams would Ryan be the opening day starter for if you look around the league? Five? Less? How many of these teams expect to contend? I would guess that this number is zero. Concluding Thoughts Yes, it may be problematic for the Twins rotation if they see a guy with five career starts as their best starting pitcher going into the year. Fortunately, most people still see Sonny Gray as the staff ace, but Ryan will start on opening day for whatever reason the Twins management and coaching see fit. Although it may be problematic right now, man, will it be fun. There weren't many moments in a disappointing 2021 season that were very memorable, but every start Ryan made was great entertainment. The confidence he exudes is unparalleled among rookies. Maybe a young, confident pitcher is what the Twins need to set the tone for the 2022 season. What do you think? Is Joe Ryan the right choice to start opening day for the Twins? Share your thoughts on this decision in the comments below and start a discussion. Thank you for reading, and Go Twins! View full article
  4. Congratulations are in order for the rookie, as it is rare for a pitcher this new to the league to get an opening day start. Ryan getting the nod on opening day shows that the Twins are extremely confident in him, but they also may have a problem with their starting rotation. Thanks for the Memories, Nelson First, who would have thought the return would have been this immense when the Twins dealt Nelson Cruz to the Tampa Bay Rays in July of 2021. Obviously, the Twins received Ryan, who is now an MLB dot com Top-100 prospect, and the Twins' opening-day starter, along with right-handed pitcher Drew Strotman, who is the Twins' 19th-best prospect according to MLB dot com. The Twins traded away 59 games of a designated hitter who hit .226/.283/.442 (.725) with a 96 wRC+ for the Rays. Over that stretch for the Twins, the designated hitter spot hit .244/.353/.463 (.816) with a wRC+ of 124. As crazy as it sounds, the Twins actually upgraded their designated hitter position by trading away Cruz and spreading out designated hitter at-bats. Josh Donaldson (30 starts), Brent Rooker (10 starts), Miguel Sano (6 starts), Jorge Polanco (6 starts), Luis Arraez (4 starts), Mitch Garver (2 starts), and Max Kepler (1 start) all received at-bats in the designated hitter role. This combination of players was more productive for the Twins in the DH role than Cruz was for the Rays. Considering that the Twins upgraded at DH and received their opening-day starter for the following season, this trade looks like a massive win for Derek Falvey and company. Positives Obviously, the Twins giving a rookie a nod on opening day for the first time since Tom Hall in 1969 shows the immense amount of confidence they have in Ryan. Ryan has had a good spring training thus far, throwing five innings, allowing no runs, and striking out six. It has been a minimal sample size, but Ryan has looked very sharp and poised in both starts he has made. Ryan has been a strikeout machine in his professional baseball career despite having below-average velocity. Ryan averaged 13 strikeouts per nine throughout the minor leagues, and his success continued in his five big league starts, striking out 30 batters in 26 2/3 innings. He was 2-1 with a 4.05 ERA, but poor batted-ball luck inflated his ERA. His xERA was 2.99, suggesting that he is better than the 4.05 figure. So how does Ryan have so much success with below-average velocity? Does he throw the majority of his pitches as off-speed pitches? Nope, it's more like the opposite. Of 616 pitchers to throw at least 250 pitches in 2021, Ryan had the 25th highest fastball percentage, throwing a fastball 65.8 percent of the time. For Ryan, it all comes down to deception and movement. Of that same group of pitchers to throw at least 250 pitches in 2021, Ryan had the 33rd most vertical movement on his fastball (18.3 inches). This puts him in the top six percent of pitchers in terms of vertical movement on his fastball. Additionally, Ryan may be so effective because of his unorthodox release point. Ryan has an extremely low release point, as among 555 right-handed pitchers with a four-seam fastball in MLB, Ryan has the 24th lowest average release point (5.05 feet), and nobody with a lower release point than him throws the pitch as frequently as he does. His unorthodox deception and movement make his fastball appear to be rising, making it very tough on hitters. TwinsDaily's own Parker Hageman does a great job of highlighting this below. Between Ryan's strong track record of strikeouts and his unorthodox fastball, there is a reason to believe that he will be a solid contributor to the Twins pitching staff in 2022 and on, making it easy to see why the Twins have so much confidence in him. Negatives Although Ryan is an up-and-coming pitcher for the Twins, it is tough to justify having an inexperienced pitcher be the opening-day starter for a team that wants to contend. A team that signed Carlos Correa to the largest deal ever for an infielder. A team that, as Ted Schwerzler would say, "paid the man" when they extended Byron Buxton for seven years. A team that went out and traded their first-round pick from just last year to acquire Sonny Gray, who most people presumed would take the role of staff ace. It is a little problematic when you realize that Ryan is one of the least experienced pitchers in MLB history to get the opening-day nod for his team. As Twins beat writer Do-Hyoung Park points out, there have only been two other pitchers in MLB history to make an opening-day start within their first six career games, and Joe Ryan is the first one to do it since the disposable camera was invented (1987). I'm as big of a Joe Ryan fan as anyone, but starting him on opening day says more about the Twins' starting rotation than anything. How many other teams would Ryan be the opening day starter for if you look around the league? Five? Less? How many of these teams expect to contend? I would guess that this number is zero. Concluding Thoughts Yes, it may be problematic for the Twins rotation if they see a guy with five career starts as their best starting pitcher going into the year. Fortunately, most people still see Sonny Gray as the staff ace, but Ryan will start on opening day for whatever reason the Twins management and coaching see fit. Although it may be problematic right now, man, will it be fun. There weren't many moments in a disappointing 2021 season that were very memorable, but every start Ryan made was great entertainment. The confidence he exudes is unparalleled among rookies. Maybe a young, confident pitcher is what the Twins need to set the tone for the 2022 season. What do you think? Is Joe Ryan the right choice to start opening day for the Twins? Share your thoughts on this decision in the comments below and start a discussion. Thank you for reading, and Go Twins!
  5. They were the young saplings, mere waifs on the hill for the Twins, but still announcing their presence with authority. It's a Jose Berrios & Dominating Starts By Young Twins Pitchers post at Classic Minnesota Twins. The fascinating eye-candy GIF of Jose waxing on Carlos Gonzalez on May 18, 2017 is worth the price of a visit, as well as the thought-provoking BBRef game-finder table serving as further proof of just HOW amazing young Blyleven was at a young age. Enough of my bull, the rest is yours...with thanks to Gleeman for putting me onto to the search itself.
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