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  1. The Twins have seen a trio of talented outfielders move through the farm system in recent years. After a rough 2022 season, what does the future hold for these young players? Image courtesy of Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach both made top-100 prospect lists on their way to the big leagues. Minnesota expected both players to be in the middle of the order for the next decade. Over the last 12 months, Matt Wallner has put himself on the prospect map, and he may have altered the team’s future outfield outlook. Alex Kirilloff 2022 Stats (45 G): .250/.290/.361 (.651), 7 2B, 3 HR, 36 K, 5 BB Kirilloff’s 2022 season was plagued by a wrist injury that eventually required surgery. Each of his first two seasons has been cut short because of a wrist injury. His wrist surgery this season is unique in the fact that they are shortening his ulna, which is something that few MLB players have had done. Kirilloff showed signs of being able to play through the injury as he dominated at Triple-A with a 1.106 OPS in 35 games. Eventually, he wasn’t able to play through the injury. "Any time you're talking about shaving a bone down or shortening a bone, I mean that's a substantial procedure," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "But we're hopeful that by getting it done now gives us a chance to use the offseason to get right, to start swinging the bat again, to feel good and to start getting ready for next year." Minnesota hopes Kirilloff is ready for the start of spring training, but there is no guarantee with this type of surgery. Out of these players, Kirilloff was seen as the best prospect, because Baseball America and MLB.com had him in their top-15 prospects leading into the 2019 campaign. Entering his age-25 season, questions will continue to follow him regarding his wrist and whether or not he can get his career back on track. Trevor Larnach 2022 Stats (51 G): .231/.306/.406 (.712), 13 2B, 5 HR, 57 K, 18 BB Like Kirilloff, injuries have impacted Larnach’s first two seasons in the majors. Last year, he posted an .806 OPS through his first 50 games, but things went south. His OPS dropped to .672 before the team eventually demoted him to Triple-A. He eventually revealed that a hand injury had bothered him through part of the season. Larnach started the 2022 season well and was one of the team’s best hitters during May as he posted a 1.077 OPS. By the end of June, his performance had suffered and the team announced he’d undergo a bilateral surgical repair to treat the core muscle strain. At the time, the team announced that he’d need about 6-8 weeks before returning, but he learned that he needed more time to recover. “You learn really quick that that’s not really even reasonable, especially for a professional athlete trying to play at their highest level,” Larnach said. “It wasn’t really relevant to me. I had to take a step back to look at what I needed to do to feel really good. I did that, and I learned a lot from it." During his rehab with the Saints, Larnach suffered a wrist injury that will end his season. He seemed close to returning, so this is likely a frustrating end for the 24-year-old. He has been limited to 130 games in his first two seasons, and injuries have stopped him from producing like he did in the minors. Matt Wallner 2022 Stats (AA/AAA 128 G): .277/.412/.542 (.953), 32 2B, 4 3B, 27 HR, 170 K, 97 BB Unlike Larnach and Kirilloff, Wallner is coming off a tremendous season where he played well in the upper minors and made his big-league debut. In 128 minor league games, Wallner posted a .953 OPS on his way to being named the Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Year. Kirilloff (2018) and Larnach (2019) were both previous winners of this award, but Wallner’s stock is on the rise. He’s seen limited action at the big-league level, but he has been on base over 30% of the time and three of his eight hits have been for extra bases. Wallner used last year’s Arizona Fall League to make adjustments for the 2022 season. “It’s just cool to bounce ideas off different guys and strategies that they have going into the game, at the plate, in the field, whatever,” Wallner said during last year’s AFL. “I’ve definitely learned a lot since I’ve been out here, even in a short six weeks. So, it’s definitely been good for me.” All three outfielders will be entering their age-25 season in 2023. Kirilloff and Larnach were seen as better prospects in the minors with both making top-100 lists before debuting. Now, Wallner may have passed them by, especially with the injury concerns facing the other two outfielders. There's no question that Minnesota’s future line-up is better with all three bats being healthy and hitting in the middle of the order. Do you think Wallner has passed Kirilloff and Larnach this season? Will all three players be able to stay healthy in 2023? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  2. Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach both made top-100 prospect lists on their way to the big leagues. Minnesota expected both players to be in the middle of the order for the next decade. Over the last 12 months, Matt Wallner has put himself on the prospect map, and he may have altered the team’s future outfield outlook. Alex Kirilloff 2022 Stats (45 G): .250/.290/.361 (.651), 7 2B, 3 HR, 36 K, 5 BB Kirilloff’s 2022 season was plagued by a wrist injury that eventually required surgery. Each of his first two seasons has been cut short because of a wrist injury. His wrist surgery this season is unique in the fact that they are shortening his ulna, which is something that few MLB players have had done. Kirilloff showed signs of being able to play through the injury as he dominated at Triple-A with a 1.106 OPS in 35 games. Eventually, he wasn’t able to play through the injury. "Any time you're talking about shaving a bone down or shortening a bone, I mean that's a substantial procedure," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "But we're hopeful that by getting it done now gives us a chance to use the offseason to get right, to start swinging the bat again, to feel good and to start getting ready for next year." Minnesota hopes Kirilloff is ready for the start of spring training, but there is no guarantee with this type of surgery. Out of these players, Kirilloff was seen as the best prospect, because Baseball America and MLB.com had him in their top-15 prospects leading into the 2019 campaign. Entering his age-25 season, questions will continue to follow him regarding his wrist and whether or not he can get his career back on track. Trevor Larnach 2022 Stats (51 G): .231/.306/.406 (.712), 13 2B, 5 HR, 57 K, 18 BB Like Kirilloff, injuries have impacted Larnach’s first two seasons in the majors. Last year, he posted an .806 OPS through his first 50 games, but things went south. His OPS dropped to .672 before the team eventually demoted him to Triple-A. He eventually revealed that a hand injury had bothered him through part of the season. Larnach started the 2022 season well and was one of the team’s best hitters during May as he posted a 1.077 OPS. By the end of June, his performance had suffered and the team announced he’d undergo a bilateral surgical repair to treat the core muscle strain. At the time, the team announced that he’d need about 6-8 weeks before returning, but he learned that he needed more time to recover. “You learn really quick that that’s not really even reasonable, especially for a professional athlete trying to play at their highest level,” Larnach said. “It wasn’t really relevant to me. I had to take a step back to look at what I needed to do to feel really good. I did that, and I learned a lot from it." During his rehab with the Saints, Larnach suffered a wrist injury that will end his season. He seemed close to returning, so this is likely a frustrating end for the 24-year-old. He has been limited to 130 games in his first two seasons, and injuries have stopped him from producing like he did in the minors. Matt Wallner 2022 Stats (AA/AAA 128 G): .277/.412/.542 (.953), 32 2B, 4 3B, 27 HR, 170 K, 97 BB Unlike Larnach and Kirilloff, Wallner is coming off a tremendous season where he played well in the upper minors and made his big-league debut. In 128 minor league games, Wallner posted a .953 OPS on his way to being named the Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Year. Kirilloff (2018) and Larnach (2019) were both previous winners of this award, but Wallner’s stock is on the rise. He’s seen limited action at the big-league level, but he has been on base over 30% of the time and three of his eight hits have been for extra bases. Wallner used last year’s Arizona Fall League to make adjustments for the 2022 season. “It’s just cool to bounce ideas off different guys and strategies that they have going into the game, at the plate, in the field, whatever,” Wallner said during last year’s AFL. “I’ve definitely learned a lot since I’ve been out here, even in a short six weeks. So, it’s definitely been good for me.” All three outfielders will be entering their age-25 season in 2023. Kirilloff and Larnach were seen as better prospects in the minors with both making top-100 lists before debuting. Now, Wallner may have passed them by, especially with the injury concerns facing the other two outfielders. There's no question that Minnesota’s future line-up is better with all three bats being healthy and hitting in the middle of the order. Do you think Wallner has passed Kirilloff and Larnach this season? Will all three players be able to stay healthy in 2023? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  3. After winning Game 1 of their postseason series last night, the Wichita Wind Surge were traveling on Wednesday. That left the St. Paul Saints as the only affiliate in action, and unfortunately, they fell short on the road. TRANSACTIONS RHP Austin Schulfer placed on 7-day concussion IL by St. Paul C David Banuelos activated from 7-day concussion IL by St. Paul SAINTS SENTINEL Indianapolis 7, St. Paul 1 Box Score Jordan Balazovic drew the start today for St. Paul and was chased after three innings. He allowed five runs on six hits while striking out four. Balazovic did give up a walk and was burned by two homers. A five-run 3rd inning by Indianapolis put St. Paul in a bad spot early. They gave up two more in the 6th inning and before recording their first run, the Saints were staring at a seven-run deficit. Ryan Jeffers, still working his way back on a Major League rehab assignment, hit a homer in the 8th inning to make sure the Saints wouldn’t be shut out. Trevor Larnach, also rehabbing, went 1-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout as the designated hitter. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Melvi Acosta (St. Paul) - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K Hitter of the Day – Chris Williams (St. Paul) - 1-2, 2 BB PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #9 - Matt Wallner (Minnesota) - Twins Play Wednesday night in Kansas City. #11 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - 3.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 4 K THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Indianapolis (6:05PM CST) - RHP Randy Dobnak Wichita @ Tulsa (7:05PM CST) - RHP Daniel Gossett Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Wednesday’s games! Twins Daily Short Season Pitcher of the Year Twins Daily Short Season Hitter of the Year View full article
  4. TRANSACTIONS RHP Austin Schulfer placed on 7-day concussion IL by St. Paul C David Banuelos activated from 7-day concussion IL by St. Paul SAINTS SENTINEL Indianapolis 7, St. Paul 1 Box Score Jordan Balazovic drew the start today for St. Paul and was chased after three innings. He allowed five runs on six hits while striking out four. Balazovic did give up a walk and was burned by two homers. A five-run 3rd inning by Indianapolis put St. Paul in a bad spot early. They gave up two more in the 6th inning and before recording their first run, the Saints were staring at a seven-run deficit. Ryan Jeffers, still working his way back on a Major League rehab assignment, hit a homer in the 8th inning to make sure the Saints wouldn’t be shut out. Trevor Larnach, also rehabbing, went 1-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout as the designated hitter. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day – Melvi Acosta (St. Paul) - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K Hitter of the Day – Chris Williams (St. Paul) - 1-2, 2 BB PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the current Twins Daily Top 20 performed: #9 - Matt Wallner (Minnesota) - Twins Play Wednesday night in Kansas City. #11 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - 3.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 4 K THURSDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Indianapolis (6:05PM CST) - RHP Randy Dobnak Wichita @ Tulsa (7:05PM CST) - RHP Daniel Gossett Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Wednesday’s games! Twins Daily Short Season Pitcher of the Year Twins Daily Short Season Hitter of the Year
  5. When the regular season eventually expires on the 2022 Major League Baseball season, the Minnesota Twins will start preparing for 2023. While a postseason opportunity was once a possibility, making it a reality in the year ahead becomes the new goal. How much certainty should there be regarding the roster next season? Image courtesy of David Richard-USA TODAY Sports You could certainly argue the Minnesota Twins were hoping for better in 2022. Obviously, you don’t sign someone like Carlos Correa with the intention that he doesn’t wind up playing postseason baseball. However, virtually every move made by Derek Falvey and Thad Levine this year set up an opportunity for those players to impact outcomes in 2023 as well. As things stand, operating on a handful of assumptions, the Twins should have something like $100 million to spend in the offseason. They put forth a franchise-record payroll in 2022, but that was less about an indication they were going for it, than it was a response to inflation and simply keeping up with the market. Next season the dollars should check in somewhere between $140-160 million based on incentives and complete operating expenses to acquire talent. Minnesota also has a significant amount of the active roster penciled in as potential fits. While it wasn’t able to be as nuanced through a tweet, suggesting that the Twins are a shortstop and bullpen help from rounding out their roster holds some weight. Sure, they would absolutely benefit from a starting pitching acquisition. The problem is they have four guys that are all already givens, while being very good options. Any addition would need to be at the level of Kenta Maeda and Sonny Gray or better. There aren’t a ton of those out there, and you’d be hard-pressed to suggest a Dylan Bundy or Chris Archer type of signing being understandable. Maybe another bat would help, but you also have to figure out where they’ll get regular at-bats. Rocco Baldelli has been afforded lineup flexibility without a static designated hitter this season. The outfield returns Byron Buxton, Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, Gilberto Celestino, Nick Gordon, Max Kepler, and Matt Wallner. At least a few of those players are entrenched in a long-term role here, and while you may make a move, the youth is full of high hopes and expectations. On the infield, you aren’t likely going to see Jorge Polanco, Jose Miranda or Luis Arraez jettisoned. The hope would be that Royce Lewis can return quickly (July?). Gio Urshela may be a non-tender candidate, but that’s a decision for the front office. Behind the plate, there’ll be an expectation for Ryan Jeffers to fulfill the belief in him, but he will need a backup. Through a quick roster rundown, it becomes pretty apparent that shortstop and bullpen help are the biggest areas of opportunity for Minnesota. Filling the hole left by Carlos Correa will be a massive task should he not return. The Twins made the relief unit better by adding Jorge Lopez at the trade deadline, and they should get Jorge Alcala back in 2023. Maybe Cody Stashak can be a weapon again, but either way, that unit needs some more horses. Before even considering names to fill the spots, it should be relatively straightforward to suggest that Minnesota has plenty of resources to round out a roster not needing a ton of help. If the 2022 Twins were marred by injuries and ineffectiveness on the edges, then raising the water level where there were deficiencies and spending to fill holes is a pretty fair suggestion. The AL Central shouldn’t be expected to take a massive leap ahead in the next year, and once again, Minnesota can position themselves to be right in the thick of it. View full article
  6. Trevor Larnach’s second half of the season will likely be a wash for the second consecutive year. In a season in which he could have established himself, he’s been missing again. Can the Twins rely on him moving forward? Image courtesy of Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports 2021 and 2022 held a lot of similarities for Trevor Larnach. In both cases, he burst onto the scene showing a glimpse of the lineup-changing hitter he’s capable of being. Unfortunately in both cases he tailed off in his production only for an injury to eventually come out as the main cause. So what do we think of Larnach moving forward? In 2021 Larnach began his season with a .845 OPS in May before the league adjusted. He posted a .704 mark in June and a brutal .518 in July. He would finish the season in St. Paul eventually being shut down with a hand issue, an injury that turned out to be nagging him for longer than Twins fans had known about. In 2022 Larnach looked even more encouraging. In March and April, Larnach posted a modest .703 OPS, actually above average for the offensive environment at the time. Then in May he posted an absurd 1.077 OPS. In addition to his hitting, his brief time in the majors was enough for teams to stop running on him in the outfield, as his throwing arm became a weapon against runners trying to get an extra base. Once again, however, he faded off in a huge way, posting an OPS of .429 in June before getting shut down at the end of the month for a core muscle injury he had been dealing with for the entire month. His timeline was 6-8 weeks putting him at a mid to late August return. At the time of this writing in mid-September, however, Larnach is finally making his first rehab appearance in the minors. With the calendar dwindling, it's likely at this point that Larnach’s 2022 season has come to an end, but he finishes with a modest .231/.306/.406 batting line which was heavily weighed down by a brutal final month. His 1.1 Wins Above Replacement in just 51 games played alludes to the possibility of an everyday regular in the lineup moving forward. But can we trust Larnach to fill such a role? The first concern at this point has to be health. Larnach has failed to reach 100 games played in each of the last two seasons due to injury. The hand contusion in 2021 may have been a fluke, but 2022's core muscle injury that cost him half the season is more of a concern. Larnach relies on such muscles for every swing he takes, every route to a fly ball he runs, and every rocket he throws into a base. The delay on his return alludes to the Twins making sure he’s at as little risk of aggravating this injury as possible. Headed into 2023 we have to hope it pays off. The second concern is whether Larnach can consistently channel his talent into on-field production. While injury has hampered his numbers to an extent these last two years, it’s easy to be concerned about him long-term given his swing-and-miss tendencies. Easily the biggest knock on his offensive profile, his incredible power and fantastic eye at the plate can easily be outweighed if he fails to make contact with pitches in the strike zone as we’ve seen at times in his young career. It would be nice if Larnach was more of a known commodity after two years of MLB exposure, especially given the murky futures of fellow top prospects Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff. Of the three, Larnach appears to be the most stable however due not only to the flashes of offensive and defensive value, but because of the nature of the injuries that have ended each of their seasons. Headed into 2023 it’s hard to be 100% confident in Larnach, but there has to be some hope that he can be the Opening Day left fielder and hold onto the job for the next 4-5 years. He’s shown a tremendous ceiling but he doesn’t have to reach it to be a valuable player. Max Kepler has spent the last three years providing league average offense at best and has still added value because of his defense. Larnach’s 2022 should provide hope that he can at the very least do the same while providing a much more balanced offensive profile aside from the strikeouts. Certainly, we have to be disappointed with Larnach’s 2022, but like most disappointing seasons, there are some redeeming qualities. Headed into 2023 it’s hard to argue against handing Larnach the keys to a starting job and seeing if it’s finally the year that it comes together. The Twins don’t have any immediate alternative options and it’s safe to say that if they want to prioritize replacing any outfielder, it should be the aforementioned Max Kepler. Larnach should be given another chance to make himself a piece of the Twins future. Do you agree? View full article
  7. You could certainly argue the Minnesota Twins were hoping for better in 2022. Obviously, you don’t sign someone like Carlos Correa with the intention that he doesn’t wind up playing postseason baseball. However, virtually every move made by Derek Falvey and Thad Levine this year set up an opportunity for those players to impact outcomes in 2023 as well. As things stand, operating on a handful of assumptions, the Twins should have something like $100 million to spend in the offseason. They put forth a franchise-record payroll in 2022, but that was less about an indication they were going for it, than it was a response to inflation and simply keeping up with the market. Next season the dollars should check in somewhere between $140-160 million based on incentives and complete operating expenses to acquire talent. Minnesota also has a significant amount of the active roster penciled in as potential fits. While it wasn’t able to be as nuanced through a tweet, suggesting that the Twins are a shortstop and bullpen help from rounding out their roster holds some weight. Sure, they would absolutely benefit from a starting pitching acquisition. The problem is they have four guys that are all already givens, while being very good options. Any addition would need to be at the level of Kenta Maeda and Sonny Gray or better. There aren’t a ton of those out there, and you’d be hard-pressed to suggest a Dylan Bundy or Chris Archer type of signing being understandable. Maybe another bat would help, but you also have to figure out where they’ll get regular at-bats. Rocco Baldelli has been afforded lineup flexibility without a static designated hitter this season. The outfield returns Byron Buxton, Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, Gilberto Celestino, Nick Gordon, Max Kepler, and Matt Wallner. At least a few of those players are entrenched in a long-term role here, and while you may make a move, the youth is full of high hopes and expectations. On the infield, you aren’t likely going to see Jorge Polanco, Jose Miranda or Luis Arraez jettisoned. The hope would be that Royce Lewis can return quickly (July?). Gio Urshela may be a non-tender candidate, but that’s a decision for the front office. Behind the plate, there’ll be an expectation for Ryan Jeffers to fulfill the belief in him, but he will need a backup. Through a quick roster rundown, it becomes pretty apparent that shortstop and bullpen help are the biggest areas of opportunity for Minnesota. Filling the hole left by Carlos Correa will be a massive task should he not return. The Twins made the relief unit better by adding Jorge Lopez at the trade deadline, and they should get Jorge Alcala back in 2023. Maybe Cody Stashak can be a weapon again, but either way, that unit needs some more horses. Before even considering names to fill the spots, it should be relatively straightforward to suggest that Minnesota has plenty of resources to round out a roster not needing a ton of help. If the 2022 Twins were marred by injuries and ineffectiveness on the edges, then raising the water level where there were deficiencies and spending to fill holes is a pretty fair suggestion. The AL Central shouldn’t be expected to take a massive leap ahead in the next year, and once again, Minnesota can position themselves to be right in the thick of it.
  8. Oh, and the Mighty Mussels lost in the playoffs, but that doesn't get the clicks. Image courtesy of Rob Thompson, St. Paul Saints TRANSACTIONS INF Brooks Lee promoted to Wichita C Dillon Datum placed on development list (Wichita) INF Wander Javier promoted to St. Paul INF Jake Rucker promoted to St. Paul C Roy Morales activated from IL (St. Paul) OF Matt Wallner contract selected by Minnesota RHP Louie Varland recalled by Minnesota (29th man) RHP Drew Strotman designated for assignment RHP Trevor Megill placed on COVID-IL list RHP Dereck Rodriguez contract selected from St. Paul. Saints Sentinel St. Paul 4, Louisville 3 Box Score Randy Dobnak: 4 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K HR: Jake Rucker (1) Multi-hit games: Jake Rucker (2-for-3, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI), Dalton Shuffield (2-for-3) St. Paul won on a walk-off Saturday. The new guys made bold impressions; Jake Rucker announced his presence with a two-run homer, while Wander Javier singled in a run in the 5th inning. With a runner on third in the 9th, Rucker connected with a fly-ball sent deep enough to score the winning run. Randy Dobnak—making his first start since his recent DFA—was erratic, walking three batters in a rust-filled outing. The sinkerballer still struck out four and didn’t allow a run—perhaps proving he still has something in the tank—but the Twins will likely desire to see more command in future starts. Trevor Larnach started in left field and played seven innings. Mike Siani—the Bats’ centerfielder and lead-off man—is the team’s best prospect; he homered and singled in five at-bats. Longtime major-leaguer, Stephen Piscotty, hit 6th for the Bats and DH’d. Wind Surge Wisdom Game One: Wichita 3, Midland 4 Box Score Cody Laweryson: 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K HR: Alex Isola (10) Multi-hit games: Alex Isola (2-for-4, HR, 2 R, RBI) Wichita lost the first game of their doubleheader on Saturday. Cody Laweryson pitched effectively—although not dominantly—in his five innings of work, striking out five batters while allowing two runs. His Wichita ERA sits at 1.06. Alex Isola spearheaded the offensive performance; the catcher homered and singled, netting two runs in an otherwise dry day for Wind Surge batters. Anthony Prato’s 2nd inning double was the only other extra-base hit in the game. The issue? Wichita grounded into three double plays in the game; Yunior Severino accounted for two of them. Tyler Soderstrom is Midland’s top prospect according to MLB.com. The first baseman singled twice in three at-bats. Game Two: Wichita 1, Midland 9 Box Score Osiris German: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K HR: None Multi-hit games: None Wichita lost a clunker in game two on Saturday. Midland sandwiched a one-run 4th inning with four-run frames before and afterward, ensuring that Wichita would face an uphill battle in their attempt to win; Hunter McMahon and Michael Boyle walked away with battered ERAs. The lone offensive bright spot came when Austin Martin doubled home a run in the 6th inning, but—fitting for a game like this—Midland threw him out trying to stretch the play to a triple. Brooks Lee went hitless with a strikeout in three at-bats during his AA debut. Soderstrom improved off his first game, homering and driving in three to cement his prospect status. Mussel Matters Fort Myers 1, Dunedin 3 Box Score Jordan Carr: 2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Tanner Schobel (2-for-4, RBI) Fort Myers lost on Saturday, ending their playoff run in the opening round. All arms were on deck; Fort Myers called upon four pitchers to help lead them, and their combined effort was impressive. Andrew Morris—a 2022 draft pick—lead the way with a trio of scoreless innings, holding the Blue Jays at bay during the crucial switch from the middle innings to the late frames. The staff allowed a high hit total—11, to be precise—but only three runs. The Achilles heel proved to be the offense, as the bats mustered just four hits in the match; Tanner Schobel alone accounted for half of them. Without an extra-base hit, the team could plate only a single run, forcing the pitchers to be perfect, which they were not. The Mighty Mussels’ season is now over. Josh Kasevich and Cade Doughty are Dunedin’s top prospects according to MLB.com; Doughty singled twice and both hitters nabbed an RBI. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Randy Dobnak Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Jake Rucker PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #2 - Brooks Lee (Wichita) - 0-3, K #4 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-6, 2B, RBI #7 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 0-4 #9 - Matt Wallner (Minnesota) - 1-3, HR, R, RBI, K (Major League debut) #12 - Louie Varland (Minnesota) - 5 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K #14 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-5, BB, K #15 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - 1 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 0 K #17 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - 2 ⅔ IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K #18 - Tanner Schobel (Ft. Myers) - 2-for-4, RBI #20 - Kala’i Rosario (Ft. Myers) - 1-4, K SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Louisville @ St. Paul (12:07 PM) - RHP Ronny Henriquez Wichita @ Midland (2:00 PM) - LHP Kody Funderburk View full article
  9. TRANSACTIONS INF Brooks Lee promoted to Wichita C Dillon Datum placed on development list (Wichita) INF Wander Javier promoted to St. Paul INF Jake Rucker promoted to St. Paul C Roy Morales activated from IL (St. Paul) OF Matt Wallner contract selected by Minnesota RHP Louie Varland recalled by Minnesota (29th man) RHP Drew Strotman designated for assignment RHP Trevor Megill placed on COVID-IL list RHP Dereck Rodriguez contract selected from St. Paul. Saints Sentinel St. Paul 4, Louisville 3 Box Score Randy Dobnak: 4 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K HR: Jake Rucker (1) Multi-hit games: Jake Rucker (2-for-3, HR, 2 R, 3 RBI), Dalton Shuffield (2-for-3) St. Paul won on a walk-off Saturday. The new guys made bold impressions; Jake Rucker announced his presence with a two-run homer, while Wander Javier singled in a run in the 5th inning. With a runner on third in the 9th, Rucker connected with a fly-ball sent deep enough to score the winning run. Randy Dobnak—making his first start since his recent DFA—was erratic, walking three batters in a rust-filled outing. The sinkerballer still struck out four and didn’t allow a run—perhaps proving he still has something in the tank—but the Twins will likely desire to see more command in future starts. Trevor Larnach started in left field and played seven innings. Mike Siani—the Bats’ centerfielder and lead-off man—is the team’s best prospect; he homered and singled in five at-bats. Longtime major-leaguer, Stephen Piscotty, hit 6th for the Bats and DH’d. Wind Surge Wisdom Game One: Wichita 3, Midland 4 Box Score Cody Laweryson: 5 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K HR: Alex Isola (10) Multi-hit games: Alex Isola (2-for-4, HR, 2 R, RBI) Wichita lost the first game of their doubleheader on Saturday. Cody Laweryson pitched effectively—although not dominantly—in his five innings of work, striking out five batters while allowing two runs. His Wichita ERA sits at 1.06. Alex Isola spearheaded the offensive performance; the catcher homered and singled, netting two runs in an otherwise dry day for Wind Surge batters. Anthony Prato’s 2nd inning double was the only other extra-base hit in the game. The issue? Wichita grounded into three double plays in the game; Yunior Severino accounted for two of them. Tyler Soderstrom is Midland’s top prospect according to MLB.com. The first baseman singled twice in three at-bats. Game Two: Wichita 1, Midland 9 Box Score Osiris German: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K HR: None Multi-hit games: None Wichita lost a clunker in game two on Saturday. Midland sandwiched a one-run 4th inning with four-run frames before and afterward, ensuring that Wichita would face an uphill battle in their attempt to win; Hunter McMahon and Michael Boyle walked away with battered ERAs. The lone offensive bright spot came when Austin Martin doubled home a run in the 6th inning, but—fitting for a game like this—Midland threw him out trying to stretch the play to a triple. Brooks Lee went hitless with a strikeout in three at-bats during his AA debut. Soderstrom improved off his first game, homering and driving in three to cement his prospect status. Mussel Matters Fort Myers 1, Dunedin 3 Box Score Jordan Carr: 2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Tanner Schobel (2-for-4, RBI) Fort Myers lost on Saturday, ending their playoff run in the opening round. All arms were on deck; Fort Myers called upon four pitchers to help lead them, and their combined effort was impressive. Andrew Morris—a 2022 draft pick—lead the way with a trio of scoreless innings, holding the Blue Jays at bay during the crucial switch from the middle innings to the late frames. The staff allowed a high hit total—11, to be precise—but only three runs. The Achilles heel proved to be the offense, as the bats mustered just four hits in the match; Tanner Schobel alone accounted for half of them. Without an extra-base hit, the team could plate only a single run, forcing the pitchers to be perfect, which they were not. The Mighty Mussels’ season is now over. Josh Kasevich and Cade Doughty are Dunedin’s top prospects according to MLB.com; Doughty singled twice and both hitters nabbed an RBI. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Randy Dobnak Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Jake Rucker PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #2 - Brooks Lee (Wichita) - 0-3, K #4 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-6, 2B, RBI #7 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 0-4 #9 - Matt Wallner (Minnesota) - 1-3, HR, R, RBI, K (Major League debut) #12 - Louie Varland (Minnesota) - 5 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K #14 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 1-5, BB, K #15 - Blayne Enlow (Wichita) - 1 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 0 K #17 - Cole Sands (St. Paul) - 2 ⅔ IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K #18 - Tanner Schobel (Ft. Myers) - 2-for-4, RBI #20 - Kala’i Rosario (Ft. Myers) - 1-4, K SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Louisville @ St. Paul (12:07 PM) - RHP Ronny Henriquez Wichita @ Midland (2:00 PM) - LHP Kody Funderburk
  10. Making a rehab appearance for the Triple-A St. Paul Saints tonight, Jorge Polanco started the game at second base. Although the Minnesota Twins are playing what amounts to their most important series of the season this weekend, Polanco’s return to action did not come in Cleveland. Immediately in the first inning, a Louisville Bats hitter put the first ball of the game in play right to Polanco. He made an attempt to dive going to his left but came up just short. With rain drizzling down prior to the game, a slick field had Minnesota’s two-bagger sliding across the grass. The very next play was a ground ball right back to Polanco, and this was one he easily put away. Batting second for St. Paul, Polanco’s first at-bat was a well-struck ball that went directly to the centerfielder with a bit too much loft for any positive outcome. When he came back around in the second inning though, Polanco ripped a single in between the left and centerfielders to drive in the game’s second run. Drawing a walk in the 4th inning, it looked as though Polanco was ready to pick up right where he left off. Although his OPS has been lackluster this season for the Twins, it’s the on-base acumen that has been substantial. Polanco still owns a 117 OPS+ across 104 games, but his 16 homers are nowhere close to the 33 he tallied a season ago. For a guy who has often piled up strikeouts, a more manageable 95/64 K/BB has been great to see. Leaving after five innings in the field for the Saints tonight, Polanco will need to determine what his next steps are, literally. Reports suggested he was scheduled to play seven innings in the field tonight. It did look like he was playing through some pain, and he was definitely limping at times. If Minnesota can't take the series against Cleveland, it's worth wondering how much risk there should be in bringing him back at all. Also playing tonight for the Saints was Twins rehabbing catcher Ryan Jeffers. Unlike Polanco, Jeffers did not play the field. Batting third and acting as the designated hitter, Jeffers lined a first-inning single back up the diamond before flying out in his second at-bat. Jeffers blasted a long homer to left field tying the game in the 8th inning, and his bat certainly seems warm. With how poor Minnesota’s catchers have been since Jeffers went down, it would be a big boost to take innings away from Sandy Leon and Gary Sanchez. Earlier today it was reported that Matt Wallner is with Minnesota on the taxi squad should the club need to make a move for Max Kepler. Trevor Larnach was working through a scheduled day off and is expected to play for the Saints tomorrow night with a potential to be activated on Sunday. The Twins should have plenty of moves to make in the coming days.
  11. St. Paul, MN - The Minnesota Twins have been without their second basemen for quite some time. That’s plural because Jorge Polanco has been on the injured list since August 27th, and Luis Arraez has been relegated to designated hitter duties with his own ailment. Those fortunes could be changing though, soon. Image courtesy of Rob Thompson, St. Paul Saints Making a rehab appearance for the Triple-A St. Paul Saints tonight, Jorge Polanco started the game at second base. Although the Minnesota Twins are playing what amounts to their most important series of the season this weekend, Polanco’s return to action did not come in Cleveland. Immediately in the first inning, a Louisville Bats hitter put the first ball of the game in play right to Polanco. He made an attempt to dive going to his left but came up just short. With rain drizzling down prior to the game, a slick field had Minnesota’s two-bagger sliding across the grass. The very next play was a ground ball right back to Polanco, and this was one he easily put away. Batting second for St. Paul, Polanco’s first at-bat was a well-struck ball that went directly to the centerfielder with a bit too much loft for any positive outcome. When he came back around in the second inning though, Polanco ripped a single in between the left and centerfielders to drive in the game’s second run. Drawing a walk in the 4th inning, it looked as though Polanco was ready to pick up right where he left off. Although his OPS has been lackluster this season for the Twins, it’s the on-base acumen that has been substantial. Polanco still owns a 117 OPS+ across 104 games, but his 16 homers are nowhere close to the 33 he tallied a season ago. For a guy who has often piled up strikeouts, a more manageable 95/64 K/BB has been great to see. Leaving after five innings in the field for the Saints tonight, Polanco will need to determine what his next steps are, literally. Reports suggested he was scheduled to play seven innings in the field tonight. It did look like he was playing through some pain, and he was definitely limping at times. If Minnesota can't take the series against Cleveland, it's worth wondering how much risk there should be in bringing him back at all. Also playing tonight for the Saints was Twins rehabbing catcher Ryan Jeffers. Unlike Polanco, Jeffers did not play the field. Batting third and acting as the designated hitter, Jeffers lined a first-inning single back up the diamond before flying out in his second at-bat. Jeffers blasted a long homer to left field tying the game in the 8th inning, and his bat certainly seems warm. With how poor Minnesota’s catchers have been since Jeffers went down, it would be a big boost to take innings away from Sandy Leon and Gary Sanchez. Earlier today it was reported that Matt Wallner is with Minnesota on the taxi squad should the club need to make a move for Max Kepler. Trevor Larnach was working through a scheduled day off and is expected to play for the Saints tomorrow night with a potential to be activated on Sunday. The Twins should have plenty of moves to make in the coming days. View full article
  12. TRANSACTIONS C Kyle Schmidt activated (Wichita) INF Ernie Yake placed on 7-day IL (Wichita) OF Trevor Larnach begins rehab assignment (St. Paul) Saints Sentinel St. Paul 2, Louisville 5 Box Score Jordan Balazovic: 4 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Elliot Soto (2-for-3, R, BB) St. Paul lost quietly to Louisville on Thursday. Jordan Balazovic pitched well, allowing a single earned run with six strikeouts over four innings; that punchout is good for his second-highest of the season. It’s been an up-and-down year—with far more downs than anyone wished to see—but Balazovic has turned a corner late in the season, and it has been great to see. The bats couldn’t find any momentum, only scratching out two runs off technically old friend Justin Nicolino before shutting down against the Bats’ bullpen. Elliot Soto’s three times on base represented the best of any batter. Both runs scored on a Dalton Shuffield double. Jake Jewell carried the pitching effort, striking out three over 2 ⅓ scoreless innings of work; Brad Peacock tagged in with a shutout frame of his own. Trevor Larnach singled and struck out in his first rehab game. Mike Siani—the 26th ranked prospect in the Reds system—leads the Bats; he singled in four plate appearances. Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 8, Midland 6 Box Score Brent Headrick: 4 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 6 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Edouard Julien (2-for-5, 2B, R, RBI), Yunior Severino (2-for-4, RBI, BB), DaShawn Keirsey Jr. (2-for-5), Leobaldo Cabrera (2-for-4, 2 R, BB) Wichita won a barn burner on Thursday. The bats came alive early; Wichita scored five runs off a flurry of hits in the 2nd inning and never looked back. Dillon Tatum, Austin Martin, Edouard Julien, and Yunior Severino all earned an RBI for their efforts. Martin doubled in another run in the 4th inning; Alex Isola singled one home in the 6th. The bullpen carried the day as their incredible effort—spearheaded by scoreless outings from Hunter McMahon and Casey Legumina—saved the game. The collection of arms pitched five innings in relief of Brent Headrick, allowing two runs with six strikeouts. Martin stole his 34th base of the season; DaShawn Keirsey Jr. nabbed his 41st. Tyler Soderstrom—the Athletics’ 2nd ranked prospect according to MLB.com— leads the RockHounds. Soderstrom singled, walked, and scored a pair of runs. Kernels Nuggets Cedar Rapids 5, South Bend 3 Box Score Travis Adams: 4 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K HR: Wander Javier (1) Multi-hit games: Brooks Lee (2-for-4, 2 2B, R) The Kernels won on Thursday to knot the playoff series at 1. No one hitter dominated the batter’s box; Cedar Rapids rode a steady stream of walks—seven of them, to be precise—to five runs, just enough to win the game. The 5th inning proved especially fruitful, as the team scored three runs off a walk, a hit by pitch, and a balk. The team went 0-7 with runners in scoring position. Travis Adams didn’t have his A-stuff; the righty allowed six hits and three runs over four innings, with runs scoring in three separate innings. Fortunately, his bullpen had his back, as Jaylen Nowlin, Miguel Rodriguez, and Ryan Shreve combined for five scoreless innings, allowing a sole hit with seven strikeouts. Brooks Lee clubbed a pair of doubles; Wander Javier blasted a solo homer. Pete Crow-Armstrong—the Cubs' top prospect according to MLB.com, and the son of Ashley Crow, the actress who played the mom in Little Big League, leads the Cubs. He had a single in four trips to the plate. Mussel Matters Fort Myers 7, Dunedin 5 Box Score Marco Raya: 4 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K HR: Keoni Cavaco (1) Multi-hit games: Ben Ross (2-for-3, 2 R, BB), Tanner Schobel (2-for-4, R), Kala’i Rosario (2-for-4, R, 2 RBI) The Mighty Mussels won with a late comeback on Thursday. It all started with an 8th-inning movement; Fort Myers stood at a 2-5 deficit, staring up the Blue Jays as Dunedin appeared set to take a commanding 2-0 series lead. Ben Ross walked, Noah Miller singled, and Kala’i Rosario brought the Mighty Mussels one run closer with an RBI single. Ian Churchill—working to become the most well-known man with that surname—walked Misael Urbina, bringing Keoni Cavaco to the plate with the bases full. Cavaco wasted no time, stepped into the first pitch, and drove a grand slam deep out to left-center field. Marco Raya worked a tough but admirable game; the righty allowed three 1st inning runs—never an ideal start for a pitcher—but dialed himself in, and held the Blue Jays scoreless in the three following frames. Kyle Jones was probably the most important pitcher in Thursday’s effort as he pitched three innings without an earned run while striking out two. 2022 draft picks carried the game in general; Ben Ross and Tanner Schobel both clocked in multi-hit performances. Josh Kasevich and Cade Doughty—the 10th and 11th ranked prospects for the Blue Jays, respectively—lead the Dunedin club. Kasevich walked twice and singled; Doughty singled and struck out twice. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Jordan Balazovic, St. Paul Saints Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Keoni Cavaco, Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #2 - Brooks Lee (Cedar Rapids) - 2-for-4, 2 2B, R #4 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-3, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB #7 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 1-4, R, K #8 - Marco Raya (Ft. Myers) - 4 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K #9 - Matt Wallner (St. Paul) - 0-4, BB, 2 K #11 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - 4 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K #14 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-for-5, 2B, R, RBI, 2 KP #18 - Tanner Schobel (Ft. Myers) - 2-for-4, R #20 - Kala’i Rosario (Ft. Myers) - 2-for-4, R, 2 RBI, K FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Louisville @ St. Paul (7:07 PM) - RHP Mario Sanchez Wichita @ Midland (7:00 PM) - RHP Daniel Gossett South Bend @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM) - RHP Orlano Rodriguez (Game 3 in Best of 3 series) Dunedin @ Fort Myers (6:00 PM) - LHP Jordan Carr (Game 3 in Best of 3 series)
  13. You forgot Larnach existed, didn't you? And maybe don't forget about a couple of other former Top 10 Twins prospects who came up big for their teams on Thursday night. Image courtesy of William Parmeter / Mighty Mussels TRANSACTIONS C Kyle Schmidt activated (Wichita) INF Ernie Yake placed on 7-day IL (Wichita) OF Trevor Larnach begins rehab assignment (St. Paul) Saints Sentinel St. Paul 2, Louisville 5 Box Score Jordan Balazovic: 4 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Elliot Soto (2-for-3, R, BB) St. Paul lost quietly to Louisville on Thursday. Jordan Balazovic pitched well, allowing a single earned run with six strikeouts over four innings; that punchout is good for his second-highest of the season. It’s been an up-and-down year—with far more downs than anyone wished to see—but Balazovic has turned a corner late in the season, and it has been great to see. The bats couldn’t find any momentum, only scratching out two runs off technically old friend Justin Nicolino before shutting down against the Bats’ bullpen. Elliot Soto’s three times on base represented the best of any batter. Both runs scored on a Dalton Shuffield double. Jake Jewell carried the pitching effort, striking out three over 2 ⅓ scoreless innings of work; Brad Peacock tagged in with a shutout frame of his own. Trevor Larnach singled and struck out in his first rehab game. Mike Siani—the 26th ranked prospect in the Reds system—leads the Bats; he singled in four plate appearances. Wind Surge Wisdom Wichita 8, Midland 6 Box Score Brent Headrick: 4 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 6 K HR: None Multi-hit games: Edouard Julien (2-for-5, 2B, R, RBI), Yunior Severino (2-for-4, RBI, BB), DaShawn Keirsey Jr. (2-for-5), Leobaldo Cabrera (2-for-4, 2 R, BB) Wichita won a barn burner on Thursday. The bats came alive early; Wichita scored five runs off a flurry of hits in the 2nd inning and never looked back. Dillon Tatum, Austin Martin, Edouard Julien, and Yunior Severino all earned an RBI for their efforts. Martin doubled in another run in the 4th inning; Alex Isola singled one home in the 6th. The bullpen carried the day as their incredible effort—spearheaded by scoreless outings from Hunter McMahon and Casey Legumina—saved the game. The collection of arms pitched five innings in relief of Brent Headrick, allowing two runs with six strikeouts. Martin stole his 34th base of the season; DaShawn Keirsey Jr. nabbed his 41st. Tyler Soderstrom—the Athletics’ 2nd ranked prospect according to MLB.com— leads the RockHounds. Soderstrom singled, walked, and scored a pair of runs. Kernels Nuggets Cedar Rapids 5, South Bend 3 Box Score Travis Adams: 4 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K HR: Wander Javier (1) Multi-hit games: Brooks Lee (2-for-4, 2 2B, R) The Kernels won on Thursday to knot the playoff series at 1. No one hitter dominated the batter’s box; Cedar Rapids rode a steady stream of walks—seven of them, to be precise—to five runs, just enough to win the game. The 5th inning proved especially fruitful, as the team scored three runs off a walk, a hit by pitch, and a balk. The team went 0-7 with runners in scoring position. Travis Adams didn’t have his A-stuff; the righty allowed six hits and three runs over four innings, with runs scoring in three separate innings. Fortunately, his bullpen had his back, as Jaylen Nowlin, Miguel Rodriguez, and Ryan Shreve combined for five scoreless innings, allowing a sole hit with seven strikeouts. Brooks Lee clubbed a pair of doubles; Wander Javier blasted a solo homer. Pete Crow-Armstrong—the Cubs' top prospect according to MLB.com, and the son of Ashley Crow, the actress who played the mom in Little Big League, leads the Cubs. He had a single in four trips to the plate. Mussel Matters Fort Myers 7, Dunedin 5 Box Score Marco Raya: 4 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K HR: Keoni Cavaco (1) Multi-hit games: Ben Ross (2-for-3, 2 R, BB), Tanner Schobel (2-for-4, R), Kala’i Rosario (2-for-4, R, 2 RBI) The Mighty Mussels won with a late comeback on Thursday. It all started with an 8th-inning movement; Fort Myers stood at a 2-5 deficit, staring up the Blue Jays as Dunedin appeared set to take a commanding 2-0 series lead. Ben Ross walked, Noah Miller singled, and Kala’i Rosario brought the Mighty Mussels one run closer with an RBI single. Ian Churchill—working to become the most well-known man with that surname—walked Misael Urbina, bringing Keoni Cavaco to the plate with the bases full. Cavaco wasted no time, stepped into the first pitch, and drove a grand slam deep out to left-center field. Marco Raya worked a tough but admirable game; the righty allowed three 1st inning runs—never an ideal start for a pitcher—but dialed himself in, and held the Blue Jays scoreless in the three following frames. Kyle Jones was probably the most important pitcher in Thursday’s effort as he pitched three innings without an earned run while striking out two. 2022 draft picks carried the game in general; Ben Ross and Tanner Schobel both clocked in multi-hit performances. Josh Kasevich and Cade Doughty—the 10th and 11th ranked prospects for the Blue Jays, respectively—lead the Dunedin club. Kasevich walked twice and singled; Doughty singled and struck out twice. TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Jordan Balazovic, St. Paul Saints Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Keoni Cavaco, Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels PROSPECT SUMMARY Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed: #2 - Brooks Lee (Cedar Rapids) - 2-for-4, 2 2B, R #4 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 1-3, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, BB #7 - Noah Miller (Ft. Myers) - 1-4, R, K #8 - Marco Raya (Ft. Myers) - 4 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K #9 - Matt Wallner (St. Paul) - 0-4, BB, 2 K #11 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - 4 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K #14 - Edouard Julien (Wichita) - 2-for-5, 2B, R, RBI, 2 KP #18 - Tanner Schobel (Ft. Myers) - 2-for-4, R #20 - Kala’i Rosario (Ft. Myers) - 2-for-4, R, 2 RBI, K FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS Louisville @ St. Paul (7:07 PM) - RHP Mario Sanchez Wichita @ Midland (7:00 PM) - RHP Daniel Gossett South Bend @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM) - RHP Orlano Rodriguez (Game 3 in Best of 3 series) Dunedin @ Fort Myers (6:00 PM) - LHP Jordan Carr (Game 3 in Best of 3 series) View full article
  14. 2021 and 2022 held a lot of similarities for Trevor Larnach. In both cases, he burst onto the scene showing a glimpse of the lineup-changing hitter he’s capable of being. Unfortunately in both cases he tailed off in his production only for an injury to eventually come out as the main cause. So what do we think of Larnach moving forward? In 2021 Larnach began his season with a .845 OPS in May before the league adjusted. He posted a .704 mark in June and a brutal .518 in July. He would finish the season in St. Paul eventually being shut down with a hand issue, an injury that turned out to be nagging him for longer than Twins fans had known about. In 2022 Larnach looked even more encouraging. In March and April, Larnach posted a modest .703 OPS, actually above average for the offensive environment at the time. Then in May he posted an absurd 1.077 OPS. In addition to his hitting, his brief time in the majors was enough for teams to stop running on him in the outfield, as his throwing arm became a weapon against runners trying to get an extra base. Once again, however, he faded off in a huge way, posting an OPS of .429 in June before getting shut down at the end of the month for a core muscle injury he had been dealing with for the entire month. His timeline was 6-8 weeks putting him at a mid to late August return. At the time of this writing in mid-September, however, Larnach is finally making his first rehab appearance in the minors. With the calendar dwindling, it's likely at this point that Larnach’s 2022 season has come to an end, but he finishes with a modest .231/.306/.406 batting line which was heavily weighed down by a brutal final month. His 1.1 Wins Above Replacement in just 51 games played alludes to the possibility of an everyday regular in the lineup moving forward. But can we trust Larnach to fill such a role? The first concern at this point has to be health. Larnach has failed to reach 100 games played in each of the last two seasons due to injury. The hand contusion in 2021 may have been a fluke, but 2022's core muscle injury that cost him half the season is more of a concern. Larnach relies on such muscles for every swing he takes, every route to a fly ball he runs, and every rocket he throws into a base. The delay on his return alludes to the Twins making sure he’s at as little risk of aggravating this injury as possible. Headed into 2023 we have to hope it pays off. The second concern is whether Larnach can consistently channel his talent into on-field production. While injury has hampered his numbers to an extent these last two years, it’s easy to be concerned about him long-term given his swing-and-miss tendencies. Easily the biggest knock on his offensive profile, his incredible power and fantastic eye at the plate can easily be outweighed if he fails to make contact with pitches in the strike zone as we’ve seen at times in his young career. It would be nice if Larnach was more of a known commodity after two years of MLB exposure, especially given the murky futures of fellow top prospects Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff. Of the three, Larnach appears to be the most stable however due not only to the flashes of offensive and defensive value, but because of the nature of the injuries that have ended each of their seasons. Headed into 2023 it’s hard to be 100% confident in Larnach, but there has to be some hope that he can be the Opening Day left fielder and hold onto the job for the next 4-5 years. He’s shown a tremendous ceiling but he doesn’t have to reach it to be a valuable player. Max Kepler has spent the last three years providing league average offense at best and has still added value because of his defense. Larnach’s 2022 should provide hope that he can at the very least do the same while providing a much more balanced offensive profile aside from the strikeouts. Certainly, we have to be disappointed with Larnach’s 2022, but like most disappointing seasons, there are some redeeming qualities. Headed into 2023 it’s hard to argue against handing Larnach the keys to a starting job and seeing if it’s finally the year that it comes together. The Twins don’t have any immediate alternative options and it’s safe to say that if they want to prioritize replacing any outfielder, it should be the aforementioned Max Kepler. Larnach should be given another chance to make himself a piece of the Twins future. Do you agree?
  15. The Minnesota Twins finished off a sweep of Kansas City behind homers from Carlos Correa and Nick Gordon in addition to a great performance from the bullpen. Down in the minors, both Fort Myers and Cedar Rapids stayed alive, winning their playoff games. With his team down and facing elimination, Keoni Cavaco blasted a go-ahead grand slam in the eighth inning. Brooks Lee had a pair of doubles for the Kernels and scored the game-tying run. Also featured in tonight's highlights are Jordan Balazovic, Trevor Larnach and Austin Martin.
  16. The Minnesota Twins finished off a sweep of Kansas City behind homers from Carlos Correa and Nick Gordon in addition to a great performance from the bullpen. Down in the minors, both Fort Myers and Cedar Rapids stayed alive, winning their playoff games. With his team down and facing elimination, Keoni Cavaco blasted a go-ahead grand slam in the eighth inning. Brooks Lee had a pair of doubles for the Kernels and scored the game-tying run. Also featured in tonight's highlights are Jordan Balazovic, Trevor Larnach and Austin Martin. View full video
  17. As we pick up the pieces on this 2022 Twins season, which looked so promising for so long, there will be plenty of hindsight analysis, parsing of blame. But it's all overshadowed by the ugly elephant in the room: a catastrophic, unrelenting onslaught of injuries. The reality is that, while this doesn't absolve the coaching staff or front office of any culpability, there was no preparing for this. No team could have survived the almost incomprehensible level of soul-crushing attrition the Twins faced this year. Image courtesy of Jeffrey Becker, USA Today Sports The purpose of this article is try and lay out, in no uncertain terms, the insurmountable magnitude of injuries and medical odysseys to which this year's Twins roster has been subjected. There are worthwhile conversations to be had about the way this team is managing players physically, evaluating new acquisitions, and handling rehab plans. But let's take a step back. When you acknowledge that, to a large degree, injury rates and recoveries are driven by luck and uncontrollable forces, I don't see much of a case for holding the manager or even the front office primarily accountable for what's gone down this season. There's no planning for, or adapting, to the way injuries have impacted this roster. There's no managing a bunch of backups and fourth-string options to sustained contention. I recognize this is very unsatisfying for those who demand accountability and want to see heads roll in the wake of such a disappointing turn of events. But when you remove emotion and try to see the situation objectively, I'm not sure how much more you could expect from the execs and decision makers dealt an unwinnable hand. Could they have done certain things better? Of course. Was it going to turn the unstoppable tide that has plunged this ship asunder? No. This side-by-side comparison of the injured lists for Cleveland and Minnesota, here in the heart of the stretch run, kind of says it all. Sixteen Twins players on IL, including several vital cornerstones, compared to three Guardians. How do you realistically overcome that? Let's review all these injuries that have torpedoed a promising season, and the context behind them. I've tried to order them from most devastating to least. Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff. When people talk about the 2022 season and what's gone wrong, I feel like this calamity gets glossed over way too much. To me, it is the '1A' headline for all the team's unmet potential. This horrible twist of fate is what I would categorize as unthinkably disastrous. Lewis and Kirilloff are two of the most important assets for this franchise. (I ranked them #3 and #4 during the offseason, behind Byron Buxton and Jorge Polanco – also both currently on IL.) They are at the ages and junctures of development where you'd expect them to start making a real impact the major-league level, and both showed that ability in brief flashes this year. However, both of their seasons were ended in premature fashion. And in BOTH cases, major surgery was required to address the SAME injury that knocked them out for the previous season. (Did I mention this is essentially the third straight lost season for both?) Kirilloff's wrist surgery from last year didn't take, so now he's undergone a more invasive, last-ditch operation to try and alleviate the debilitating issue. Lewis, during his first game back in what appeared to be a permanent call-up, tore the very same ACL he had reconstructive surgery on last year. You can't make this stuff up. And what's most crushing about it all is that both of these absolutely critical players will inevitably be shrouded in doubt going forward. Can Lewis rebound from a second straight surgery on the same knee, especially when his game is founded on agility and foot speed? Will this somewhat experimental surgery for Kirilloff correct a problem that's been plaguing him for years now, sapping his most elite skill? Realistically, it's hard to feel much assurance on either front, and for that reason it's hard to feel optimistic about the Twins' immediate future. It really can't be overstated how disruptive these unforeseeable developments are for a front office trying to build a championship. Tyler Mahle and Chris Paddack. We all understand that Mahle and Paddack came with known injury risk to varying degrees. At the same time, so do a lot of trades. You've got to believe a club carefully reviews medicals and gains a level of comfort before pulling the trigger on significant deals like these ones. Yeah, it's easy to scream "incompetence" in hindsight. Too easy. There are a lot of top-of-field experts involved in these decisions. Maybe, taking each player on his own, it shouldn't be all that surprising that Mahle or Paddack succumbed to (likely) season-ending arm injuries. But for both to do so? And not only that, but for it happen SO quickly in both cases? Paddack made it to his fifth start before his partially torn UCL gave way, requiring elbow surgery. Mahle lasted only three before his velocity nosedived and a mysterious shoulder injury threatened to end his campaign. A combination of worst-case injury scenarios. Of course. And it really hurts, because the talent evaluation in both cases was sound. I genuinely believe that if healthy these would be the Twins' two best starters. Alas, much like Lewis and Kirilloff, their uncertain futures complicate the front office's planning going forward. Paddack will be coming back from a second Tommy John surgery. Who knows what's going on with Mahle but it seems impossible we'll go into the offseason feeling confident about his shoulder, with one year of team control left. Byron Buxton. Look, we know injuries for Buxton have to be expected and accounted for. They're baked into his legacy, and his new contract. Still, this year the gravity of his durability issues came into sharper focus than ever, primarily because it constitutes a "healthy" season for Buxton. He's already made the second-most plate appearances of his career. He avoided the injured list until August. He still might get to 100 games! And yet, that old injury phantom has conspicuously followed Buxton all year, ever since he came up slamming his hand into the dirt at Fenway one week in. Despite his mightiest efforts, he couldn't outrun his eternal tormentor, and now this season is wrapping up like so many before it: Buxton on the sidelines, watching his team fall short. I guess the point of this blurb is not so much about the micro misfortune of injuries sabotaging another year for Buxton, but more an observation about his appropriateness as face of the franchise: The Twins to lost their way into drafting one of the most talented, electric, special players in modern baseball history who also happens to be the (?) single-most injury prone at that level. Ryan Jeffers and Trevor Larnach. I group these two together because while neither injury was totally unforeseeable – catchers get hurt a lot by nature, and Larnach was also sidelined for much of last year – they definitely qualify as bad luck, and both absences led to huge drop-offs in terms of backup plans. Jeffers was having a reasonably solid season before suffering a thumb fracture in mid-July, which may cost him his entire second half. Larnach developed a sports hernia requiring surgery in mid-June, and still hasn't made it back yet. In both cases, the path to returning has arduously dragged well beyond original estimates, and continues to do so – another unfortunate commonality. With Jeffers sidelined, the Twins were left at catcher with the husk of Gary Sánchez and trade acquisition Sandy León, who'd been toiling in the minors for Cleveland. It's been ugly, much like the outfield in the absence of Larnach, Kirilloff and Buxton. Bailey Ober and Josh Winder. Winder is no longer on the injured list, but I view him much as the same as Ober: a homegrown talent, 25 years old and coming off a great season, clearly a core part of the Twins pitching plans. Granted, they both had their own warning labels coming into this season, but no clear red flags. As it turns out, both will end up maxing out around 50 innings pitched in the majors – big setback seasons for developing pitchers who will now be challenged to rebuild their workloads once again. In each case, the injury seems not well understood. Ober went down with a groin injury first framed as minor that never seemed to heal. Winder's had recurring bouts with an impinged, but structurally sound, shoulder dating back to last year. On their own, these are losses you could withstand, which is why they're relatively low on this list. But combined with all of the above? Getting almost nothing from Ober, or Winder, or Paddack, or their marquee deadline acquisition Mahle? How do you cobble together a decent rotation through all of that? The only Twins starting pitchers that have truly managed to stay healthy are the guys they signed cheaply to fill the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation. Jorgé Alcala and Matt Canterino. These two are lumped as high-upside relievers who could have had transformative impacts on the Twins bullpen, but instead fell victim to essentially worst-case scenarios with their elbows. Alcala missed all of this season; Canterino never made it to the majors and will likely miss all of the next one. Maybe these blows would've been easier to sustain if some of the relief contingency plans held up. However... Danny Coulombe, Cody Stashak, and Jhon Romero. None of these three were projected to be pivotal late-inning weapons, but they were all viewed as important parts of the depth mix. Coulombe and Romero were on the Opening Day roster, and Stashak a late cut. All suffered season-ending injuries early on. Kenta Maeda and Randy Dobnak. I have these two at the bottom because, unlike everyone above, no one realistically expected much out of them this year. But it would have been nice to get something, *anything* from either. Both have been derailed so much for both that it's easy to forget that, coming out of the 2020 season, we were envisioning each as key long-term pieces for the pitching staff. You can look back now and say, "Well the front office shouldn't have been planning around these guys." Or they shouldn't have traded for Paddack or Mahle and the associated risk. Or they shouldn't have committed to Buxton as a centerpiece, or they should have better medical personnel and training philosophies, and so on. There may be truth to these things. But you bet on players you like, and you accept a certain amount of risk. Otherwise, you end up where the previous front office was for so long, treading water in a pointless middle ground. At the end of the day, injuries happen. They're never as predictable or controllable or correctable as people want to believe. Sadly, this scourge has been especially prevalent for the Twins and, more sadly, a lot of these health woes are going to carry forward in terms of their implications. I firmly believe the front office built a team capable of winning the division this year, and Rocco Baldelli was the guy to lead that group. For a while, it was all coming together as planned. Unfortunately, the current team barely resembles what was built. View full article
  18. The purpose of this article is try and lay out, in no uncertain terms, the insurmountable magnitude of injuries and medical odysseys to which this year's Twins roster has been subjected. There are worthwhile conversations to be had about the way this team is managing players physically, evaluating new acquisitions, and handling rehab plans. But let's take a step back. When you acknowledge that, to a large degree, injury rates and recoveries are driven by luck and uncontrollable forces, I don't see much of a case for holding the manager or even the front office primarily accountable for what's gone down this season. There's no planning for, or adapting, to the way injuries have impacted this roster. There's no managing a bunch of backups and fourth-string options to sustained contention. I recognize this is very unsatisfying for those who demand accountability and want to see heads roll in the wake of such a disappointing turn of events. But when you remove emotion and try to see the situation objectively, I'm not sure how much more you could expect from the execs and decision makers dealt an unwinnable hand. Could they have done certain things better? Of course. Was it going to turn the unstoppable tide that has plunged this ship asunder? No. This side-by-side comparison of the injured lists for Cleveland and Minnesota, here in the heart of the stretch run, kind of says it all. Sixteen Twins players on IL, including several vital cornerstones, compared to three Guardians. How do you realistically overcome that? Let's review all these injuries that have torpedoed a promising season, and the context behind them. I've tried to order them from most devastating to least. Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff. When people talk about the 2022 season and what's gone wrong, I feel like this calamity gets glossed over way too much. To me, it is the '1A' headline for all the team's unmet potential. This horrible twist of fate is what I would categorize as unthinkably disastrous. Lewis and Kirilloff are two of the most important assets for this franchise. (I ranked them #3 and #4 during the offseason, behind Byron Buxton and Jorge Polanco – also both currently on IL.) They are at the ages and junctures of development where you'd expect them to start making a real impact the major-league level, and both showed that ability in brief flashes this year. However, both of their seasons were ended in premature fashion. And in BOTH cases, major surgery was required to address the SAME injury that knocked them out for the previous season. (Did I mention this is essentially the third straight lost season for both?) Kirilloff's wrist surgery from last year didn't take, so now he's undergone a more invasive, last-ditch operation to try and alleviate the debilitating issue. Lewis, during his first game back in what appeared to be a permanent call-up, tore the very same ACL he had reconstructive surgery on last year. You can't make this stuff up. And what's most crushing about it all is that both of these absolutely critical players will inevitably be shrouded in doubt going forward. Can Lewis rebound from a second straight surgery on the same knee, especially when his game is founded on agility and foot speed? Will this somewhat experimental surgery for Kirilloff correct a problem that's been plaguing him for years now, sapping his most elite skill? Realistically, it's hard to feel much assurance on either front, and for that reason it's hard to feel optimistic about the Twins' immediate future. It really can't be overstated how disruptive these unforeseeable developments are for a front office trying to build a championship. Tyler Mahle and Chris Paddack. We all understand that Mahle and Paddack came with known injury risk to varying degrees. At the same time, so do a lot of trades. You've got to believe a club carefully reviews medicals and gains a level of comfort before pulling the trigger on significant deals like these ones. Yeah, it's easy to scream "incompetence" in hindsight. Too easy. There are a lot of top-of-field experts involved in these decisions. Maybe, taking each player on his own, it shouldn't be all that surprising that Mahle or Paddack succumbed to (likely) season-ending arm injuries. But for both to do so? And not only that, but for it happen SO quickly in both cases? Paddack made it to his fifth start before his partially torn UCL gave way, requiring elbow surgery. Mahle lasted only three before his velocity nosedived and a mysterious shoulder injury threatened to end his campaign. A combination of worst-case injury scenarios. Of course. And it really hurts, because the talent evaluation in both cases was sound. I genuinely believe that if healthy these would be the Twins' two best starters. Alas, much like Lewis and Kirilloff, their uncertain futures complicate the front office's planning going forward. Paddack will be coming back from a second Tommy John surgery. Who knows what's going on with Mahle but it seems impossible we'll go into the offseason feeling confident about his shoulder, with one year of team control left. Byron Buxton. Look, we know injuries for Buxton have to be expected and accounted for. They're baked into his legacy, and his new contract. Still, this year the gravity of his durability issues came into sharper focus than ever, primarily because it constitutes a "healthy" season for Buxton. He's already made the second-most plate appearances of his career. He avoided the injured list until August. He still might get to 100 games! And yet, that old injury phantom has conspicuously followed Buxton all year, ever since he came up slamming his hand into the dirt at Fenway one week in. Despite his mightiest efforts, he couldn't outrun his eternal tormentor, and now this season is wrapping up like so many before it: Buxton on the sidelines, watching his team fall short. I guess the point of this blurb is not so much about the micro misfortune of injuries sabotaging another year for Buxton, but more an observation about his appropriateness as face of the franchise: The Twins to lost their way into drafting one of the most talented, electric, special players in modern baseball history who also happens to be the (?) single-most injury prone at that level. Ryan Jeffers and Trevor Larnach. I group these two together because while neither injury was totally unforeseeable – catchers get hurt a lot by nature, and Larnach was also sidelined for much of last year – they definitely qualify as bad luck, and both absences led to huge drop-offs in terms of backup plans. Jeffers was having a reasonably solid season before suffering a thumb fracture in mid-July, which may cost him his entire second half. Larnach developed a sports hernia requiring surgery in mid-June, and still hasn't made it back yet. In both cases, the path to returning has arduously dragged well beyond original estimates, and continues to do so – another unfortunate commonality. With Jeffers sidelined, the Twins were left at catcher with the husk of Gary Sánchez and trade acquisition Sandy León, who'd been toiling in the minors for Cleveland. It's been ugly, much like the outfield in the absence of Larnach, Kirilloff and Buxton. Bailey Ober and Josh Winder. Winder is no longer on the injured list, but I view him much as the same as Ober: a homegrown talent, 25 years old and coming off a great season, clearly a core part of the Twins pitching plans. Granted, they both had their own warning labels coming into this season, but no clear red flags. As it turns out, both will end up maxing out around 50 innings pitched in the majors – big setback seasons for developing pitchers who will now be challenged to rebuild their workloads once again. In each case, the injury seems not well understood. Ober went down with a groin injury first framed as minor that never seemed to heal. Winder's had recurring bouts with an impinged, but structurally sound, shoulder dating back to last year. On their own, these are losses you could withstand, which is why they're relatively low on this list. But combined with all of the above? Getting almost nothing from Ober, or Winder, or Paddack, or their marquee deadline acquisition Mahle? How do you cobble together a decent rotation through all of that? The only Twins starting pitchers that have truly managed to stay healthy are the guys they signed cheaply to fill the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation. Jorgé Alcala and Matt Canterino. These two are lumped as high-upside relievers who could have had transformative impacts on the Twins bullpen, but instead fell victim to essentially worst-case scenarios with their elbows. Alcala missed all of this season; Canterino never made it to the majors and will likely miss all of the next one. Maybe these blows would've been easier to sustain if some of the relief contingency plans held up. However... Danny Coulombe, Cody Stashak, and Jhon Romero. None of these three were projected to be pivotal late-inning weapons, but they were all viewed as important parts of the depth mix. Coulombe and Romero were on the Opening Day roster, and Stashak a late cut. All suffered season-ending injuries early on. Kenta Maeda and Randy Dobnak. I have these two at the bottom because, unlike everyone above, no one realistically expected much out of them this year. But it would have been nice to get something, *anything* from either. Both have been derailed so much for both that it's easy to forget that, coming out of the 2020 season, we were envisioning each as key long-term pieces for the pitching staff. You can look back now and say, "Well the front office shouldn't have been planning around these guys." Or they shouldn't have traded for Paddack or Mahle and the associated risk. Or they shouldn't have committed to Buxton as a centerpiece, or they should have better medical personnel and training philosophies, and so on. There may be truth to these things. But you bet on players you like, and you accept a certain amount of risk. Otherwise, you end up where the previous front office was for so long, treading water in a pointless middle ground. At the end of the day, injuries happen. They're never as predictable or controllable or correctable as people want to believe. Sadly, this scourge has been especially prevalent for the Twins and, more sadly, a lot of these health woes are going to carry forward in terms of their implications. I firmly believe the front office built a team capable of winning the division this year, and Rocco Baldelli was the guy to lead that group. For a while, it was all coming together as planned. Unfortunately, the current team barely resembles what was built.
  19. Few MLB teams have been bitten by the injury bug like the Twins this season. Could Minnesota win the AL Central with the players currently on the injured list? Image courtesy of Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports Minnesota's injury list has continued to fill up with players up and down the roster. No AL team has put more players on the injured list than the Twins, making it tough to evaluate the team's overall talent value. Looking back on the 2022 season, it will be easy to point to all the team's injuries as one of the reasons for its downfall. That being said, the AL Central is still up for grabs, so could the Twins' injured players win the division? Catcher: Ryan Jeffers Jeffers was supposed to take over the full-time catching duties this season after the team traded Mitch Garver. Before fracturing his thumb, he saw his OPS+ rise eight points compared to 2021. He also does a great job behind the plate as his framing ranks in the 65th percentile. 1B: Miguel Sano There's no question that Sano struggled during the 2022 season, but this is a player that averaged a 122 OPS+ over the last three seasons. He's been streaky throughout his career, which doesn't help how fans view him. His Twins tenure is likely done, but he was a solid contributor during that time. 2B: Jorge Polanco Polanco had avoided the injured list for much of his career until the 2022 season. He's played through injuries in the past and been relatively productive. This season the injuries were clearly bothering him at the plate, and his defensive numbers took a significant drop. Even with injuries, his WAR ranks in the team's top 5. 3B: No Current Injury <Knock on Wood> Minnesota doesn't have a current injured third baseman, but this position can be filled with an infielder from St. Paul. Andrew Bechtold seems like a possible fit since he can be a replacement-level player and has played third base during the 2022 season. SS: Royce Lewis It's hard not to think about what Lewis might have meant to the 2022 Twins if he had stayed healthy. His first taste of the big leagues was spectacular as he went 12-for-40 (.300) with four doubles and two home runs. Lewis looked like a star, and the Twins could desperately use a right-handed power bat for the stretch run. OF: Byron Buxton, Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach Minnesota expected all three players to fit into the middle of the lineup this season. Buxton avoided the injured list for much of the season, but now he hasn't been available for the team's stretch run. Kirilloff put together some eye-popping numbers at Triple-A as he returned from injury. Unfortunately, something was still wrong with his wrist, and he underwent a unique surgery to alleviate some of the pain. Larnach had a 105 OPS+ in 2022, and the team has been forced to use replacement-level players to fill in for his production. Rotation: Tyler Mahle, Chris Paddack, Kenta Maeda, Bailey Ober, Randy Dobnak The top three pitchers in the injured rotation have been acquired by the current front office in trades. Now it seems unlikely that any of the three will be available for Minnesota's stretch run. Ober and Dobnak have started their rehab assignments, but it's questionable how much they will be able to provide the club for the season's remainder. Josh Winder is also another name to consider as he is no longer rehabbing but he is getting back to strength in the Saints rotation. Adding him to this rotation allows Dobnak to be a long-man out of the bullpen. Bullpen: Jorge Alcala, Danny Coulombe, Jhon Romero, Cole Sands, Cody Stashak Minnesota's bullpen has been a mess, so it's intriguing to consider what these missing players may have been able to provide the team. Alcala has the make-up to be an elite reliever and had the potential to take over a late-inning role in 2022. Stashak and Sands can fit into this team's imaginary set-up roles. Not much was expected from Coulombe and Romero, but relievers can surprise in small sample sizes. Cleveland and Chicago have flaws, and the Twins roster above might be good enough to compete in the AL Central. Do you think they'd have enough pieces to compete in the division? Is the Twins injured roster better than their current roster? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  20. Minnesota's injury list has continued to fill up with players up and down the roster. No AL team has put more players on the injured list than the Twins, making it tough to evaluate the team's overall talent value. Looking back on the 2022 season, it will be easy to point to all the team's injuries as one of the reasons for its downfall. That being said, the AL Central is still up for grabs, so could the Twins' injured players win the division? Catcher: Ryan Jeffers Jeffers was supposed to take over the full-time catching duties this season after the team traded Mitch Garver. Before fracturing his thumb, he saw his OPS+ rise eight points compared to 2021. He also does a great job behind the plate as his framing ranks in the 65th percentile. 1B: Miguel Sano There's no question that Sano struggled during the 2022 season, but this is a player that averaged a 122 OPS+ over the last three seasons. He's been streaky throughout his career, which doesn't help how fans view him. His Twins tenure is likely done, but he was a solid contributor during that time. 2B: Jorge Polanco Polanco had avoided the injured list for much of his career until the 2022 season. He's played through injuries in the past and been relatively productive. This season the injuries were clearly bothering him at the plate, and his defensive numbers took a significant drop. Even with injuries, his WAR ranks in the team's top 5. 3B: No Current Injury <Knock on Wood> Minnesota doesn't have a current injured third baseman, but this position can be filled with an infielder from St. Paul. Andrew Bechtold seems like a possible fit since he can be a replacement-level player and has played third base during the 2022 season. SS: Royce Lewis It's hard not to think about what Lewis might have meant to the 2022 Twins if he had stayed healthy. His first taste of the big leagues was spectacular as he went 12-for-40 (.300) with four doubles and two home runs. Lewis looked like a star, and the Twins could desperately use a right-handed power bat for the stretch run. OF: Byron Buxton, Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach Minnesota expected all three players to fit into the middle of the lineup this season. Buxton avoided the injured list for much of the season, but now he hasn't been available for the team's stretch run. Kirilloff put together some eye-popping numbers at Triple-A as he returned from injury. Unfortunately, something was still wrong with his wrist, and he underwent a unique surgery to alleviate some of the pain. Larnach had a 105 OPS+ in 2022, and the team has been forced to use replacement-level players to fill in for his production. Rotation: Tyler Mahle, Chris Paddack, Kenta Maeda, Bailey Ober, Randy Dobnak The top three pitchers in the injured rotation have been acquired by the current front office in trades. Now it seems unlikely that any of the three will be available for Minnesota's stretch run. Ober and Dobnak have started their rehab assignments, but it's questionable how much they will be able to provide the club for the season's remainder. Josh Winder is also another name to consider as he is no longer rehabbing but he is getting back to strength in the Saints rotation. Adding him to this rotation allows Dobnak to be a long-man out of the bullpen. Bullpen: Jorge Alcala, Danny Coulombe, Jhon Romero, Cole Sands, Cody Stashak Minnesota's bullpen has been a mess, so it's intriguing to consider what these missing players may have been able to provide the team. Alcala has the make-up to be an elite reliever and had the potential to take over a late-inning role in 2022. Stashak and Sands can fit into this team's imaginary set-up roles. Not much was expected from Coulombe and Romero, but relievers can surprise in small sample sizes. Cleveland and Chicago have flaws, and the Twins roster above might be good enough to compete in the AL Central. Do you think they'd have enough pieces to compete in the division? Is the Twins injured roster better than their current roster? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  21. The Minnesota Twins have fallen to second place in the American League Central division, and while they needed an influx of pitching help at the deadline, the next wave of reinforcements may not come soon enough. With a 9-8 record and just 10 games left in August, the September stretch becomes vital, but who’s there to help? As I wrote last week, the expectation should be that the division is sorted out in the final month of the season. Minnesota will play the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Guardians a combined 17 times in September. Separated by anything less than four games when the calendar turns should represent striking distance. The problem is what will have changed for available options at that point? Right now Rocco Baldelli is forced to roll Jake Cave out on a regular basis. Gary Sanchez has been nothing behind the plate basically all season. The bullpen still has warts, and time is ticking. Over the weekend The Athletic’s Aaron Gleeman provided a status update on many of Minnesota’s key pieces. Knowing how awful the lineup has been for weeks suggests that Trevor Larnach and Kyle Garlick could be the most impactful additions. It doesn’t sound like Ryan Jeffers will be back until the second half of September, but the pitching staff should get a few jolts before then. Maybe Josh Winder, Bailey Ober, and Randy Dobnak can provide value in the short term. Hopefully, Kenta Maeda is ready to go soon. No matter what though, all of the timelines still represent a substantial amount of gray area. There’s no denying that the Twins need to put their best foot forward if they’re going to make the postseason. There’s no reason why this team, even as it’s currently constructed, isn’t making up ground on Cleveland. Sure, the White Sox are without Tim Anderson, and have missed Luis Robert at times. The Guardians have shuffled pieces around Jose Ramirez and Andres Gimenez, but both of those clubs are working towards the same goal as Minnesota. It’s understandable to look at what could be coming back to the Twins clubhouse and be excited. Having that much impactful talent on the shelf is hardly a positive reality. Until we start seeing rehab assignments and activations though, it’s all just a theoretical hope that the next addition is the one that turns the tide. I don’t think you can make a case for many of the Twins pending activations to suddenly trend toward the season-ending type, but every day ripped off in September without additions will be an opportunity missed. As healing and rehab procedures trend toward their completion, Minnesota must be aggressive with the goal of maximizing the impact felt by each player. Taking a look at the Twins record on a rolling monthly basis to this point it’s clear this is a ship that’s been treading water. If they want to be the 18-12 team they were in May to close this out, they’ll have to hope there are no more guys being hidden throughout the roster biding time until they can be swapped out. View full article
  22. As I wrote last week, the expectation should be that the division is sorted out in the final month of the season. Minnesota will play the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Guardians a combined 17 times in September. Separated by anything less than four games when the calendar turns should represent striking distance. The problem is what will have changed for available options at that point? Right now Rocco Baldelli is forced to roll Jake Cave out on a regular basis. Gary Sanchez has been nothing behind the plate basically all season. The bullpen still has warts, and time is ticking. Over the weekend The Athletic’s Aaron Gleeman provided a status update on many of Minnesota’s key pieces. Knowing how awful the lineup has been for weeks suggests that Trevor Larnach and Kyle Garlick could be the most impactful additions. It doesn’t sound like Ryan Jeffers will be back until the second half of September, but the pitching staff should get a few jolts before then. Maybe Josh Winder, Bailey Ober, and Randy Dobnak can provide value in the short term. Hopefully, Kenta Maeda is ready to go soon. No matter what though, all of the timelines still represent a substantial amount of gray area. There’s no denying that the Twins need to put their best foot forward if they’re going to make the postseason. There’s no reason why this team, even as it’s currently constructed, isn’t making up ground on Cleveland. Sure, the White Sox are without Tim Anderson, and have missed Luis Robert at times. The Guardians have shuffled pieces around Jose Ramirez and Andres Gimenez, but both of those clubs are working towards the same goal as Minnesota. It’s understandable to look at what could be coming back to the Twins clubhouse and be excited. Having that much impactful talent on the shelf is hardly a positive reality. Until we start seeing rehab assignments and activations though, it’s all just a theoretical hope that the next addition is the one that turns the tide. I don’t think you can make a case for many of the Twins pending activations to suddenly trend toward the season-ending type, but every day ripped off in September without additions will be an opportunity missed. As healing and rehab procedures trend toward their completion, Minnesota must be aggressive with the goal of maximizing the impact felt by each player. Taking a look at the Twins record on a rolling monthly basis to this point it’s clear this is a ship that’s been treading water. If they want to be the 18-12 team they were in May to close this out, they’ll have to hope there are no more guys being hidden throughout the roster biding time until they can be swapped out.
  23. The Twins Injured List continues to grow as the season rolls on as they’re now missing several important contributors who hopefully haven’t made their last marks on this 2022 Twins team. Some absences however weigh a bit heavier than others. It seems like there’s a new player added to the Injured List every other day as the Twins have found themselves filling out the daily lineup card with players we never imagined they’d be relying on. Outfield, catcher, pitchers of all roles, there’s nowhere the Twins haven’t felt the sting of injury. For them to get back on the right track, I’ve ranked the top 3 players in order of importance to how the Twins may wind up finishing their season. 3. Trevor Larnach Larnach last played at the end of June before undergoing core muscle surgery that turned out to be the likely source of his struggles before hitting the IL. Before being limited by injury, Larnach was a solid contributor to the Twins in multiple ways. The slugging left-hander was about league average in March and April before exploding to the tune of a .333/.431/.646 line in May. He also graded out well in every defensive metric, as what he lacked in outfield range, he made up for in sure-handedness and an arm that had bullied teams out of trying for extra bases. What was originally a six-week timetable appears to have been pushed back to closer to 10 weeks with little updates along the way. The Twins are hoping Larnach can be back in early September for the stretch run which would be huge for the lineup. Any kind of return to form would result in Larnach taking playing time away from players such as Jake Cave and Tim Beckham. Larnach should also slot into the top 4-5 spots in the lineup with his patient approach and bat capable of some much-needed fireworks. He’s been lefty-proof in his career thus far, actually hitting southpaws better than righties which makes him an everyday player if Kyle Garlick doesn’t make his return this season. 2. Ryan Jeffers Many complained about Jeffers’ bat, myself included, for much of the season. While he hasn’t lit the world on fire, it’s hard to deny that Jeffers has a superior glove to Gary Sanchez who’s played far too often since Jeffers went down. The former Yankee, a bat-first catcher, has given us a newfound appreciation for Jeffers’ modest offensive skills since he’s become the everyday catcher. Sanchez was 24% below the league average hitter in June, and a Drew Butera-esque 59% below in July. Not only is his defense not up to Jeffers’ standards, but the Twins have basically been giving away 3-4 free outs per game to their opponents from the catcher’s spot for over a month. Sandy Leon has begun eating into Gary’s playing time as he can at least provide stellar work behind the plate, but the Twins certainly would benefit from Jeffers return sooner rather than later. The floor of his framing work behind the plate and occasional hot streak sounds far superior to the current setup. It’s hopeful Jeffers returns towards the end of August and certainly for the stretch run in September. 1. Bailey Ober The Twins had a fantastic trade deadline, there’s no disputing that. They had a significant amount of needs and addressed the most important ones in a market that many teams called difficult. One more filler-type starting pitcher certainly wouldn’t have hurt, however. The Twins are in an interesting spot with the rotation. Joe Ryan has begun to surpass previous career highs in innings pitched. It’s hard to expect more than four innings pitched from Bundy and Archer every time out, and there’s little to no help on the way in the minors aside from Devin Smeltzer. A lot will hinge not only on the rotation staying healthy, but on the duo of Bundy and Archer occasionally providing starts that give the Twins a chance to win, which is no sure thing. Having Ober back even under the premise that he’s a solid #4 starter would be a game changer for a Twins rotation that lacks any kind of depth. It’s unclear what Ober’s timeline is, but we’ve been told we can expect him back this season still at this point. Hopefully good news starts to emerge sooner rather than later, as the Twins could surely use one of their lone bright spots from the 2021 rotation. Admittedly this list is plenty interchangeable and there are several options not even listed here. Let's be honest, we have plenty of injured players to choose from! Do you agree with the order of the list? Do you think someone not listed here deserves to be at the top? Let us know below. View full article
  24. It seems like there’s a new player added to the Injured List every other day as the Twins have found themselves filling out the daily lineup card with players we never imagined they’d be relying on. Outfield, catcher, pitchers of all roles, there’s nowhere the Twins haven’t felt the sting of injury. For them to get back on the right track, I’ve ranked the top 3 players in order of importance to how the Twins may wind up finishing their season. 3. Trevor Larnach Larnach last played at the end of June before undergoing core muscle surgery that turned out to be the likely source of his struggles before hitting the IL. Before being limited by injury, Larnach was a solid contributor to the Twins in multiple ways. The slugging left-hander was about league average in March and April before exploding to the tune of a .333/.431/.646 line in May. He also graded out well in every defensive metric, as what he lacked in outfield range, he made up for in sure-handedness and an arm that had bullied teams out of trying for extra bases. What was originally a six-week timetable appears to have been pushed back to closer to 10 weeks with little updates along the way. The Twins are hoping Larnach can be back in early September for the stretch run which would be huge for the lineup. Any kind of return to form would result in Larnach taking playing time away from players such as Jake Cave and Tim Beckham. Larnach should also slot into the top 4-5 spots in the lineup with his patient approach and bat capable of some much-needed fireworks. He’s been lefty-proof in his career thus far, actually hitting southpaws better than righties which makes him an everyday player if Kyle Garlick doesn’t make his return this season. 2. Ryan Jeffers Many complained about Jeffers’ bat, myself included, for much of the season. While he hasn’t lit the world on fire, it’s hard to deny that Jeffers has a superior glove to Gary Sanchez who’s played far too often since Jeffers went down. The former Yankee, a bat-first catcher, has given us a newfound appreciation for Jeffers’ modest offensive skills since he’s become the everyday catcher. Sanchez was 24% below the league average hitter in June, and a Drew Butera-esque 59% below in July. Not only is his defense not up to Jeffers’ standards, but the Twins have basically been giving away 3-4 free outs per game to their opponents from the catcher’s spot for over a month. Sandy Leon has begun eating into Gary’s playing time as he can at least provide stellar work behind the plate, but the Twins certainly would benefit from Jeffers return sooner rather than later. The floor of his framing work behind the plate and occasional hot streak sounds far superior to the current setup. It’s hopeful Jeffers returns towards the end of August and certainly for the stretch run in September. 1. Bailey Ober The Twins had a fantastic trade deadline, there’s no disputing that. They had a significant amount of needs and addressed the most important ones in a market that many teams called difficult. One more filler-type starting pitcher certainly wouldn’t have hurt, however. The Twins are in an interesting spot with the rotation. Joe Ryan has begun to surpass previous career highs in innings pitched. It’s hard to expect more than four innings pitched from Bundy and Archer every time out, and there’s little to no help on the way in the minors aside from Devin Smeltzer. A lot will hinge not only on the rotation staying healthy, but on the duo of Bundy and Archer occasionally providing starts that give the Twins a chance to win, which is no sure thing. Having Ober back even under the premise that he’s a solid #4 starter would be a game changer for a Twins rotation that lacks any kind of depth. It’s unclear what Ober’s timeline is, but we’ve been told we can expect him back this season still at this point. Hopefully good news starts to emerge sooner rather than later, as the Twins could surely use one of their lone bright spots from the 2021 rotation. Admittedly this list is plenty interchangeable and there are several options not even listed here. Let's be honest, we have plenty of injured players to choose from! Do you agree with the order of the list? Do you think someone not listed here deserves to be at the top? Let us know below.
  25. The Minnesota Twins were granted an off day after the Toronto Blue Jays were gifted a win on a controversial play. They parlayed that into an absolute drubbing at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers. While that’s understandable going on the road against the best team in baseball, the reactions warrant the question, “Does it really matter how Minnesota gets in?” Maybe this is a spoiler alert, but the answer should be “absolutely not!” The pinnacle of the sport is obviously a World Series, but to place that as the goal each season would be suggesting anything but an outcome afforded to one of thirty teams as a failure. Minnesota’s front office put a strong step forward at the trade deadline and to the club both for now and the future. In doing so, they’re still lightyears behind a Dodgers roster that has already surpassed 70 wins. Would it have been better to hang onto prospects and simply play for next year? Maybe Spencer Steer plays above his head and becomes the next Nolan Arenado. Maybe Cade Povich reaches the 200th percentile expectation and is the next Max Scherzer. None of that is likely, but it’s arguably as silly as worry about style points. It’s not the Twins fault that they play in the AL Central. Currently, the division is expected to be won by a team with somewhere around 84 victories. That’s just two above a .500 mark, and well below what the New York Yankees of the world will finish at. The Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Guardians continue to jockey for position alongside Minnesota, although no one has wanted to take a stranglehold on the lead. Minnesota isn’t alone in this pursuit. Both the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals find themselves in similar scenarios within the NL Central. That division has three of the worst teams in baseball however, a run down even from the American League counterpart. Frustrations certainly reign for both of those clubs as well, but the focus is on making it to October. At no point in their future history will the Twins be seen as a World Series favorite. They can be a team that contends for one though, and half the battle in doing so is making the tournament. The 2021 Atlanta Braves won the World Series coming off a season in which they finished with just 88 regular season wins. They then went 11-5 in the Postseason, winning three consecutive series, and grabbing their ring. Better teams existed, but they were the one that got it done. Ultimately what happens against the Dodgers on a random weeknight holds little weight when it comes to a final resting place. You don’t need to play the game in order to be aware New York, Los Angeles, or any host of other clubs have a better roster than the Twins. The games are played though, because on any given night, a different outcome can take place. Rocco Baldelli’s club faces the Cleveland Guardians and Chicago White Sox a combined 17 times after September 1. We still have a few weeks left in August for teams to jockey for position, but nothing is going to be decided until next month anyway. Evaluating games daily makes sense from a performance perspective. Suggesting each one is reflective of eventual outcomes when viewed through a vacuum isn’t a worthwhile practice. The Twins need to get Trevor Larnach, Kenta Maeda, Josh Winder, and Bailey Ober back. They need to continue to gel and have Tyler Mahle look like an ace with Sonny Gray following behind him. They need the lineup to work consistently with Carlos Correa and Byron Buxton leading them. Over the duration of the next few weeks, Minnesota’s goal should be to stack wins, same as any other period. The reality though, is that there are no style points to reaching the Postseason. Get there. Get it done. That’s the message sent by the front office when they added at the deadline. View full article
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