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  1. While it seems to have been a slow offseason so far, there have been and will soon be several more bits of information around the Minnesota Twins. Here is a list of nine things for you to consider as a Twins fan today.I haven't done one of these Nine Innings bits in awhile... I wasn't sure how I would fill all nine innings, but we've done it. This has topics all across the board. Please feel free to ask questions or leave comments below. First Inning - Eddie Rosario Outrighted Listen. No one thought that the #MNTwins were going to tender Eddie Rosario at the deadline Wednesday evening. But tonight, Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Twins have put Rosario on outright waivers. I got to know JP when he was the pitching coach in Cedar Rapids in 2017. Had some great conversations with him. He went to the same high school in New Orleans that the Mannings went to. More important to his role as a coach, he knows how to pitch. He reached AAA as a player. He’s coached as well as been the assistant pitching coordinator the last couple of seasons with the Twins. He also speaks Spanish (and English) fluently which is helpful too.He was also placed in charge of the Twins alternate site this summer in St. Paul. The Twins have certainly lost their fair share of player development staff. Derek Falvey has talked about not only player development but coaching development, front office development, and providing opportunities for people to move up the ladder with the Twins or elsewhere. Derek Shelton went from Twins bench coach to Pirates manager. James Rowson went from Twins hitting coach to Marlins bench coach and hitting coordinator. Jeremy Hefner went from assistant pitching coach with the Twins to pitching coach of the Mets. Tanner Swanson went from Twins minor league catching coordinator to Yankees MLB coach. Peter Fatse went from Twins minor league hitting coordinator to Red Sox assistant hitting coach. Edgar Varela went from Twins minor league coordinator to Twins hitting coach. Sixth Inning - (Trevor) May to the Mets Reports started coming out mid-afternoon on Tuesday that the Mets were close to a deal with Trevor May. It wasn’t long after that we had verification that, pending a physical, the Mets and Trevor May had agreed to a two-year, $15 million contract. May is one of the team bullpen arms available on the free agent market, and with this move, he sets the tone for that market. In 2020, May struck out 14.6 batters per nine innings and that number has been over 11 the past two years. He clearly has great stuff and could thrive in the Big Apple where he will be reunited with former Twins bullpen coach Jeremy Hefner. May has been a great ambassador for Twins baseball throughout his tenure with the team, but this is a good opportunity for him and hopefully it works out well for him. Seventh Inning - Top 60 Twins Players in 60 Seasons in Minnesota E-Book Available In Case You Missed It… over the past month, I have been working with “Nate Tubbs Rules” on an e-book. NTR updates his Top 300 Twins Player rankings after every season and it is enjoyable to read through those updates each year. With the Twins having just completed their 60th season in Minnesota in 2020, we wrote The Top 60 Twins Players in 60 Season in Minnesota, and it is available now for just $7.99 (immediate download). It includes fun profiles of the Top 60 players on his list and yes, it does name all of his Top 300 players. Yes, my personal Top 60 rankings is in the back of the book too. Please consider this e-book. If you are interested, you can order here. Last night, we spent about 40 minutes on a bonus Twins Spotlight discussing some of the fun topics of the rankings. Please enjoy. (Seth on WJON in St. Cloudtoday.) Eighth Inning - Kirilloff Bumps Lewis from Baseball America Top Spot On Monday, Baseball America released its updated Minnesota Twins Prospect rankings. Of note, they have now bumped Alex Kirilloff up from #2 to the #1 Twins prospect, a spot Royce Lewis has held for the past three offseasons. And no surprise, the two have always been kind of a 1a and 1b. Kirilloff certainly was the talk of the alternate site, and when he became the first player in MLB history to make his MLB debut by starting in a playoff game, more people started talking about him. I think the key is that Lewis’s star hasn’t diminished as much as Kirilloff has now been talked about more, and deservedly so. That said, I will continue to say that Trevor Larnach should be discussed in the same range as Kirilloff and Lewis. Carlos Collazo, who worked on the rankings for Baseball America, wrote in the Twins chatthat he has Larnach lumped into a group that includes Ryan Jeffers, Jhoan Duran and Jordan Balazovic. I personally have Larnach just a bit above that group, but that is a very good group. Literally all six of those guys should be in their Top 100 Prospect rankings when those come out in the spring. He then noted that there is a group from #7 through #12 or 13 that could be inter-changeable too, and I agree with that. That is an exciting group as well with both power hitters, strong offense/defense guys and about three more pitchers that all profile as potential big-league starters. Ninth Inning - A Minor Signing The Royals signed veteran lefty Mike Minor to a two-year, $18 million with a $13 million option for a third year. The Royals are adding a veteran to a staff that includes youngsters like Brady Singer and Kris Bubic and a plethora of pitching prospects that are potentially available in the next year or two. Danny Duffy becomes a free agent after the 2021 season. I have been a little surprised by the number of starting pitcher free agents who have already signed. Not sure what that will mean over the long course of an offseason, but it is encouraging. That’s all I’ve got. Nine innings worth. Hopefully you have enjoyed it, and I welcome any questions or comments that you have below. Click here to view the article
  2. I haven't done one of these Nine Innings bits in awhile... I wasn't sure how I would fill all nine innings, but we've done it. This has topics all across the board. Please feel free to ask questions or leave comments below. First Inning - Eddie Rosario Outrighted Listen. No one thought that the #MNTwins were going to tender Eddie Rosario at the deadline Wednesday evening. But tonight, Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Twins have put Rosario on outright waivers. https://twitter.com/Ken_Rosenthal/status/1333948164244647937 I know I held out some hope that some team would be willing to give up a Low A pitching prospect for Rosario, and certainly the Twins tried, but they couldn’t find a taker. https://twitter.com/Ken_Rosenthal/status/1333948257819631618 Instead of just non-tendering him tomorrow, and making him a free agent, the Twins are hoping to find a team that will take whatever number they agree to in arbitration. Rosario has been a controversial player. Ultimately, since he debuted in 2015, he has been a very productive player. While he comes with flaws that he just hasn’t been able to overcome, he has also produced in the middle of the Twins lineup. I know it has become cliche for me to do so, but I truly have enjoyed watching Eddie Rosario in a Twins uniform. He is absolutely entertaining when you just sit back and take the good with the bad. Most likely, he will go unclaimed by the 1:00 deadline on Wednesday and become a free agent. Second Inning - Wednesday is Decision Day Teams have until 7:00 central time on Wednesday night to decide whether to tender a 2021 contract for its arbitration eligible players. If they are non-tendered, they become a free agent. Taylor Rogers is the one other Twins player who some think could be non-tendered, but I think it’s most logical for the Twins to bring him back for 2021. The other players who are arbitration-eligible are: Jose Berrios, Byron Buxton, Tyler Duffey, Mitch Garver, Caleb Thielbar, and Matt Wisler. I would be surprised if any of them were non-tendered. However, it is possible that the team agrees to terms with a player or two before the deadline as well. Of that group, which if any are most likely to sign a deal ahead of the deadline? Third Inning - Offseason Live TONIGHT (Reacting to the Non-Tender Deadline) Tonight at 8:00 central time, Nick Nelson, Seth Stohs and David Young will react to the day in Twins news, specifically to the arbitration decisions that are made. Join us live on Twins Daily’s Twitter, Facebook or YouTube pages. Fourth Inning - Realigning the Minor Leagues The Star Tribune is reporting that the Twins and MLB will be announcing their re-aligned minor league system in the near future. In the worst kept secret in baseball, the St. Paul Saints will become the Twins Triple-A affiliate. The Wichita Wind Surge will become the Twins new Double-A affiliate. The two Twins Class A affiliates will switch levels. The Midwest League and the Cedar Rapids Kernels will move from Low-A to High-A with the Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels and the rest of the Florida State League moving to a Low-A affiliation. For much more on these changes, check out Tom’s Minor League Realignment article tonight. My thoughts? First and foremost, I will miss conversations with some really good people at both Rochester and at Pensacola. The Red Wings have such an incredible baseball history going back well over a century. The Blue Wahoos were only a Twins affiliate for two seasons, but their stadium is remarkable and the people there were so helpful. That said, there are obvious reasons for wanting their Triple-A affiliate in St. Paul, a dozen miles from Target Field. It’ll be much easier to call people up or send them down. It will be great for rehab assignments. And, with the Twins in a position to win and so many exciting prospects, it is great for baseball in Minnesota. As for Wichita, they built a new $75 million stadium just a year ago. It was supposed to be the Marlins AAA affiliate, but then came COVID, a missed season and re-alignment. Seems like it would be a great facility for Twins prospects. I am happy that Cedar Rapids remains an affiliate, and it’s exciting - I would think - for them and their fans to move up a level, to get a higher level of play with a more advanced league. I will always encourage baseball fans from the Twin Cities to try to make a trip or two each season to watch the Kernels. And, with the Twins player development site and the academy in Ft. Myers, it makes sense to keep players there for their first step up rather than sending them to Cedar Rapids right away. That will be good especially for transactions at that Low-A level. Easy to call guys up from across the parking lot. So overall, I am very comfortable with how this has played out, and over time I think it will prove itself to be a good thing for the organization. I just still feel bad about losing the Elizabethton affiliate and the great history of that team. And I feel worse that the Twins have just let go of long-time leaders and coaches in Ray Smith and Jeff Reed. Fifth Inning - Twins Lose Another Player Development Leader to Big-League Job JP Martinez was announced on Tuesday night as the new assistant pitching coach of the San Francisco Giants. A week earlier we had heard rumblings that he was seen as a favorite. Now it isi Twitter official. https://twitter.com/SFGiants/status/1333936170024140802 I got to know JP when he was the pitching coach in Cedar Rapids in 2017. Had some great conversations with him. He went to the same high school in New Orleans that the Mannings went to. More important to his role as a coach, he knows how to pitch. He reached AAA as a player. He’s coached as well as been the assistant pitching coordinator the last couple of seasons with the Twins. He also speaks Spanish (and English) fluently which is helpful too.He was also placed in charge of the Twins alternate site this summer in St. Paul. The Twins have certainly lost their fair share of player development staff. Derek Falvey has talked about not only player development but coaching development, front office development, and providing opportunities for people to move up the ladder with the Twins or elsewhere. Derek Shelton went from Twins bench coach to Pirates manager. James Rowson went from Twins hitting coach to Marlins bench coach and hitting coordinator. Jeremy Hefner went from assistant pitching coach with the Twins to pitching coach of the Mets. Tanner Swanson went from Twins minor league catching coordinator to Yankees MLB coach. Peter Fatse went from Twins minor league hitting coordinator to Red Sox assistant hitting coach. Edgar Varela went from Twins minor league coordinator to Twins hitting coach. Sixth Inning - (Trevor) May to the Mets Reports started coming out mid-afternoon on Tuesday that the Mets were close to a deal with Trevor May. It wasn’t long after that we had verification that, pending a physical, the Mets and Trevor May had agreed to a two-year, $15 million contract. May is one of the team bullpen arms available on the free agent market, and with this move, he sets the tone for that market. In 2020, May struck out 14.6 batters per nine innings and that number has been over 11 the past two years. He clearly has great stuff and could thrive in the Big Apple where he will be reunited with former Twins bullpen coach Jeremy Hefner. May has been a great ambassador for Twins baseball throughout his tenure with the team, but this is a good opportunity for him and hopefully it works out well for him. Seventh Inning - Top 60 Twins Players in 60 Seasons in Minnesota E-Book Available In Case You Missed It… over the past month, I have been working with “Nate Tubbs Rules” on an e-book. NTR updates his Top 300 Twins Player rankings after every season and it is enjoyable to read through those updates each year. With the Twins having just completed their 60th season in Minnesota in 2020, we wrote The Top 60 Twins Players in 60 Season in Minnesota, and it is available now for just $7.99 (immediate download). It includes fun profiles of the Top 60 players on his list and yes, it does name all of his Top 300 players. Yes, my personal Top 60 rankings is in the back of the book too. Please consider this e-book. If you are interested, you can order here. Last night, we spent about 40 minutes on a bonus Twins Spotlight discussing some of the fun topics of the rankings. Please enjoy. (Seth on WJON in St. Cloud today.) Eighth Inning - Kirilloff Bumps Lewis from Baseball America Top Spot On Monday, Baseball America released its updated Minnesota Twins Prospect rankings. Of note, they have now bumped Alex Kirilloff up from #2 to the #1 Twins prospect, a spot Royce Lewis has held for the past three offseasons. And no surprise, the two have always been kind of a 1a and 1b. Kirilloff certainly was the talk of the alternate site, and when he became the first player in MLB history to make his MLB debut by starting in a playoff game, more people started talking about him. I think the key is that Lewis’s star hasn’t diminished as much as Kirilloff has now been talked about more, and deservedly so. That said, I will continue to say that Trevor Larnach should be discussed in the same range as Kirilloff and Lewis. Carlos Collazo, who worked on the rankings for Baseball America, wrote in the Twins chat that he has Larnach lumped into a group that includes Ryan Jeffers, Jhoan Duran and Jordan Balazovic. I personally have Larnach just a bit above that group, but that is a very good group. Literally all six of those guys should be in their Top 100 Prospect rankings when those come out in the spring. He then noted that there is a group from #7 through #12 or 13 that could be inter-changeable too, and I agree with that. That is an exciting group as well with both power hitters, strong offense/defense guys and about three more pitchers that all profile as potential big-league starters. Ninth Inning - A Minor Signing The Royals signed veteran lefty Mike Minor to a two-year, $18 million with a $13 million option for a third year. The Royals are adding a veteran to a staff that includes youngsters like Brady Singer and Kris Bubic and a plethora of pitching prospects that are potentially available in the next year or two. Danny Duffy becomes a free agent after the 2021 season. I have been a little surprised by the number of starting pitcher free agents who have already signed. Not sure what that will mean over the long course of an offseason, but it is encouraging. That’s all I’ve got. Nine innings worth. Hopefully you have enjoyed it, and I welcome any questions or comments that you have below.
  3. On Thursday night's episode of Offseason Live, I chatted with fellow Twins Daily writers Matthew Taylor and David Youngs about the players hitting free agency this winter. The Twins are facing the prospect of losing eight players to the market, or possibly nine, depending on what they decide to do with Sergio Romo's team option. You can watch the episode below, or scroll down for a quick overview of the nine players in question, their situations, and a key stat to keep in mind for each. Feel free to share your opinions on who should stay or go in the comments. Sergio Romo, RP 2020 Stats: 20 IP, 4.05 ERA, 4.34 FIP, 1.15 WHIP, 10.4 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 The Situation: The Twins traded for Romo at the 2019 deadline as a pending free agent, and then brought him back last winter on a one-year deal with a $5 million option for 2021. Activating that option seemed like a no-brainer midway through the season, as he was dominating with his slider and siphoning save opportunities from Taylor Rogers, but Romo faltered down the stretch and in the playoffs. He turns 38 in March, and $5 million is a pretty penny for a relief pitcher if you don't think he'll be a major asset. Declining Romo's option would give the Twins more flexibility to try and retain the following players. Key Stat: 1.03 WHIP and 10.4 K/9 in 51 appearances with Twins Alex Avila, C 2020 Stats: 62 PA, .184/.355/.286, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 0.2 fWAR The Situation: The Twins tabbed Avila as Mitch Garver's backup last offseason, signing him to a one-year deal worth $4.75 million. The veteran ended up playing a fairly minor role for the Twins, accruing only 30% of PAs among catchers, and he didn't hit a lick. That said, he was reliable defensively and his .355 OBP tied for fourth-best on the team (50+ PA). If the Twins want to carry three catchers in 2021, they could do a lot worse than bringing Avila back on a cheap one-year deal. Key Stat: Started 19 of 63 games (including playoffs) for Twins and batted .184 Ehire Adrianza, UTIL 2020 Stats: 101 PA, .191/.287/.270, 0 HR, 3 RBI, -0.1 fWAR The Situation: Adrianza heads into free agency for the first time with a thud. He seemed to be shaking his rep as a no-hit utilityman over three seasons in Minnesota, posting a respectable .260/.321/.391 slash line from 2017 through 2019 and enjoying a career year in the latter (.765 OPS). But Adrianza fell apart at the plate in a 2020 season where he appeared in 44 of the team's 60 games. The 31-year-old may struggle to find a major-league league deal, though his ability to play a quality shortstop is a differentiating strength. Key Stat: Career-low .557 OPS in 2020 Marwin Gonzalez, UTIL 2020 Stats: 199 PA, .211/.286/.320, 5 HR, 22 RBI, 0.2 fWAR The Situation: Playing out the last year of his two-year, $21 million contract with the Twins, Gonzalez was an all-out disaster in 2020. Injuries forced the team to lean on him heavily – he started 51 of 60 games, and ranked fifth on the team in PAs – but he let them down in a big way, grading as one of the worst regulars in all of baseball. He turns 32 in March, has seen his OPS+ drop in three consecutive seasons, and his athleticism is rapidly declining (his sprint speed has fallen from the 39th to 27th to 20th percentile). Add in the taint of involvement with the cheating Astros, and it seems very unlikely Gonzalez will have a remotely welcoming offseason market. Key Stat: Ranked 137th out of 142 qualified MLB players in OPS in 2020 Tyler Clippard, RP 2020 Stats: 26 IP, 2.77 ERA, 2.65 FIP, 0.89 WHIP, 9.0 K/9, 1.4 BB/9 The Situation: Signed to a $2.75 million deal last offseason, Clippard was an unheralded hero of the Twins bullpen. He led all relievers in innings, started two games as opener, finished another, and was altogether an incredibly versatile and reliable arm. Minnesota signed him to be a weapon against lefties, and he was, but he also shut down right-handed hitters. Given the valuable role he played on this year's club, Clippard would seemingly be very appealing to the Twins (and other teams) on a similar contract. Key Stat: Held LH batters to .213 average (.479 OPS) in 2020. Held RH batters to .191 average (.607 OPS). Trevor May, RP 2020 Stats: 23.1 IP, 3.86 ERA, 3.62 FIP, 1.16 WHIP, 14.7 K/9, 2.7 BB/9 The Situation: In his career as a reliever, May has averaged 12.0 K/9 with a 3.49 ERA over 188 ⅓ innings. He's one of the best strikeout pitchers in the league, and in 2019 he set new personal records for strikeout rate, whiff rate, and fastball velocity. His proneness to home runs (five allowed in 23 ⅓ frames) was the lone blemish on a remarkably dominant season out of the bullpen. A top-tier power arm hitting his stride just as he hits free agency at 31, May is likely to be in high demand. Can the Twins afford to keep him around? ... Can they afford not to? Key Stat: His career 10.5 K/9 rate is 2nd-highest in Twins history (min. 300 IP), behind Joe Nathan Rich Hill, SP 2020 Stats: 38.2 IP, 3.03 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 7.2 K/9, 4.0 BB/9 The Situation: At times, it looked like Hill might not have it anymore. The Twins knew they were gambling on the left-hander, who signed an incentive-laden one-year contract coming off elbow surgery at age 40. He had his rough patches. His control worsened, his strikeout and whiff rates plummeted, and at one point his shoulder acted up. But by the time September rolled around, Hill had rounded into form, looking every bit like the gritty difference-maker of repute. Whether he can do it again, at age 41 in what figures to be a more full-length season, is very much an open question. Key Stat: In 4 September starts, posted 2.38 ERA and .190 BAA Jake Odorizzi, SP 2020 Stats: 13.2 IP, 6.59 ERA, 6.12 FIP, 7.9 K/9, 2.0 BB/9 The Situation: Returning to the Twins after accepting a qualifying offer for $17.8 million a year ago, the 2020 season was a complete wash for Odorizzi. He opened on the Injured List, and saw two attempted comebacks stymied by misfortune: first, a line drive to the ribs, and then a bloody blister opened on his finger. His ability and talent have been plain to see when healthy, but it's going to be hard for Odorizzi to command what he probably deserves coming off a lost season. If the Twins can find a sensible way to bring him back, he'd be a hell of a fourth starter. Key Stat: Holds lowest overall FIP (3.88) of any Twins SP since 2011 Nelson Cruz, DH 2020 Stats: 214 PA, .303/.397/.595, 16 HR, 33 RBI, 2.0 fWAR The Situation: He's been the Twins' best hitter for two years running, and one of the most feared hitters in the major leagues. He's also a clubhouse leader and beloved teammate, credited for helping players around him develop and mature. The thought of losing Cruz is tough, but he'll turn 41 next summer and historically, performance drop-offs have hit rapidly and without warning for players at this age. He also figures to have a fairly favorable offseason market, with the universal DH doubling his potential suitors. If the Twins have ~$30 million to spend this offseason (as our ballparked) can they afford to spend half of it on Cruz with other needs to address? Key Stat: 57 HR and 141 RBIs in 173 games with Twins Offseason Live Schedule Ep 1: (Thurs, 10/8) Ep 2: (Tues, 10/13) Ep 3: (Thurs, 10/15) Ep 4: Twins Arbitration Decisions (Tues, 10/20) Ep 5: Free Agency – Catchers & Infield (Thurs, 10/22) Ep 6: Free Agency – Outfield & DH (Tues, 10/27) Ep 7: Free Agency – Starting Pitchers (Thurs, 10/29) Ep 8: Free Agency – Relief Pitchers (Thurs, 11/5) Ep 9: Twins Trade Targets (Tues, 11/10) Ep 10: Offseason Blueprints (Thurs, 11/12) Follow us on social media to catch the live shows (they're broadcast via Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube) and subscribe to our podcast to receive the audio versions of any episodes you miss. We'll also be featuring the content and embedding the videos in articles here on the site. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  4. October is going to look different this season with no off days in scheduled in each of the first three rounds. There is some time off between each round, but bullpens are going to be even more important in this tight schedule. These power rankings aren’t about who should be used in a specific spot because the manager can be creative in the playoffs. The rankings below are about who is pitching well and who has the best stuff to succeed in October. 10. Sean Poppen (4.70 ERA, 1.70 WHIP, 10 K, 7 2/3 IP) Poppen has seen limited time for the Twins this year and it seems unlikely that he would be called on in October. His lone role might be to eat some innings if there was a blowout. He also hasn’t pitched in a game in nearly two weeks. Twins fans don’t want to see him on the mound in the playoffs, because that likely means something went wrong in the game. 9. Caleb Thielbar (1.69 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 20 K, 16 IP) Thielbar has been a feel-good story for the Twins this season as his pitching performance certainly has matched a player that hasn’t pitching in the big leagues since 2015. If you take out his first appearance, he has a 0.66 ERA while holding batters to a .149/.259/.149 (.408) slash-line. Also, he has been asked to get more than three outs four of his fourteen games, which is likely something he wouldn’t be asked to do in the postseason. On other teams, he’d rank much higher. 8. Cody Stashak (3.09 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 15 K, 11 2/3 IP) Stashak has been really good and him being this low shows the depth of the Twins bullpen. He’s only allowed runs in two of his nine appearances and he has multiple strikeouts in over half of his outings. His one bad appearance was an inning where he allowed three runs to Kansas City. Rocco Baldelli has shown faith in using him in the late innings of close games. With few off days in each series, Stashak might be needed for some big outs. 7. Jorge Alcala (2.91 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 27 K, 21 2/3 IP) Alcala might have helped Twins fans to forget about Brusdar Graterol since he is basically filling the same role on the team. He’s also been better than Graterol this season. His fastball will certainly play in October and he’s used his slider nearly as often. His Baseball Savant page is also the thing of dreams as he ranks as ranks higher than the 80th percentile in all but one category. He could be the team’s closer of the future and October could be his month to shine on the big stage. 6. Matt Wisler (1.11 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 34 K, 24 1/3 IP) Wilser has been the Twins diamond in the rough this year. Claimed off waivers, the Twins have helped him to morph into one of the American League’s best relief pitchers. According to Baseball Reference, he is tied with Jose Berrios for the fourth highest WAR on the team behind Byron Buxton, Kenta Maeda, and Nelson Cruz. He’s been used as an opener, earned a save, and has five holds to his name. His versatility could be useful with how effective he continues to be. 5. Tyler Clippard (2.78 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 22 K, 22 2/3 IP) Minnesota saw plenty of Clippard last year in Cleveland and he’s been nearly as good so far this year. He could actually move down this list with some recent poor performances. In three of his last four appearances, runs have been scored against him, so his worst stretch of the season might be coming at the wrong time. Baldelli will likely continue to turn to him because he is a 14-year veteran with 14 playoff appearances during his career. 4. Sergio Romo (2.89 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 22 K, 18 2/3 IP) Since the Twins acquired him last year, Romo has been getting plenty of late inning opportunities out of the Twins bullpen. Taylor Rogers has struggled at times this year and this has led the Twins to continue to use Romo in late inning situations. Fans saw this as recently as Sunday night in Chicago with Rogers getting the eighth and Romo getting the ninth. Things got a little shaky in that game, but he has a long playoff track record and he’s going to be trusted to get outs in the eighth and ninth inning. 3. Taylor Rogers (4.58 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 22 K, 17 2/3 IP) Rogers and his struggles have been well documented throughout this season. In such a small sample size, luck might be accounting for some of his poor performance. His BABIP is one of the highest among all relief pitchers and his 4.58 ERA comes with a 2.84 FIP. Some of his issues this year might also be tied to the use of his breaking pitches. As Nick wrote about last week, his curve spin rate has flattened out and this could be one reason for more solid contact against him. Whether it’s luck or a poor breaking ball, the Twins need Rogers to be in peak form by the start of next week. 2. Trevor May (4.35 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 34 K, 20 2/3 IP) Back on September 6, May blew up in a loss to Detroit as he allowed three runs on four hits and saw his ERA rise to 5.74. In his last five appearances, he has been nearly unhittable with opponents limited to two hits, both singles. He has struck out eight in five innings and nearly 60% of his WPA for the season has come during this recent stretch. Even though his season hasn’t been perfect, he’s been Minnesota’s hottest reliever to end the season. 1. Tyler Duffey (1.69 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 28 K, 21 1/3 IP) Duffey is the Twins best relief pitcher and it might not be close. If an opponent’s heart of the line-up is coming up in a key spot, Duffey gets the call in the bullpen. These types of situations will only be more amplified in the upcoming postseason. So far this season, he has pitched in any inning from the fourth to the eighth, because Baldelli trusts him in any situation. He isn’t the Twins closer, because he is better than any of the closing options for the Twins. How would you rank the Twins bullpen? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  5. Trevor May May will turn 31-years old later this month and this winter will mark his first chance to be a free agent. Over the last two seasons, he has developed into one of the team’s best and most trusted relief arms. In just over 78 innings, he’s posted a 3.22 ERA with a 1.09 WHIP and 101 strikeouts. His high leverage usage also means he is in the top-20 for win probability added among AL relief arms. It stinks that May is hitting free agency for the first time during the current financial situation. He has been one of the league’s best relievers and he deserves to be paid appropriately. Likely, this won’t happen with the way free agency is going to be approached by many front offices. Jake Odorizzi Odorizzi could have been a free agent last off-season, but he decided to take the team’s one-year qualifying offer and head back to Minnesota. He was coming off an All-Star season, so the time seemed right to hit the open market, but last year’s free agent pitching class had a lot of names ahead of Odorizzi. At the time, it seemed like a good decision for him and the Twins with the one-year deal. It would give him the chance to stay with a coaching staff he liked and to build off his 2019 campaign. Unfortunately, he and his agent didn’t have a crystal ball to see everything that would happen in 2020. MLB’s season was delayed, and this gave Odorizzi fewer opportunities to showcase his abilities. He’s also been on the injured list multiple times and he hasn’t performed well on the mound. Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong and now free agency is waiting for him. Ehire Adrianza Adrianza is in an interesting spot, because his skill set is readily available on the open market. In fact, Minnesota had a similar player in Ildemaro Vargas on the roster this season before he was claimed by the Cubs. In his first three seasons with the Twins, he averaged 89 games and slashed .260/.321/.391 with decent defense at multiple infield positions. Basically, what a team would want from a utility infielder. The 2020 season hasn’t been kind to Adrianza as he has been limited to a .466 OPS with 14 strikeouts in 59 at-bats. He’s making $1.6 million this season and it seems like his role on the team could be filled by a similar player in the organization like Nick Gordon. Adrianza is a superior defender to other internal options, but his value continues to be limited and he will be 31-years old next season. He seems like a player that might be forced to take a minor league deal before forcing his way onto a big-league roster. What do you think about this free agent trio? What will their market be this winter? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  6. Next winter’s MLB free agency is going to take on a very different look and feel. Clubs have seen their revenues drastically cut and teams aren’t going to want to deal out big contracts with such an uncertain future facing the sport. Players like Nelson Cruz and Alex Avila will likely do fine in free agency because of their skill set and the role they can fill on multiple clubs, but other Twins players are going to have a little tougher time finding the right free agent deal.Trevor May May will turn 31-years old later this month and this winter will mark his first chance to be a free agent. Over the last two seasons, he has developed into one of the team’s best and most trusted relief arms. In just over 78 innings, he’s posted a 3.22 ERA with a 1.09 WHIP and 101 strikeouts. His high leverage usage also means he is in the top-20 for win probability added among AL relief arms. It stinks that May is hitting free agency for the first time during the current financial situation. He has been one of the league’s best relievers and he deserves to be paid appropriately. Likely, this won’t happen with the way free agency is going to be approached by many front offices. Jake Odorizzi Odorizzi could have been a free agent last off-season, but he decided to take the team’s one-year qualifying offer and head back to Minnesota. He was coming off an All-Star season, so the time seemed right to hit the open market, but last year’s free agent pitching class had a lot of names ahead of Odorizzi. At the time, it seemed like a good decision for him and the Twins with the one-year deal. It would give him the chance to stay with a coaching staff he liked and to build off his 2019 campaign. Unfortunately, he and his agent didn’t have a crystal ball to see everything that would happen in 2020. MLB’s season was delayed, and this gave Odorizzi fewer opportunities to showcase his abilities. He’s also been on the injured list multiple times and he hasn’t performed well on the mound. Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong and now free agency is waiting for him. Ehire Adrianza Adrianza is in an interesting spot, because his skill set is readily available on the open market. In fact, Minnesota had a similar player in Ildemaro Vargas on the roster this season before he was claimed by the Cubs. In his first three seasons with the Twins, he averaged 89 games and slashed .260/.321/.391 with decent defense at multiple infield positions. Basically, what a team would want from a utility infielder. The 2020 season hasn’t been kind to Adrianza as he has been limited to a .466 OPS with 14 strikeouts in 59 at-bats. He’s making $1.6 million this season and it seems like his role on the team could be filled by a similar player in the organization like Nick Gordon. Adrianza is a superior defender to other internal options, but his value continues to be limited and he will be 31-years old next season. He seems like a player that might be forced to take a minor league deal before forcing his way onto a big-league roster. What do you think about this free agent trio? What will their market be this winter? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  7. Aaron and John talk about an up-and-down week that saw the Twins snap a long losing streak, go on a winning streak, welcome back Josh Donaldson, Byron Buxton, and Michael Pineda, and call up Brent Rooker and Willians Astudillo. You can listen by downloading us from iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio or find it at GleemanAndTheGeek.com. Or just click this link. Listen Here Click here to view the article
  8. From the start of the 2017 season to the end of the 2019 season, Taylor Rogers had been one of the best relief pitchers in baseball. Over that timespan, Rogers ranked 15th in baseball in ERA (2.75) and 15th in fWAR (4.3). In what had been rollercoaster season for the Twins’ various relief groups, Rogers had been the steady force who could be counted on in the highest of leverage situations. Down the stretch run of 2019 and into the 2020 season, though, there have been some chinks in the armor. After an outstanding first half of the 2019 season (1.82 ERA), Taylor Rogers stumbled a bit down the stretch, posting a second half ERA of 3.68. Rogers has continued that poor stretch into the 2020 season as he now owns a 4.82 ERA through the first third of the season, while batters own a batting average north of .300 against him. Thus far in the 2020 season, the biggest difference in Taylor Rogers struggles have been the ability for opposing batters to square up and make hard contact on his pitches. In 2018 and 2019, Rogers ranked in the top 25% of baseball in limiting hard contact for opposing batters. Thus far in 2020, though, Rogers ranks in the bottom third in baseball in limiting hard contact, allowing a hard hit percentage of 40.7. The hard hits have led to some tough outings for Rogers, who has allowed runs in three of his 10 outings, two of them resulting in multiple runs, and all three of them blowing a tie or a lead. In addition to the runs allowed, Rogers has seemingly had to work his way through every outing. In 2019, Taylor Rogers got through 42% of his appearances without allowing a hit, while in 2020 he has allowed a hit in seven of his 10 outings. While Taylor Rogers has taken a small step back from his "eliteness" over the past 13 months, there have been several other arms in the Minnesota Twins bullpen that have made the leap forward to being outstanding relief options. https://twitter.com/MatthewTaylorMN/status/1296527817153421313?s=20 As you can see above, Taylor Rogers still has a very respectable 3.82 ERA since last July, but other arms have simply been better — namely, Trevor May and Tyler Duffey. Trevor May has the best pure “stuff” of anyone on the Minnesota Twins bullpen, utilizing a 98 MPH fastball and a slider that completely fools batters at the plate. Tyler Duffey, in the meantime, has developed into one of the best relief pitchers in all of baseball, becoming practically unhittable every time he takes the mound. May and Duffey both tout right handedness in an American League where the majority of the best hitters come from the right side of the plate. Taylor Rogers still has the command and the stuff to work his way back up the bullpen pecking order, but Trevor May and Tyler Duffey have done enough over what has worked out to be a half-season sample size to become the high leverage arms in this relief group. In a shortened season in which every game (theoretically) means 2.7 times more than it normally would, it’s time for the pecking order to be rearranged and for the Twins bullpen stars to get their time to shine. Do you think Taylor Rogers should be moved down the bullpen pecking order? Would you rather see Trevor May or Tyler Duffey as the “highest” leverage arm? Leave a comment below and start the conversation! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  9. So far in his two seasons as manager, Rocco Baldelli has shown a preference for giving players time off and allowing pitchers to throw in situations that best fit their role. He adjusted his bullpen usage last season because the team’s relief core was struggling through parts of the first half. In fact, that was one of the team’s biggest needs at the trade deadline last season (See the team’s trade for Sam Dyson and Sergio Romo). Luckily for the Twins players like Tyler Duffey and Trevor May have emerged and the team went out and signed a veteran arm like Tyler Clippard while resigning Romo. This leaves the Twins with one of the baseball’s best bullpens, but their second-year manager could approach the team’s bullpen usage in a different way than he has through the team’s first third of the season. There are two different ways to rank the bullpen when it comes to effectiveness and how the manager views the hierarchy. Taylor Rogers is clearly at the back end of any bullpen configuration for the Twins. From there, things get a little dicey. Baldelli is inclined to use Romo as the team’s alternate closer, but it can be argued that he is the team’s fifth best relief option. The players that should be ahead of Romo in the bullpen pecking order are Tyler Duffey, Trevor May and Tyler Clippard. Duffey has turned himself into one of the most dominant right-handed relief pitchers in the American League. He might be even better than Taylor Rogers, the team’s closer, and that’s quite the honor. May tends to allow some home runs and Clippard is on the backend of his career. So, how could the Twins do a better job of using these pitchers? Minnesota’s offense hasn’t been performing at the same level as the 2019 team and it would be hard to live up to the same level as the record-setting “Bomba Squad.” Still, the trend so far this season has been to turn to less established relief arms when the team is trailing in a game. The names mentioned above are saved for if/when the team takes the lead and other players like Cody Stashak, Matt Wisler and Caleb Theilbar are trusted to keep the team in the game. https://twitter.com/AaronGleeman/status/1292951071556374530?s=20 Twins manager Rocco Baldelli seems to be in the frame of mind that using his best pitchers in deficit games is will have negative results. This seems like a logical response for a manager if the season is 162-games. Unfortunately, the team isn’t in the midst of a season that long. Even the best teams this season will only win around 35 games. This is going to force managers with good bullpens, like Baldelli, to use his good relief arms when the team is trailing. Unless a starting pitcher is pulled after three innings, there is little chance to use Rogers, Duffey, May, Clippard and Romo all in the same game. If the Twins go on a winning streak, this type of bullpen usage could help the team. The team could have a better chance to win by spreading the team’s five best relief pitchers over the course of multiple games. There has also been a plethora of pitching injuries so far this year so allowing pitchers to rest could help the team to stay healthy down the stretch. Out of bullpen arms, Clippard and Wisler have the most innings and that includes Clippard making multiple starts as an opener. Romo, Duffey, Stashak and May have all pitched more than Rogers. In fact, Rogers has barely pitched more than rookie Jorge Alcala. In the grand scheme of a shortened schedule, bullpen usage might not matter until the games count in the playoffs. It is still perplexing to consider the way Baldelli has approached his relief options so far in 2020. Are you concerned with the team’s bullpen usage so far this season? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  10. When headed to Spring Training prior to the 2019 season, the Twins were coming off of two years in which they finished 24th and 18th as a bullpen respectively. Garvin Alston had been shown the door, and so too had skipper Paul Molitor. In an age where rotations had become simply a means to an end, it was the power bullpens that reigned supreme. Breaking camp to head north Rocco Baldelli and Wes Johnson took a relief corps that included Taylor Rogers, Adlaberto Mejia, Trevor May, Blake Parker, Trevor Hildenberger, and Ryne Harper. Just two of those names remain for the 2020 squad, and they’ve now been developed into absolute studs. Coming out of the 2019 season, Johnson and Baldelli had orchestrated a relief group that posted the third best fWAR (7.3) across baseball. Rogers and May were joined by Tyler Duffey in hitting career marks, and Zack Littell was groomed into a solid back end arm. Though this group may not have the names of some other top units, their creating household numbers on their own. Johnson helped Rogers to produce the 11th best single season reliever fWAR (2.1) in Twins history. It was the best single-season performance since 2006 when Joe Nathan recorded the second-best mark (3.1) in club history, and it was a step up from Taylor’s already impressive 2018 season. It isn’t just about what Johnson got out of an already good arm, however. Acquired in the Ben Revere trade with the Philadelphia Phillies, Trevor May never worked out as a starter. Injuries mounted, and after sorting out his back issues, relief work became the way to go. He posted a career best FIP in 2018 and ratcheted up the strikeout numbers. Last year though, he became a true shutdown type while posting 11.1 K/9, and career lows in both H/9 (6.0) and HR/9 (1.1). Joining May in taking a step forward was Tyler Duffey. The former Rice closer went down the starting path and we nearly cast aside after a disastrous 7.20 ERA in 2018. Over 57.2 IP a year ago, he turned in a 2.50 ERA, 12.8 K/9 (nearly double the 2018 number), and a 3.06 FIP. With one of the best curveballs on the staff, the guy known as Doof certainly can mow 'em down in big moments. Minnesota identified Sergio Romo in an astute trade during last year’s deadline, and the fan favorite was brought back this year after posting a 146 ERA+ and 10.6 K/9. Looking great in Cleveland a year ago, 35-year-old Tyler Clippard and his strong career numbers over 13 years were added to the veteran presence. Being able to add Littell, who posted a 0.88 ERA and 27/8 K/BB over his final 30.2 IP, was one of the Twins great accomplishments a season ago. Matt Wisler is a former Top-100 prospect that hasn’t seen big league success, but there’s no denying Johnson sees something he likes there. Minnesota gave him a guaranteed contract, and the slider is a pitch to work with. Then there’s phenom Brusdar Graterol. It’s hardly a death sentence to send a 21-year-old kid to the bullpen (ask Johan Santana). Still looking to develop a complete repertoire, Graterol’s triple-digit heater should be plenty useful when attacking the opposition. Baldelli being able to go there in earlier innings is something a luxury only a pen this good could afford. Maybe his role is tweaked down the line, but there’s something to be said about adding arguably the best available relief arm by simply picking from your own organization. Things never go according to plan, so being able to rest on depth like Cody Stashak and his nutty 25/1 debut K/BB, or Jorge Alcala and his big fastball are certainly realities new to the organization. When hired from the Indians organization it was consistently noted that Derek Falvey’s calling card was developing pitching. It’s not hard to see how powerful the infrastructure he’s blueprinted now is, and the fruit that it continues to bear. Minnesota was topped by the Rays (7.6 fWAR) and Yankees (7.5) last year. Jumping to that top spot isn't at all unlikely. This ain’t your grandad’s Minnesota Twins bullpen. They have to go out and perform, but this is a unit that is going to be an absolute problem in the best way possible. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  11. Rewind a year and the talk around this time was how poor the Minnesota Twins bullpen looked going into 2019. The team was coming off a down year, and relievers looked capable of ceding leads. New pitching coach, new manager, many similar faces, then. The narrative is entirely different for 2020.When headed to Spring Training prior to the 2019 season, the Twins were coming off of two years in which they finished 24th and 18th as a bullpen respectively. Garvin Alston had been shown the door, and so too had skipper Paul Molitor. In an age where rotations had become simply a means to an end, it was the power bullpens that reigned supreme. Breaking camp to head north Rocco Baldelli and Wes Johnson took a relief corps that included Taylor Rogers, Adlaberto Mejia, Trevor May, Blake Parker, Trevor Hildenberger, and Ryne Harper. Just two of those names remain for the 2020 squad, and they’ve now been developed into absolute studs. Coming out of the 2019 season, Johnson and Baldelli had orchestrated a relief group that posted the third best fWAR (7.3) across baseball. Rogers and May were joined by Tyler Duffey in hitting career marks, and Zack Littell was groomed into a solid back end arm. Though this group may not have the names of some other top units, their creating household numbers on their own. Johnson helped Rogers to produce the 11th best single season reliever fWAR (2.1) in Twins history. It was the best single-season performance since 2006 when Joe Nathan recorded the second-best mark (3.1) in club history, and it was a step up from Taylor’s already impressive 2018 season. It isn’t just about what Johnson got out of an already good arm, however. Acquired in the Ben Revere trade with the Philadelphia Phillies, Trevor May never worked out as a starter. Injuries mounted, and after sorting out his back issues, relief work became the way to go. He posted a career best FIP in 2018 and ratcheted up the strikeout numbers. Last year though, he became a true shutdown type while posting 11.1 K/9, and career lows in both H/9 (6.0) and HR/9 (1.1). Joining May in taking a step forward was Tyler Duffey. The former Rice closer went down the starting path and we nearly cast aside after a disastrous 7.20 ERA in 2018. Over 57.2 IP a year ago, he turned in a 2.50 ERA, 12.8 K/9 (nearly double the 2018 number), and a 3.06 FIP. With one of the best curveballs on the staff, the guy known as Doof certainly can mow 'em down in big moments. Minnesota identified Sergio Romo in an astute trade during last year’s deadline, and the fan favorite was brought back this year after posting a 146 ERA+ and 10.6 K/9. Looking great in Cleveland a year ago, 35-year-old Tyler Clippard and his strong career numbers over 13 years were added to the veteran presence. Being able to add Littell, who posted a 0.88 ERA and 27/8 K/BB over his final 30.2 IP, was one of the Twins great accomplishments a season ago. Matt Wisler is a former Top-100 prospect that hasn’t seen big league success, but there’s no denying Johnson sees something he likes there. Minnesota gave him a guaranteed contract, and the slider is a pitch to work with. Then there’s phenom Brusdar Graterol. It’s hardly a death sentence to send a 21-year-old kid to the bullpen (ask Johan Santana). Still looking to develop a complete repertoire, Graterol’s triple-digit heater should be plenty useful when attacking the opposition. Baldelli being able to go there in earlier innings is something a luxury only a pen this good could afford. Maybe his role is tweaked down the line, but there’s something to be said about adding arguably the best available relief arm by simply picking from your own organization. Things never go according to plan, so being able to rest on depth like Cody Stashak and his nutty 25/1 debut K/BB, or Jorge Alcala and his big fastball are certainly realities new to the organization. When hired from the Indians organization it was consistently noted that Derek Falvey’s calling card was developing pitching. It’s not hard to see how powerful the infrastructure he’s blueprinted now is, and the fruit that it continues to bear. Minnesota was topped by the Rays (7.6 fWAR) and Yankees (7.5) last year. Jumping to that top spot isn't at all unlikely. This ain’t your grandad’s Minnesota Twins bullpen. They have to go out and perform, but this is a unit that is going to be an absolute problem in the best way possible. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  12. I am always curious about trades – do they work in the short run, long run or not at all? How do we judge the Twins trades? I am not interested in the end of the career moves of Killebrew and Thome, but rather the movement of players who will have a career that goes on for a few years after the trade. Most likely the balance between good and bad will even out after a number of years, although David Ortiz will always be a thorn in the Minnesota Twins field. But then Ortiz was not traded - we cut him (and you still think Kelly was a good manager?) and so we got nothing for him. Lucky Boston. So I will ignore that stupid move and look at real trades. And the Twins can always counter with - Liriano, Nathan and Bonser for Pierzynski. Joe Nathan is our greatest closer and he was with us for seven years accumulating 260 saves and 18.4 WAR. Liriano was also with us for seven years and was 50 – 52 with 4.33 ERA. For one year he was the best, but then injuries took him from HOF to great potential. He had 9 War for the seven years. Boof gave us our best name and played for us for three years. 18 – 25 with 5.12 era and -0.1 WAR. The three of them gave us 27.3 WAR. Pierzynski was with us 6 years and played 13 more after leaving us. He had 9.5 WAR with us and 14.3 after he left. I know we consider this a big Twins victory and it is, but maybe not as large as we like to claim. In 1989 we acquired Tapani and Aguilera for Viola. Tapani played seven terrific years for the Twins and was terrific. 75 – 63 with 4.06 ERA and 19.1 WAR. Aguilera was with us 11 years 40 – 47 and 254 saves with 3.50 ERA and 15.5 WAR – that is 34.6 total WAR. Frank Viola was a stud for us for 8 years, but his career was not long after leaving. A total of 15 years with 64 – 57 record in his years with the Mets, Red Sox, Reds, and Blue Jays. His WAR was 11.4 with us, 11.8 with the Red Sox and Mets and -1.1 his last two years. We won that trade for sure. Milton and Guzman and Buchanan for Knoblauch in 1998. Knoblauch was with us seven great years and is second to Carew in our 2B rankings. He accumulated 38 WAR in those year and then in 4 years with the Yankees he had 7.5 WAR until the yips ended his career. With the Yankees he also posted great post season numbers. Brian Buchanan was with us three years and had 0.3 WAR. Christian Guzman was with us 6 years and was one of the fastest and most exciting players we have had. He had 7.6 WAR before being traded. Eric Milton was with us six years and posted a record of 57 – 51 with 4.76 ERA. His WAR for us was -0.6. Put it all together and it is a wash, but NY was happy to have Knoblauch on their championship teams. 1976 Smalley, Singer, Gideon, and Cubbage for Blyleven Of course Bert would come back to the Twins and Smalley would go away and come back too. In all Smalley would play 10 years for us – seven after this trade and three more to end his career. He had 18.7 WAR in his seven years after this trade and 2.1 for his last stint with the team. Bill Singer was 9 – 9 in his one year with the team and had 0.4 WAR. Gideon did nothing for us or anyone else – he had one year in Texas. Mike Cubbage had five years with the Twins and 6.6 WAR. Blyleven had 11 years with the Twins out of 22 and seven came before the trade and 4 more in his last stint with us. He had 49.1 WAR with the Twins – 10.5 in his return so 38.6 before the trade. He had 47.1 WAR with other teams which would mean that we lost that trade! In 1979 thanks to Calvin Griffiths big mouth we had to trade Rod Carew for OF Ken Landreaux, C/OF Dave Engle, RHP Paul Hartzell, LHP Brad Havens. Rod had 63.8 WAR with the Twins when we traded him and 17.4 with the Angels afterward. Ken Landreaux was with the Twins for two years and had 1.8 WAR. Dave Engle played five years for us and had 3.9 WAR. Paul Hartzell was with us one year for 0.4 WAR. Brad Havens was with us three years for 0.3 WAR. We lost that one. In 1963 we pulled off one of our best trades – Jack Kralick for Jim Perry. Kralick pitched five years for Cleveland and had a 6.6. WAR. Jim Perry pitched for us for 10 years and won 128 games. He had a 26.3 WAR. That was a steal! In 2008 we got OF Carlos Gómez, RHP Deolis Guerra, RHP Philip Humber, RHP Kevin Mulvey for Johann Santana. Yes we lost this one. In the four years before his injuries ended a HOF career he had 15.3 WAR with the Mets. Gomez in his two years was exciting and posted 2.6 WAR. Guerra did not pitch for us. Philip Humber had no wins or losses in two years and a WAR of -0.1. Kevin Mulvey had -0.2 in his one year. Yes we lost that one. And if you are thinking – we traded Gomez for J J Hardy so we won, think again, we kept him one year and traded for Jim Hoey and Brett Jacobson. If you are keeping track, we are 3 – 3 – 1 in the trades so far. 1969 we got RHP Luis Tiant, RHP Stan Williams for 3B Graig Nettles, RHP Dean Chance, RHP Bob Miller, CF Ted Uhlaender! Tiant had a 2.84 ERA in six seasons with Cleveland before the trade, and Williams was thought of as an ace reliever. Tiant, only threw 92 2/3 innings with the Twins because of a shoulder issue and was released after the season. Williams had a 1.99 ERA in 68 relief appearances in 1970 but was traded to the Cardinals the next year. Tiant then caught on with the Red Sox as one of their star starters and Nettles went on to play 19 years. Tiant had 1.2 WAR with the Twins out of 66.1 for his career and was 7 -3 before his injury and went on to win 229 games. We lost because we could not wait for his injury to heal. Stan Williams was 14 – 6 with 19 saves. He was a terrific relief pitcher but we only kept him 2 years and he had 2.3 WAR for us.Craig Nettles would play 22 years. He had 1.1 WAR in three years with the Twins, but as an excellent glove man and power hitter he would amass 68 WAR in his career. Chance was terrific for us with 13 WAR in three years but had a total of zero war his last three years. Ted Uhlander played only three more years for 1.1 WAR. Bob Miller pitched 17 years – nine after we traded him. He gained 5.7 WAR in that time, but served as a valuable relief pitcher. With Nettles alone we lost this one. And with our impatience for Tiant we doubly lost. 2007 OF Delmon Young, INF Brendan Harris, OF Jason Pridie for Matt Garza, Jason Barlett, and Eddie Morlan. Young was such a disappointment it would have been a good trade if we had given up only Eddie Morlan (who?). Delmon was here 4 years and teased us with his potential each year. His WAR for those years totaled – 1. He played 10 years total. Jason Barlett totaled 10.4 WAR for Tampa. Do I need to go on? Well we did get Brendan Harris and for three years he played for us and accumulated -0.6 WAR. For his career he ended with -0.3. Jason Pridie was with us 2 years and had -0.2 WAR. And then there was Matt Garza who won 93 games in 12 years and had 13.5 WAR after leaving us. WE DEFINITLY LOST THIS ONE. In 2010 there was the trade of Wilson Ramos to the Washington Nationals for Matt Capps and we also through in Joe Testa. I believe this was an unpopular trade! So far Ramos has 15.4 WAR. Matt was with us three years – I forgot that – and somehow got 1.9 WAR. So we lost that one too. THAT BRINGS THE RECORD TO 3 – 6 – 1 Now we come to the Centerfielder trades. Aaron Hicks for John Ryan Murphy – do I have to go into the details? We lost. Denard Span for Alex Meyer – okay, let’s move on – we lost that one too. Ben Revere for Vance Worley (not good) and Trevor May – great! We won. It just took a while. Recently Eduardo Escobar was traded for Jhoan Duran and outfielders Gabriel Maciel and Ernie De La Trinidad. Escobar has been a stud for AZ and the minor leaguers are not here yet. Duran looks like he could be special and is listed as our number 5 prospect by MLB.com. Maciel is listed at number 27 and Tinidad is not on the list. Too early to judge, but AZ is happy! What about relief pitchers. Ryan Pressly traded for Acala (25) and Celestino (15). Both great prospects, but I think we would have liked to have Pressly in the pen. He was a star for Houston. Still too early for a final judgment. Nick Anderson for Brian Schales – Tampa Bay would do this trade any day. Anderson had 1.4 WAR last year and 3.32 era for Tampa as a rookie. Liam Hendriks was not really a trade but we DFA’d him so we could sign Phil Hughes. I suspect we would like him back too since he is now one of the best of all RPs. So I treat that as a default loss. The tally as I have it is 4 – 10 – 3. Maybe the desire to make trades is something we might want to think about.
  13. Best Fastball: Trevor May FBv: 95.6, wFB: 17.4 With Brusdar Graterol no longer on the roster, there’s a new sheriff in town. Trevor May was supposed to evolve into a middle of the rotation starter when the Twins traded for him, but now he has become a shutdown late-inning relief pitcher. One of the biggest reasons for his improved performance… a lights-out fastball that has continue to improve since he switched to the bullpen. Back in 2014 May was a starter, trying to find himself on a struggling Twins squad. His fastball wasn’t hitting 93 and it didn’t seem like the rotation was a spot where he would thrive. Fast-forward to 2019 and his fastball has jumped to 95.5 mph and he is using it almost 62% of the time. The transition to the bullpen can be tough for some players, but opponents compiled a .150 batting average against his heater and most fans will take that every day of the week. Honorable Mention: Jake Odorizzi (20.8 wFB), Jose Berrios 11.5 (wFB) Best Slider: Taylor Rogers SLv: 82.3, wSL: 7.4 Taylor Rogers is good. Let me restate that, Taylor Rogers is really good, and I don’t think the rest of baseball realizes how good he was last season. One of the biggest changes for him last season was using his curveball less often and relying more on his slider. Spoiler alert… his slider is unhittable when paired with his other off-speed pitches. Outside of Jose Berrios, Rogers might have been the most enjoyable Twins pitcher to watch last season. His calm demeanor on the mound separates him from more recent Twins closers, but his pitching repertoire certainly puts him in the same class as his successors. Having a shortened 2020 season is depriving fans of another stellar year from Rogers. Honorable Mention: Sergio Romo (wSL 3.6), Lewis Thorpe (wSL 3.9) Best Curveball: Devin Smeltzer CBv: 76.6, wCB: 3.0 Smeltzer doesn’t have the velocity most would expect from a big-league pitcher, but the movement on his pitches helps to separate him from others on the staff. Fans are constantly in awe of the movement he is able to create from his lanky frame, especially when the pitches aren’t coming in at triple-digits on the radar gun. One of the biggest reasons for his success is his ability to change pitches and alter the batter’s vantage point. Last season, his spin on his curveball ranked in the 80th percentile across baseball. He only threw the pitch 24.5% of the time so it could be a pitch that see increase usage in the years ahead. Smeltzer is never going to blow away other batters. He has to rely on movement to be successful and he could rely on his unique abilities to be a back of the rotation starter. Honorable Mention: Jose Berrios (wCB -1.8), Tyler Duffey (wCB -0.8) Best Change-Up: Michael Pineda CHv: 87.2, wCH: 4.9 Twins fans might not appreciate how good Michael Pineda was for the team last season. He was once a top prospect, but he has evolved as a pitcher with more big-league experience. His fastball and slider might be below league average but his change-up is on another tier. He threw it more with the Twins than in any other season during the StatCast era. Opponents were held to a .238 batting average and a .253 WOBA on his change-up last season. Compare that to previous seasons and opponents were hitting over .290 with a .318 WOBA. Granted he missed a season due to Tommy John, but it takes nothing away from how he was able to adapt last season. Honorable Metnion:Trevor May (wCH: 2.2), Sergio Romo (wCH: 1.6) Do you agree with these rankings? What is the best pitch in the Twins organization? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  14. For the past few years, it has seemed like Major League Baseball’s Commissioner is the only one convinced that the sport is poor in its current state. Maybe you can include certain broadcasters (I’m looking at you John Smoltz), but the decisions suggested and made often have a far-fetched alteration tied to them. Behind the veil defined as pace of play issues, there have been numerous instances in which unnecessary paths have been traversed. Now needing to band together for the greater good, we’re seeing baseball spread its wings. Early on when the shutdown of Major League Baseball was first imposed, Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer quickly pulled together a Sandlot-esque game. Intended initially to be more focused around the actual game, it turned into a whiffle ball form of deli. Still, it was broadcast and had participation from multiple players on multiple different teams. Just hours into a new normal, the crave of competition was highlighted. Now multiple weeks into a schedule that isn’t taking place Minnesota Twins Trevor May stepped up and assumed the role of virtual Commissioner. With Sony San Diego Studios and MLB The Show 20, May blazed the trail that has become the MLB Players League. Each club has a representative competing a few nights a week and will play each opponent one time. Games are broadcast on Twitch, MLB Network’s Robert Flores is commentating, and there’s a full league page hosted on MLB.com. https://twitter.com/IamTrevorMay/status/1250063420604506123 If you’ve tuned into any of the streams, we’ve seen everything from players succeeding as their virtual selves, witty banter, and even in-depth breakdowns designed to translate the similarities between the game and real life. What was likely dreamt up as little more than a fun departure from the current monotony has turned into an outlet generating multiple forms of genuine creativity. https://twitter.com/Nationals/status/1250087668345491456 I don’t know when baseball will return, and I’m still not convinced that it’ll happen in 2020. Outlined by John Bonnes earlier this week however, the capacity in which it does will be different. Rob Manfred is currently tasked with doing everything in his power to get creative and make sure the sport lives this season in some sense. While the parameters of play are just one aspect being discussed, it’s also the acceptance and inclusion of creativity born through this time that could breathe new life into the game. We still have regional blackouts in the sport. There are fines handed down for players wearing accessories and equipment that doesn’t directly follow certain color schemes. Major League Baseball imposes copyright on far reaching avenues that would otherwise have the opportunity to grow the fanbase in untapped markets. Whether directly or not, all these things come back to Manfred. It is currently his baby and he has the power to embrace individuality and utilize this creativity. From the guy that , we can only hope some of the lessons learned aren’t immediately forgotten when a return to relative normalcy is reached.An aside: Despite writing this today organically, I stumbled on this video from a few days ago. Trevor Bauer and one of YouTube's largest content creators, Fuzzy, put out a very cool video talking in depth about baseball and content creation. While much of it has to d specifically with the YouTube platform, the overarching theme is still about how far MLB has to go in terms of embracing individuality and engaging fans through creativity. It's most definitely worth a watch. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  15. Last year when I previewed this unit, a lack of proven depth was the overarching story. Today, we'll be unpacking a 180-degree turnaround. The emergence of Minnesota's bullpen as a top-tier group was one of the 2019 season's most astonishing, and promising, developments.Projected Bullpen: Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, Trevor May, Tyler Clippard, Sergio Romo, Zach Littell, Matt Wisler, Cody Stashak Depth: Fernando Romero, Sean Poppen, Danny Coulombe, Ryan Garton, Blaine Hardy, Cory Gearrin, Caleb Thielbar Prospects: Edwar Colina, Dakota Chalmers, Jake Reed THE GOOD September 14th was perhaps the most memorable day of the 2019 season. On this date, the Twins swept a doubleheader in Cleveland, effectively putting the division on ice. While Miguel Sano's splashy grand slam dominated the highlight reels, there's no question who was the star of this show: Minnesota's blossoming bullpen. The games were "started" by Devin Smeltzer and Lewis Thorpe, and featured a total of nine different pitchers deployed by Rocco Baldelli. Smeltzer and Thorpe combined with Zack Littell, Tyler Duffey, Sergio Romo, Taylor Rogers, Cody Stashak, Brusdar Graterol and Trevor May to hold Cleveland to five runs on 13 hits in 18 innings. The seven pitchers who appeared as relievers totaled 14 strikeouts and zero walks. This immaculate collective performance epitomized the bullpen's brilliant second half. Even with top deadline addition Sam Dyson completely fizzling, the Twins relief corps ranked third among MLB teams in fWAR after July 31st, trailing only the Yankees and Rays. While the closer Rogers continued to excel, he was surrounded by strong performers, with May, Duffey, Romo, and Littell all contributing in major ways. Meanwhile, Stashak and Graterol joined the fray as impact rookies. Graterol won't return, but everyone else will, along with waiver gamble Matt Wisler and free agent acquisition Tyler Clippard, whose reverse splits make him the weapon Baldelli needs against southpaws. Minnesota is about seven-deep with quality big-league relievers, and that's before you account for long-relief options such as Thorpe and Smeltzer, or ready-to-go reinforcements such as Sean Poppen and Fernando Romero. Even with the inherent volatility of MLB bullpens, and the inevitability of at least a few injuries, this relief unit is poised to be one of the American League's finest. THE BAD Graterol is a big loss. While he was the least established among this entire crop, he undoubtedly offered the most upside, which was set to be unleashed after the team's acknowledgement he was slated for a relief role in 2020. The Twins bolstered their rotation by trading the young flamethrower for Kenta Maeda, but there's a clear trade-off in bullpen caliber. By no means were the Twins counting on Graterol to be an essential fixture in this year's bullpen, but that was the beauty of his presence: a total bonus and a wild-card, with serious "ace in the hole" potential in this season and many to come. It may not be felt as strongly since we were only beginning to acclimate ourselves to the idea of him as a long-term relief pitcher, but make no mistake: Graterol's absence creates a spacious void in the bullpen's outlook going forward. The Twins will have to hope a rebounding Romero or an emerging Jhoan Duran can fill it in some way. Ultimately, the most evident weakness in Minnesota's bullpen is a lack of established track records beyond Rogers. As good as May, Duffey, and Littell were last year, none had a substantive history of MLB relief success prior. Wisler is still searching for his first above-average season in the majors. Signing Clippard and Romo helps in this regard, of course, but they are middle relief types. The Twins are counting heavily on May and Duffey to repeat their dominant performances from 2019. There's no specific reason to think either one won't but... relievers are relievers. THE BOTTOM LINE Bullpen is undoubtedly a differentiating asset for the Twins heading into 2020, as they've retained all the top performers in a unit that progressively emerged last year as one of the league's best and deepest. Rogers ranks among the position's elite, and is surrounded by a couple setup men who could easily join the closer in this distinction. Reliable options abound for Baldelli, who shouldn't find himself running short on trusted relievers barring an abundance of injuries and setbacks. Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Catcher Twins 2020 Position Analysis: First Base Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Second Base Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Third Base Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Shortstop Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Left Field Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Center Field Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Right Field Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Designated Hitter Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Starting Pitcher MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  16. Projected Bullpen: Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, Trevor May, Tyler Clippard, Sergio Romo, Zach Littell, Matt Wisler, Cody Stashak Depth: Fernando Romero, Sean Poppen, Danny Coulombe, Ryan Garton, Blaine Hardy, Cory Gearrin, Caleb Thielbar Prospects: Edwar Colina, Dakota Chalmers, Jake Reed THE GOOD September 14th was perhaps the most memorable day of the 2019 season. On this date, the Twins swept a doubleheader in Cleveland, effectively putting the division on ice. While Miguel Sano's splashy grand slam dominated the highlight reels, there's no question who was the star of this show: Minnesota's blossoming bullpen. The games were "started" by Devin Smeltzer and Lewis Thorpe, and featured a total of nine different pitchers deployed by Rocco Baldelli. Smeltzer and Thorpe combined with Zack Littell, Tyler Duffey, Sergio Romo, Taylor Rogers, Cody Stashak, Brusdar Graterol and Trevor May to hold Cleveland to five runs on 13 hits in 18 innings. The seven pitchers who appeared as relievers totaled 14 strikeouts and zero walks. This immaculate collective performance epitomized the bullpen's brilliant second half. Even with top deadline addition Sam Dyson completely fizzling, the Twins relief corps ranked third among MLB teams in fWAR after July 31st, trailing only the Yankees and Rays. While the closer Rogers continued to excel, he was surrounded by strong performers, with May, Duffey, Romo, and Littell all contributing in major ways. Meanwhile, Stashak and Graterol joined the fray as impact rookies. Graterol won't return, but everyone else will, along with waiver gamble Matt Wisler and free agent acquisition Tyler Clippard, whose reverse splits make him the weapon Baldelli needs against southpaws. Minnesota is about seven-deep with quality big-league relievers, and that's before you account for long-relief options such as Thorpe and Smeltzer, or ready-to-go reinforcements such as Sean Poppen and Fernando Romero. Even with the inherent volatility of MLB bullpens, and the inevitability of at least a few injuries, this relief unit is poised to be one of the American League's finest. THE BAD Graterol is a big loss. While he was the least established among this entire crop, he undoubtedly offered the most upside, which was set to be unleashed after the team's acknowledgement he was slated for a relief role in 2020. The Twins bolstered their rotation by trading the young flamethrower for Kenta Maeda, but there's a clear trade-off in bullpen caliber. By no means were the Twins counting on Graterol to be an essential fixture in this year's bullpen, but that was the beauty of his presence: a total bonus and a wild-card, with serious "ace in the hole" potential in this season and many to come. It may not be felt as strongly since we were only beginning to acclimate ourselves to the idea of him as a long-term relief pitcher, but make no mistake: Graterol's absence creates a spacious void in the bullpen's outlook going forward. The Twins will have to hope a rebounding Romero or an emerging Jhoan Duran can fill it in some way. Ultimately, the most evident weakness in Minnesota's bullpen is a lack of established track records beyond Rogers. As good as May, Duffey, and Littell were last year, none had a substantive history of MLB relief success prior. Wisler is still searching for his first above-average season in the majors. Signing Clippard and Romo helps in this regard, of course, but they are middle relief types. The Twins are counting heavily on May and Duffey to repeat their dominant performances from 2019. There's no specific reason to think either one won't but... relievers are relievers. THE BOTTOM LINE Bullpen is undoubtedly a differentiating asset for the Twins heading into 2020, as they've retained all the top performers in a unit that progressively emerged last year as one of the league's best and deepest. Rogers ranks among the position's elite, and is surrounded by a couple setup men who could easily join the closer in this distinction. Reliable options abound for Baldelli, who shouldn't find himself running short on trusted relievers barring an abundance of injuries and setbacks. Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Catcher Twins 2020 Position Analysis: First Base Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Second Base Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Third Base Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Shortstop Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Left Field Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Center Field Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Right Field Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Designated Hitter Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Starting Pitcher MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  17. It goes without saying: The fallout of our global pandemic is far from ideal for anyone, in baseball or beyond. An indefinite delay of the league's 2020 season – one which seems likely to extend into July at least – creates challenging circumstances for each team and player. But as I look up and down the roster, there are five Twins who, based on timing in their careers, stand out as especially unfortunate victims of this season in limbo.I feel for each of these guys, who will be dealing with shutdown disruption at critical junctures. Nelson Cruz, DH The veteran slugger's 40th birthday, July 1st, is a pretty reasonable over-under at this point for Opening Day – if not a tad optimistic. He looked incredibly good last year, giving no warning of imminent decline, but his age puts him up against the clock. This delay will remove a significant portion of the remaining games Cruz has left in the tank. And given how brilliantly he's still playing (including this spring, where he mashed three homers and two doubles in 23 at-bats), that's a shame. Trevor May, RHP It's been a long journey for May. He was a fourth-round pick of the Phillies in 2008, traded to Minnesota in 2012. He debuted in the majors in 2014 as a starter, transitioned fully to relief in 2016, then lost basically two full seasons to Tommy John surgery. Last year, at age 29, May finally broke through, posting a stellar 2.94 ERA and 11.1 K/9 rate as one of the team's highest-leverage relievers. This included a 1.38 ERA in 23 appearances between August and September. May was carrying a full head of steam into the biggest season of his career, with free agency coming at the end. Due to his ill-timed elbow injury and role-switching, the right-hander has burnt through most of his team service time without truly establishing himself, in spite of his immense talent, dedication, and intelligence. That's why he finds himself looking ahead to the open market already, with fewer than 300 total MLB innings. He's yet to earn a salary over $1 million. The 2020 season represented a huge opportunity for May to make his case on a big stage. And yes, that opportunity should still be awaiting him whenever baseball resumes. But I sure would've liked to see him ride all that built-up momentum. After putting it all together at long last, being forced to wait has gotta be especially painful for him. Rich Hill, LHP One might argue that Hill actually stands to be the beneficiary of a suspended season. He wasn't expected back until June at least, so a months-late start could make him available for the Twins from the jump. And should the season get extended later into the year to include more games, it's possible the Twins could get more starts from Hill than they ever expected upon signing him. It's possible. But any theoretical notion of Hill joining the club midseason, in classic form, was always steeped in hopeful optimism. The reason he and his immaculate track record were available to the Twins at such a fine value is that Hill is a longshot. He turned 40 a week ago and is trying to come back from rarely utilized elbow surgery. In a situation like this, you need a lot to go right. Like all players, Hill will have to deal with the auxiliary impacts of a total league shutdown, including the loss of access to his team's world-class trainers, equipment, and rehab regimens. The southpaw will certainly stick to his own program but there's no replacement for the steady, organized ramp-up process with assorted milestones and benchmarks. If the entire season is lost, this could very well be it for Hill's career. Jake Odorizzi, RHP Much like May, Odorizzi is heading into a pivotal year. In accepting Minnesota's qualifying offer, he opted to bypass a multi-year contract in favor of the short-term payday. Coming off an All-Star campaign, he was set to make $17.8 million and then hit the open market. Now, his plan is in flux. In a shortened season, would players receive prorated salaries? It stands to reason. And in such a scenario, Odorizzi's perfectly logical gamble stands to backfire. He wouldn't earn the full 2020 figure that enticed him, and he would end up auditioning for his next contract in a weird, partial campaign. Maybe that's not how it plays out. Hopefully baseball can find a way to ease the relative burdens for players in such tough positions. While these examples all obviously pale in comparison to the thousands of less-wealthy individuals who work at ballparks and fill their stands, there's an unmistakable difference between a player in Josh Donaldson's position of total security, and one in Odorizzi's. Not to mention a fringe player trying to seize what might be his biggest chance. Randy Dobnak, RHP His 2019 season was one of the best real-life underdog stories in memory, and there was more to Dobnak than just a fun narrative. He pitched extremely well, displaying poise and precision beyond his years. From undrafted independent-leaguer to ALDS starter, the right-hander is on a journey like no other. He was set to continue it under favorable circumstances this spring. A spot in the Twins rotation was for the taking, and his case was strong coming off a dazzling debut. But a delayed start shifts those circumstances. Suddenly, the starting corps could become crowded much more quickly, with Hill and even Michael Pineda potentially entering the fold sooner, and no injuries to open up spots. Minnesota's 2020 roster was meticulously built for the rigors of a 162-game season, loaded with depth and contingencies. A shortening of the season wouldn't negate this strength, but it would be costly for players like Dobnak on the fringes. Everyone knows how difficult it is to carve out a niche at the highest level of this game. Hard-working young men who are at the apex of their opportunities will lose time they can't get back. That's just one of many harsh realities rippling from this occurrence. But to look on the bright side, baseball will be back eventually. And when that happens, so many of its players – these five especially – will be poised for inspiring tales of perseverance and success in the face of adversity. I can't wait to write about them. Click here to view the article
  18. I feel for each of these guys, who will be dealing with shutdown disruption at critical junctures. Nelson Cruz, DH The veteran slugger's 40th birthday, July 1st, is a pretty reasonable over-under at this point for Opening Day – if not a tad optimistic. He looked incredibly good last year, giving no warning of imminent decline, but his age puts him up against the clock. This delay will remove a significant portion of the remaining games Cruz has left in the tank. And given how brilliantly he's still playing (including this spring, where he mashed three homers and two doubles in 23 at-bats), that's a shame. Trevor May, RHP It's been a long journey for May. He was a fourth-round pick of the Phillies in 2008, traded to Minnesota in 2012. He debuted in the majors in 2014 as a starter, transitioned fully to relief in 2016, then lost basically two full seasons to Tommy John surgery. Last year, at age 29, May finally broke through, posting a stellar 2.94 ERA and 11.1 K/9 rate as one of the team's highest-leverage relievers. This included a 1.38 ERA in 23 appearances between August and September. May was carrying a full head of steam into the biggest season of his career, with free agency coming at the end. Due to his ill-timed elbow injury and role-switching, the right-hander has burnt through most of his team service time without truly establishing himself, in spite of his immense talent, dedication, and intelligence. That's why he finds himself looking ahead to the open market already, with fewer than 300 total MLB innings. He's yet to earn a salary over $1 million. The 2020 season represented a huge opportunity for May to make his case on a big stage. And yes, that opportunity should still be awaiting him whenever baseball resumes. But I sure would've liked to see him ride all that built-up momentum. After putting it all together at long last, being forced to wait has gotta be especially painful for him. Rich Hill, LHP One might argue that Hill actually stands to be the beneficiary of a suspended season. He wasn't expected back until June at least, so a months-late start could make him available for the Twins from the jump. And should the season get extended later into the year to include more games, it's possible the Twins could get more starts from Hill than they ever expected upon signing him. It's possible. But any theoretical notion of Hill joining the club midseason, in classic form, was always steeped in hopeful optimism. The reason he and his immaculate track record were available to the Twins at such a fine value is that Hill is a longshot. He turned 40 a week ago and is trying to come back from rarely utilized elbow surgery. In a situation like this, you need a lot to go right. Like all players, Hill will have to deal with the auxiliary impacts of a total league shutdown, including the loss of access to his team's world-class trainers, equipment, and rehab regimens. The southpaw will certainly stick to his own program but there's no replacement for the steady, organized ramp-up process with assorted milestones and benchmarks. If the entire season is lost, this could very well be it for Hill's career. Jake Odorizzi, RHP Much like May, Odorizzi is heading into a pivotal year. In accepting Minnesota's qualifying offer, he opted to bypass a multi-year contract in favor of the short-term payday. Coming off an All-Star campaign, he was set to make $17.8 million and then hit the open market. Now, his plan is in flux. In a shortened season, would players receive prorated salaries? It stands to reason. And in such a scenario, Odorizzi's perfectly logical gamble stands to backfire. He wouldn't earn the full 2020 figure that enticed him, and he would end up auditioning for his next contract in a weird, partial campaign. Maybe that's not how it plays out. Hopefully baseball can find a way to ease the relative burdens for players in such tough positions. While these examples all obviously pale in comparison to the thousands of less-wealthy individuals who work at ballparks and fill their stands, there's an unmistakable difference between a player in Josh Donaldson's position of total security, and one in Odorizzi's. Not to mention a fringe player trying to seize what might be his biggest chance. Randy Dobnak, RHP His 2019 season was one of the best real-life underdog stories in memory, and there was more to Dobnak than just a fun narrative. He pitched extremely well, displaying poise and precision beyond his years. From undrafted independent-leaguer to ALDS starter, the right-hander is on a journey like no other. He was set to continue it under favorable circumstances this spring. A spot in the Twins rotation was for the taking, and his case was strong coming off a dazzling debut. But a delayed start shifts those circumstances. Suddenly, the starting corps could become crowded much more quickly, with Hill and even Michael Pineda potentially entering the fold sooner, and no injuries to open up spots. Minnesota's 2020 roster was meticulously built for the rigors of a 162-game season, loaded with depth and contingencies. A shortening of the season wouldn't negate this strength, but it would be costly for players like Dobnak on the fringes. Everyone knows how difficult it is to carve out a niche at the highest level of this game. Hard-working young men who are at the apex of their opportunities will lose time they can't get back. That's just one of many harsh realities rippling from this occurrence. But to look on the bright side, baseball will be back eventually. And when that happens, so many of its players – these five especially – will be poised for inspiring tales of perseverance and success in the face of adversity. I can't wait to write about them.
  19. Ehire Adrianza Adrianza has been part of three different organization and gotten claimed off waivers multiple times, but he has never been a free agent. He provides an interesting case, because he has mostly served a role player during his Twins tenure. In three seasons in Minnesota he has hit .260/.321/.391 (.711) while averaging 89 games played. His 2018 season might give the best glimpse of how he could produce if he was an everyday player. Adrianza was given the opportunity to man shortstop while Jorge Polanco started the year suspended. He played in 114 games that season and compiled a .680 OPS and this included playing over 750 innings at shortstop and third base. He could possibly serve as an everyday player on a club, but he would need an opportunity to prove himself this season. It would take an injury to Polanco for Adrianza to play every day and the Twins certainly don’t want that to happen. Trevor May May’s transition from starter to reliever came with some growing pains, but he has turned into one of the team’s best late-inning options. Something clicked for him when he came back from Tommy John surgery back in 2018. Since that time, he has held opponents to a .195 average with a terrific 11.5 strikeouts per nine innings. Outside of Taylor Rogers, May might be Minnesota’s best relief option and that’s saying a lot with the current make-up of the bullpen. He should see plenty of time late in games this year and it will be interesting to see if Rocco Baldelli continues to use him in a similar fashion. He was only used for more than an inning in 10 of his appearances last season. Could that change in 2020? If May continues to pitch like he has over the last two seasons, there’s a chance a team would want to add him as a potential closer, even if the closer role continues to evolve. That could lead to an even bigger payday for the 30-year old free agent-to-be. Jake Odorizzi Odorizzi bet on himself this season by accepting the Twins' one-year qualifying offer. Granted the $17.8 million one-year deal is more money than he has made in his entire career, but now he knows he will be a free agent next winter. He might have been kicking himself for accepting the offer after seeing the contracts being handed out to other starters on the open market. He made his first All-Star team this past season on the heels of a first half where he posted a 3.15 ERA with a 1.12 WHIP. Opponents hit only .214/.285/.335 (.620) against him and he had 96 strikeouts in 88 2/3 innings pitched. The second half didn’t go nearly as well as batters' OPS rose 111 points. He finished the year by starting Game 3 of the ALDS by allowed two earned runs on five hits over five innings. In an offensive environment like 2019, Odorizzi’s first half is certainly impressive. If he can put together a full season like he did last year then he will be looking at a handsome free agent contract next winter and this time it will be a multi-year deal. Which player has the most to prove this season? Who will score big next off-season? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  20. Impending free agents can have a lot to prove in their final year under contract. Can they outperform their career numbers and hit a big payday? Or do they succumb to the pressure and underperform in one of their most important professional seasons? For three Twins players, there might be even more to prove before becoming free agents for the first time.Ehire Adrianza Adrianza has been part of three different organization and gotten claimed off waivers multiple times, but he has never been a free agent. He provides an interesting case, because he has mostly served a role player during his Twins tenure. In three seasons in Minnesota he has hit .260/.321/.391 (.711) while averaging 89 games played. His 2018 season might give the best glimpse of how he could produce if he was an everyday player. Adrianza was given the opportunity to man shortstop while Jorge Polanco started the year suspended. He played in 114 games that season and compiled a .680 OPS and this included playing over 750 innings at shortstop and third base. He could possibly serve as an everyday player on a club, but he would need an opportunity to prove himself this season. It would take an injury to Polanco for Adrianza to play every day and the Twins certainly don’t want that to happen. Trevor May May’s transition from starter to reliever came with some growing pains, but he has turned into one of the team’s best late-inning options. Something clicked for him when he came back from Tommy John surgery back in 2018. Since that time, he has held opponents to a .195 average with a terrific 11.5 strikeouts per nine innings. Outside of Taylor Rogers, May might be Minnesota’s best relief option and that’s saying a lot with the current make-up of the bullpen. He should see plenty of time late in games this year and it will be interesting to see if Rocco Baldelli continues to use him in a similar fashion. He was only used for more than an inning in 10 of his appearances last season. Could that change in 2020? If May continues to pitch like he has over the last two seasons, there’s a chance a team would want to add him as a potential closer, even if the closer role continues to evolve. That could lead to an even bigger payday for the 30-year old free agent-to-be. Jake Odorizzi Odorizzi bet on himself this season by accepting the Twins' one-year qualifying offer. Granted the $17.8 million one-year deal is more money than he has made in his entire career, but now he knows he will be a free agent next winter. He might have been kicking himself for accepting the offer after seeing the contracts being handed out to other starters on the open market. He made his first All-Star team this past season on the heels of a first half where he posted a 3.15 ERA with a 1.12 WHIP. Opponents hit only .214/.285/.335 (.620) against him and he had 96 strikeouts in 88 2/3 innings pitched. The second half didn’t go nearly as well as batters' OPS rose 111 points. He finished the year by starting Game 3 of the ALDS by allowed two earned runs on five hits over five innings. In an offensive environment like 2019, Odorizzi’s first half is certainly impressive. If he can put together a full season like he did last year then he will be looking at a handsome free agent contract next winter and this time it will be a multi-year deal. Which player has the most to prove this season? Who will score big next off-season? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  21. Often on Twitter from 2015-2017 I found myself banging a drum that Ryan Pressly was the next great arm out of the Minnesota bullpen. He’d scuffled plenty, and the numbers weren’t glowing, so there was always plenty of pushback. His 2017 was especially mediocre, but there was another level to be achieved. In 2018 he raced out to a 3.40 ERA across 47.2 IP but was backed by a 2.47 FIP and 12.8 K/9. By all intents and purposes, he’d arrived. The Twins, not being in an immediate place of contention, made a difficult but logical decision. They cashed in on a reliever and sent him to Houston. He went on to post a 0.77 ERA in his final 23.1 IP and then followed it up with a 2.32 ERA last season. The Astros deserve credit for taking him to heights Minnesota was not previously equipped to accomplish, but the ability was always there to mold. Now with what finished as the third best bullpen in baseball during the 2019 season, and a group that could vie to be the best in 2020, there’s two arms that jump out as potential suitors to take that next Pressly-esque step. Trevor May – 2019 Stats 2.94 ERA 3.73 FIP 11.1 K/9 3.6 BB/9 The gaming celebrity is now 30 and already an established veteran for the Twins. He’s a free agent following this season, and despite the already glowing ERA, there’s reason to believe another level is possible. May worked around some additional trouble last year, having a FIP nearly a full point higher. Although he decreased his hit and HR rate, he doubled his walk rate and got away from the glowing 1.8 BB/9 mark he set in 2018. https://twitter.com/IamTrevorMay/status/1226982719994912769 Under the hood is where things get exciting for Trevor. His 34.8% hard hit rate was the lowest he’s posted as a reliever, and his 95.9 mph average velocity isn’t far off from adding two full ticks to his fastball. This is an age that relievers should see a decline in their abilities. But May, having fewer miles on his arm, could be gaining benefit from that past lack of use. Wes Johnson has him throwing absolute darts, and there’s room for a slight rebound in strikeout and whiff rates. He’s probably close to a finished product, but as the Twins invest in technology and May incorporates it, even a slight tweak could have him in the conversation for a top ten pen arm. He’s also all in on one series being more exciting than the rest. https://twitter.com/tlschwerz/status/1229881398187696132 Zack Littell – 2019 Stats 2.68 ERA 3.62 FIP 7.8 K/9 2.2 BB/9 Acquired by the Twins when Derek Falvey flipped Jaime Garcia to the New York Yankees, Littell has long looked the part of an intriguing arm. He wasn’t ever going to be a top of the rotation starter, but the floor has never looked anything but promising. After being moved to the bullpen full time a year ago, it seemed Minnesota was ready to unleash what had quickly been established as a weapon. Utilizing his fastball nearly 50% of the time, he too saw a near 2 mph jump on the pitch. Now averaging 94 mph, his whiff rate nearly doubled, and the chase rate rose 10%. Just 24-years-old, Littell is still settling into a relief role after a pro career of starting. His strikeout rate hasn’t seen the substantial jump yet, but I’d be on it coming. Phil Miller of the Star Tribune recently wrote about Littell changing up his offseason, essentially shifting towards a more intentional path towards development. He had produced some eye-popping numbers last season on what largely derived from talent and ability. Embracing data and generating actionable outcomes could be the thing that takes him to a new level of sustainability. Not all relievers are late bloomers, and Littell looks the part of a guy who’s settled into a role and now is ready to explode. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  22. Wilson Ramos Many fans will be upset when mentioning the Wilson Ramos for Matt Capps trade. Ramos was a top-65 prospect by Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus. He recorded seven hits in his first two professional games, and it seemed like he could team up with Joe Mauer as a tremendous catching duo. Having Mauer still behind the plate made a catching prospect more expendable. Minnesota also needed more relief help during the 2010 campaign. If Capps had helped the Twins to an extended playoff run, his trade might have been forgotten. Instead, Twins fans watched Ramos blossom into an All-Star catcher with the Nationals and Rays. WAR Acquired: 0.9 WAR (Before Capps Resigned) WAR Lost: 10.4 WAR Matt Garza Trading Matt Garza for Delmon Young seemed like a perfect fit for both teams at the time with each player being a highly ranked prospect. Tampa needed more pitching to help them take the next step and Young provided a powerful right-handed bat between Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau in the Twins line-up. Tampa would ride Garza to a World Series run, while the Twins made playoff appearances but Young was never a difference maker. Young, a former number one overall pick, finished second in the 2007 Rookie of the Year voting. After joining Minnesota, he hit .287/.324/.429 (.753) but his bat never reached the potential he showed as a prospect and his defense was atrocious. Garza was the ALCS MVP and provided WAR totals of 3.4 or above in two of his three seasons in Tampa. WAR Acquired: 1.0 WAR WAR Lost: 8.5 WAR Alex Meyer and Trevor May These two trades seemed to get lumped together since they happened in the same off-season. With both trades above, the Twins were sending away top-100 prospects, but these trades were a little different. Minnesota dealt established outfielders Denard Span and Ben Revere in exchange for pitching prospects Alex Meyer and Trevor May along with Vance Worley. Meyer struggled as he moved through the upper levels on the minor leagues and he would only pitch in parts of four seasons in the organization. Eventually, he was traded to the Angels before injuries ended his career. He played 22 games at the big-league level and retired after his age-27 season. When trading for May, the Twins likely saw him as a starting pitching prospect, but he has found his niche in the Twins bullpen. Last season, he posted a sub-3.00 ERA while striking out 79 batters in 64 1/3 innings. He can be a free agent at season’s end so he will have plenty to pitch for during the 2020 campaign. WAR Acquired: -0.6 (Meyer), 2.0 (May), and -1.1 (Worley) WAR Lost: 7.0 (Span) and 4.1 (Revere) How did the Twins fare in these trades involving former top-100 prospects? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  23. Throughout the history of the Minnesota Twins, there have been few trades of top prospects in the organization. Minnesota has been forced to build from within and this has meant teams have been required to live and die through prospect development. Brusdar Graterol was clearly a top-100 prospect so how have the Twins done when trading away, or for other top prospects?Wilson Ramos Many fans will be upset when mentioning the Wilson Ramos for Matt Capps trade. Ramos was a top-65 prospect by Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus. He recorded seven hits in his first two professional games, and it seemed like he could team up with Joe Mauer as a tremendous catching duo. Having Mauer still behind the plate made a catching prospect more expendable. Minnesota also needed more relief help during the 2010 campaign. If Capps had helped the Twins to an extended playoff run, his trade might have been forgotten. Instead, Twins fans watched Ramos blossom into an All-Star catcher with the Nationals and Rays. WAR Acquired: 0.9 WAR (Before Capps Resigned) WAR Lost: 10.4 WAR Matt Garza Trading Matt Garza for Delmon Young seemed like a perfect fit for both teams at the time with each player being a highly ranked prospect. Tampa needed more pitching to help them take the next step and Young provided a powerful right-handed bat between Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau in the Twins line-up. Tampa would ride Garza to a World Series run, while the Twins made playoff appearances but Young was never a difference maker. Young, a former number one overall pick, finished second in the 2007 Rookie of the Year voting. After joining Minnesota, he hit .287/.324/.429 (.753) but his bat never reached the potential he showed as a prospect and his defense was atrocious. Garza was the ALCS MVP and provided WAR totals of 3.4 or above in two of his three seasons in Tampa. WAR Acquired: 1.0 WAR WAR Lost: 8.5 WAR Alex Meyer and Trevor May These two trades seemed to get lumped together since they happened in the same off-season. With both trades above, the Twins were sending away top-100 prospects, but these trades were a little different. Minnesota dealt established outfielders Denard Span and Ben Revere in exchange for pitching prospects Alex Meyer and Trevor May along with Vance Worley. Meyer struggled as he moved through the upper levels on the minor leagues and he would only pitch in parts of four seasons in the organization. Eventually, he was traded to the Angels before injuries ended his career. He played 22 games at the big-league level and retired after his age-27 season. When trading for May, the Twins likely saw him as a starting pitching prospect, but he has found his niche in the Twins bullpen. Last season, he posted a sub-3.00 ERA while striking out 79 batters in 64 1/3 innings. He can be a free agent at season’s end so he will have plenty to pitch for during the 2020 campaign. WAR Acquired: -0.6 (Meyer), 2.0 (May), and -1.1 (Worley) WAR Lost: 7.0 (Span) and 4.1 (Revere) How did the Twins fare in these trades involving former top-100 prospects? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  24. While we often find ourselves enamored with the incredible athletic ability of players within the parameters of their sport, we tend to forget other pursuits still exist. The Minnesota Twins employ some really good baseball players, and they are all really interesting people as well. Enter Trevor May and the side hustle that has become a brand.If you Google the Minnesota reliever, the first thing that pops up is a link to his Twitter feed and then it’s his Wikipedia page. There’s a set of questions that starts with “Is Trevor May good at baseball?” and then is quickly followed by “Is Trevor May good at Fortnite?” It isn’t until after those entries that his MLB.com bio makes an appearance. This isn’t some sort of coincidence. The popularity of eSports is into the stratosphere, and May is synonymous with the biggest names in the community. He wore the “IamTrevorMay” moniker on the back of his Player’s Weekend jersey, and it’s certainly his outlet when not at work. I caught up with the Twins fireballer (who did hit 100 mph last season) to talk all things not related to baseball. Twins Daily: Obviously athletes have hobbies off the field, but how did it become gaming for you? Trevor May: I’ve always been a gamer from when I was really young. There were some great games that came out when I had a lot of down time from injuries, so here we are. (Note: May was traded to the Twins prior to the 2013 season. He pitched just 46 innings in 2016 and missed all of the 2017 season rehabbing.) TD: Specifically, what about Fortnite drew you in? TM: All of my friends played it AND I love that it was something completely new to learn and master. Then, factor in that creating content around the game was always fresh and fun; I just couldn’t get enough. TD: Was the goal always to create a brand and generate a business of sorts, or what was your initial goal when hopping on Twitch? TM: I just like to perform and interact with people. Sure, building brands and businesses is also something that I’m really passionate about and like doing, but it began as something just to enjoy doing with my spare time. TD: There’s a ton of big names in the eSports community as well. Do you find yourself getting recognized or approached as Trevor May the pitcher, or the streamer that plays baseball? TM: It’s about 50/50 at this point. That’s so cool to me, that it’s like that now. Best of both worlds, I guess. TD: Was it just natural to gravitate toward some of the other large streamers as your own brand grew? Were those relationships you had previously, or how did you end up meeting some of those guys? TM: Yeah, honestly, the biggest draw was that we’re all very similar. We’re older guys that had a lot of the same gaming experiences through our childhoods. Collaboration is huge in gaming and I’m so happy I met all these great people. TD: Where do you go from here? Is it a look towards the next game, an opportunity to create a revenue stream and business post playing career, or is it all just up in the air and see what happens? TM: I’m more interested in learning to build really great businesses to be honest. I’ll always create content and that is a passion of mine, but my ultimate goal is to build great stuff and be fully my own boss. I’ll podcast, I’ll try radio and broadcast I’m sure, but I really just want to test ideas, try different strategies, and ultimately make a lasting difference in this world. TD: Gaming ends up being a great outlet to step away from whatever else we’re committed to. What about the hobby helps you to release away from the diamond? TM: Well, firstly, my performance doesn’t really matter when I play games. I don’t live or die based on outcomes and that’s just nice sometimes, haha. Also, I get to stay in contact with friends, learn new things, and build that side of my life. Kaizen (Japanese business philosophy of continuous improvement of working practices, personal efficiency) is my motto. It’s all about 1% better, more efficient, every day. You can obviously catch Trevor back on the mound in the coming weeks, but he’ll be hanging out at his Twitch channel in between. Seeing guys like May and former Minnesota pitcher Phil Hughes creating content online is a fun view into the more human side of athletes, and it’s something that the masses are definitely embracing. Next time you’re at Target Field, look and see if you can spot any of May’s new baseball jerseys alongside the #65 with the Twins. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
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