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  1. Looking forward to 2022, the Minnesota Twins need some serious roster turnover on the pitching side of things. Their rotation will be entirely new from how it started in 2021, and the bullpen will also have fresh faces. Who survives in relief? For much of the early part of 2021, the relief pitching let Rocco Baldelli’s club down. Alex Colome was no longer close to his career numbers, and Tyler Duffey had seen substantial regression. The guys expected to step up failed to do so, and the Twins were left searching for answers on a near-nightly basis. There are a few givens are going into 2022, but a couple of guys have made cases for themselves to stick around despite potentially being on the outs previously. Derek Falvey has his work cut out for him, but the more he can count on internally, the less turnover the roster will ultimately need to experience. Here’s how I see the group: The Veterans - Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey It looked like a near-certainty that Rogers would be dealt at the deadline. That was before injury put him on the shelf and ended his season. He’ll return in 2022, and Minnesota will undoubtedly be hoping that he returns to form as one of the best lefties in the game. Duffey’s 3.45 ERA is fine on its own, but it’s a far cry from the 1.88 mark he put up just a year ago. Strikeouts are down, and walks are way up. If the Twins have a better unit, they need his best during the final year of arbitration. The Surprises - Caleb Thielbar, Juan Minaya, Luke Farrell, Danny Coulombe Thielbar has been the best of this group. All but retired from baseball and moving onto coaching, he emerged as an option in 2020. This season hasn’t been quite as good, but the 11.2 K/9 is going to play. He’s given up too many dingers, but as a crafty lefty option, there’s plenty to like here. Minaya made his way back to the big leagues this season and has a career-best 2.70 ERA. He’s not dominant by any means, but as a middle-inning guy that’s gotten it done before, he certainly could stick. Both Farrell and Coulombe were depth types for the Twins. Each has seen stretches of effectiveness, and while their ceilings are admittedly limited, one could lay claim to a spot in 2022. The Youth - Jorge Alcala, Ralph Garza, Jovani Moran Minnesota counted on Alcala to take a step forward this season. As a whole, the results have been underwhelming given the 4.20 ERA. However, his last 15 games have resulted in a 1.00 ERA and .501 OPS against. He has a 21/3 K/BB in his last 18 innings pitched. That’s the arm the Twins need out of the gate. Garza was a nice get from the Astros, and he’s been effective with the organization. His strikeout numbers are down some, but he’s looked the part of a middle reliever that can get big leaguers out. Moran isn’t yet established as a future fixture, but he dominated on the farm again this year, and getting a taste going into the offseason should help him prepare to stick in the future. Minnesota used 22 different relievers in 2021, and the pen was often constructed with eight or nine arms. They’ll need better depth and higher ceilings if there’s any interest in being a better unit a year from now. Maybe Alex Colome is asked back as well, but they’ll need to be picky with who is counted upon from a group that severely underwhelmed out of the gate. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  2. For much of the early part of 2021, the relief pitching let Rocco Baldelli’s club down. Alex Colome was no longer close to his career numbers, and Tyler Duffey had seen substantial regression. The guys expected to step up failed to do so, and the Twins were left searching for answers on a near-nightly basis. There are a few givens are going into 2022, but a couple of guys have made cases for themselves to stick around despite potentially being on the outs previously. Derek Falvey has his work cut out for him, but the more he can count on internally, the less turnover the roster will ultimately need to experience. Here’s how I see the group: The Veterans - Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey It looked like a near-certainty that Rogers would be dealt at the deadline. That was before injury put him on the shelf and ended his season. He’ll return in 2022, and Minnesota will undoubtedly be hoping that he returns to form as one of the best lefties in the game. Duffey’s 3.45 ERA is fine on its own, but it’s a far cry from the 1.88 mark he put up just a year ago. Strikeouts are down, and walks are way up. If the Twins have a better unit, they need his best during the final year of arbitration. The Surprises - Caleb Thielbar, Juan Minaya, Luke Farrell, Danny Coulombe Thielbar has been the best of this group. All but retired from baseball and moving onto coaching, he emerged as an option in 2020. This season hasn’t been quite as good, but the 11.2 K/9 is going to play. He’s given up too many dingers, but as a crafty lefty option, there’s plenty to like here. Minaya made his way back to the big leagues this season and has a career-best 2.70 ERA. He’s not dominant by any means, but as a middle-inning guy that’s gotten it done before, he certainly could stick. Both Farrell and Coulombe were depth types for the Twins. Each has seen stretches of effectiveness, and while their ceilings are admittedly limited, one could lay claim to a spot in 2022. The Youth - Jorge Alcala, Ralph Garza, Jovani Moran Minnesota counted on Alcala to take a step forward this season. As a whole, the results have been underwhelming given the 4.20 ERA. However, his last 15 games have resulted in a 1.00 ERA and .501 OPS against. He has a 21/3 K/BB in his last 18 innings pitched. That’s the arm the Twins need out of the gate. Garza was a nice get from the Astros, and he’s been effective with the organization. His strikeout numbers are down some, but he’s looked the part of a middle reliever that can get big leaguers out. Moran isn’t yet established as a future fixture, but he dominated on the farm again this year, and getting a taste going into the offseason should help him prepare to stick in the future. Minnesota used 22 different relievers in 2021, and the pen was often constructed with eight or nine arms. They’ll need better depth and higher ceilings if there’s any interest in being a better unit a year from now. Maybe Alex Colome is asked back as well, but they’ll need to be picky with who is counted upon from a group that severely underwhelmed out of the gate. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  3. The Twins jumped off to a five-run lead early and were able to stay in front for most of the game, despite losing their starter after only 12 pitches. But some terrible ball-strike calls helped the Yankees to rally back and walk it off in extras. Box Score Gant: 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K Home Runs: Polanco (30), Sanó (27), Buxton (14) Bottom 3 WPA: Garza Jr. -.186, Sanó -.146, Donaldson -.110 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Minnesota struck first and took a four-run lead in the first inning, facing former member of the Twins organization Luis Gil. Luis Arráez snapped an 0-for-11 slump with a leadoff single and was later pushed across the plate by a home run from Jorge Polanco. This was his 30th dinger of the season, setting a record for most single-season home runs by a switch-hitter in Twins history, breaking the tie with Chili Davis in 1991. Gil lost Josh Donaldson on a seven-pitch walk immediately after Polanco’s home run. He managed to strike out Max Kepler next for the second out, but then another slumping Twin, Miguel Sanó, snapped his 0-for-13 funk with a high home run to center field which barely cleared the fence, making it 4-0 Minnesota. John Gant started out this game at the mound for Minnesota, but he was forced to leave the game with an apparent injury after throwing only 12 pitches and retiring two batters. Luke Farrell got called into the game and did a fine job, providing 2 1/3 hitless innings, helping to keep the Yankees scoreless through three innings. The Twins kept making good contact off Gil and, during the third inning, they added to their lead with another home run. Leading off the top-half of the inning, Byron Buxton jumped on the first pitch he saw, smashing it to a 106 MPH exit velocity, making it 5-0 Twins. Twins pitchers continued to dominate Yankees' hitting, keeping New York with one hit through 5 2/3 innings. Caleb Thielbar and Kyle Barraclough, who was recalled from Saint Paul earlier today (with Brent Rooker going on the paternity list), delivered two quick, scoreless innings in relief of Farrell. But in the sixth inning, Barraclough got huge help from the outfield defense behind him, as Max Kepler made some crucial plays in right field, robbing New York of at least an extra-base hit that could spark a rally. They did score a run on a sac-fly from DJ LeMahieu, scoring Tyler Wade from third. Terrible umpiring helps the Yankees to rally back Tyler Duffey came into the game to get the last out of the sixth immediately after Barraclough gave up a two-out hit. He opened the seventh fanning Giancarlo Stanton, but he gave up a solo home run to Joey Gallo, cutting Minnesota’s lead to three. He came back to pitch the eighth, but he got some awful calls from home plate umpire Jeff Nelson, who missed at least four calls during that inning. Brent Gardner “drew a walk” on a ball four that was most certainly a strike (pitch #6 below). That put two men on, and Rocco Baldelli pulled Duffey off the game. Alexander Colomé came in to face Aaron Judge, who hit a three-run home run, tying the game at five. Colomé struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth, taking the game to extra innings. All Minnesota was able to do during the 10th inning was to move up the ghost runner on a sacrifice groundout. In the bottom half, Gary Sánchez hit a line drive to left, deep enough to score Gleyber Torres from second, winning the game for New York. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet THU FRI SAT SUN MON TOT Farrell 32 0 12 0 34 78 Minaya 0 40 0 17 0 57 Duffey 0 11 0 0 38 49 Colomé 0 12 0 0 27 39 Coulombe 15 0 23 0 0 38 Moran 0 0 0 37 0 37 Thielbar 0 0 26 0 11 37 Garza Jr. 19 0 0 11 6 36 Alcalá 0 9 0 18 0 27 Barraclough 0 0 0 0 23 23 View full article
  4. Box Score Gant: 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K Home Runs: Polanco (30), Sanó (27), Buxton (14) Bottom 3 WPA: Garza Jr. -.186, Sanó -.146, Donaldson -.110 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Minnesota struck first and took a four-run lead in the first inning, facing former member of the Twins organization Luis Gil. Luis Arráez snapped an 0-for-11 slump with a leadoff single and was later pushed across the plate by a home run from Jorge Polanco. This was his 30th dinger of the season, setting a record for most single-season home runs by a switch-hitter in Twins history, breaking the tie with Chili Davis in 1991. Gil lost Josh Donaldson on a seven-pitch walk immediately after Polanco’s home run. He managed to strike out Max Kepler next for the second out, but then another slumping Twin, Miguel Sanó, snapped his 0-for-13 funk with a high home run to center field which barely cleared the fence, making it 4-0 Minnesota. John Gant started out this game at the mound for Minnesota, but he was forced to leave the game with an apparent injury after throwing only 12 pitches and retiring two batters. Luke Farrell got called into the game and did a fine job, providing 2 1/3 hitless innings, helping to keep the Yankees scoreless through three innings. The Twins kept making good contact off Gil and, during the third inning, they added to their lead with another home run. Leading off the top-half of the inning, Byron Buxton jumped on the first pitch he saw, smashing it to a 106 MPH exit velocity, making it 5-0 Twins. Twins pitchers continued to dominate Yankees' hitting, keeping New York with one hit through 5 2/3 innings. Caleb Thielbar and Kyle Barraclough, who was recalled from Saint Paul earlier today (with Brent Rooker going on the paternity list), delivered two quick, scoreless innings in relief of Farrell. But in the sixth inning, Barraclough got huge help from the outfield defense behind him, as Max Kepler made some crucial plays in right field, robbing New York of at least an extra-base hit that could spark a rally. They did score a run on a sac-fly from DJ LeMahieu, scoring Tyler Wade from third. Terrible umpiring helps the Yankees to rally back Tyler Duffey came into the game to get the last out of the sixth immediately after Barraclough gave up a two-out hit. He opened the seventh fanning Giancarlo Stanton, but he gave up a solo home run to Joey Gallo, cutting Minnesota’s lead to three. He came back to pitch the eighth, but he got some awful calls from home plate umpire Jeff Nelson, who missed at least four calls during that inning. Brent Gardner “drew a walk” on a ball four that was most certainly a strike (pitch #6 below). That put two men on, and Rocco Baldelli pulled Duffey off the game. Alexander Colomé came in to face Aaron Judge, who hit a three-run home run, tying the game at five. Colomé struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth, taking the game to extra innings. All Minnesota was able to do during the 10th inning was to move up the ghost runner on a sacrifice groundout. In the bottom half, Gary Sánchez hit a line drive to left, deep enough to score Gleyber Torres from second, winning the game for New York. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet THU FRI SAT SUN MON TOT Farrell 32 0 12 0 34 78 Minaya 0 40 0 17 0 57 Duffey 0 11 0 0 38 49 Colomé 0 12 0 0 27 39 Coulombe 15 0 23 0 0 38 Moran 0 0 0 37 0 37 Thielbar 0 0 26 0 11 37 Garza Jr. 19 0 0 11 6 36 Alcalá 0 9 0 18 0 27 Barraclough 0 0 0 0 23 23
  5. The first few seasons of Tyler Duffey in a Minnesota Twins uniform were not good. The former Rice closer had an undefined role and owned a 5.46 ERA across his first 287 innings. Then it happened, he became one of the best relievers in baseball. But, where did he go? The Twins have long been working to develop their own internal pitching pipeline. Finding relievers is typically an easier venture given the ability to convert failed starters. Taylor Rogers has become one of the best closers and lefties in baseball, but he was joined by the likes of Trevor May and Tyler Duffey. The past two seasons saw Duffey post a 2.31 ERA in more than 80 innings while punching out 12.5 per nine and walking just 2.2 per nine. Fast forward to 2021. This season the starting rotation has not been good.and unfortunately neither has the bullpen. Duffey owns a fine 3.63 ERA but that’s backed by a 4.10 FIP and lackluster peripherals including a 7.7 K/9 and 5.0 BB/9. His strikeout rate has dropped from 33% the past two seasons down to a dismal 19%. Fortunately for Duffey, the stuff hasn’t resulted in more damage. The batted ball profile remains largely unchanged, and he’s not giving up an additional amount of hard contact. His velocity has held steady at 92 mph, which is down from 2019, but not the worrisome mark that appeared in Spring Training. The largest issue for Duffey is that he’s no longer forcing batters to play into his hands. As a fastball and curveball pitcher, he thrived off setting batters up for a bender they simply couldn’t touch. This season he’s generating just a 27.7% chase rate which is down 13% from 2020, and 5% below his career average. He’s also halved his whiff rate going from 16% a year ago to just 8% this season. The stuff isn’t generating any desire to expand the zone, and isn’t sharp enough to compile swings and misses. Derek Falvey decided to pull the plug on Jose Berrios being extended by the Minnesota Twins and flipped him before the trade deadline. For a team needing pitching help, that signifies a belief in internal development and a desire to supplement externally. Whether in the rotation or the bullpen, efforts will need to come from holdovers. Duffey will again be relatively cheap in 2022 and enters his final year of team control. If the Minnesota Twins are going to be competitive, they’ll need him to again contribute at a high level in key spots. Seeing Duffey emerge as an arm that took time to develop but transformed into an incredible asset, it’s been difficult to watch him take such a stark step backwards this season. We’ve seen the ability play at the highest level, and Rocco Baldelli will need an opportunity to rely on that sort of production once again. It may take an offseason of going back to the drawing board, but for both Duffey and the Twins, each party needs things to revert back to where they were. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  6. Could the Twins and the White Sox swing an intra-division trade? What are areas of need for Chicago? What could the Twins get back from an unlikely trade partner? The 2021 season was supposed to be a battle for AL Central supremacy between the Twins and White Sox. Instead, the Twins are languishing in last place with the fifth-worst record in baseball while Chicago is cruising to their first division title since 2008. What’s Their Situation? Currently owners of the fifth-best record in baseball, the White Sox have a commanding 9.5 game lead over Cleveland entering play on Wednesday. They are competing with the Red Sox Astros, Dodgers, and Giants for the best record in MLB. Perhaps more impressively, they have accomplished this working around significant injuries to the likes of Eloy Jiminez and Nick Madrigal. The White Sox are a lock for post-season play, now, their focus is on gearing up for a strong playoff run. What do They Need? Not a lot. The White Sox have the fifth-best offense in baseball right now, sporting a cumulative 113 wRC+. They have a strong front of the rotation between Carlos Rodon, Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito, and Dallas Keuchel. While Giolito and Keuchel have been, perhaps, a little disappointing, Rodon and Lynn form a formidable one-two punch in any playoff series. The White Sox could strengthen their bullpen for an October run. Currently the 13th best in baseball with the third-worst xFIP, there is a lack of depth behind Liam Hendriks. The other area of need for the Sox is strengthening their infield. Nick Madrigal had season-ending surgery on a torn hamstring, leaving a lack of depth up the middle after the perennially excellent Tim Anderson. Which Twins are the Best Fit? Infield depth and relief pitching may be the biggest needs the Twins could fill for the Southsiders. Andrelton Simmons would be a massive defensive upgrade. Despite 61 wRC+, Simmons has been worth 15 outs above average, good for second in all of baseball behind Nick Ahmed. With Taylor Rogers currently on the IL and reportedly seeking a second and potentially third opinion on his sprained middle finger, Tyler Duffey would be an option that would add depth to the Chicago bullpen. There’s no question Duffey has taken a step back this year, the most concerning seeing his K/9 numbers drop from 11.6 in 2020 to 7.3 in 2021. In spite of this, Duffey still sports a strong 3.20 ERA and doesn’t reach free agency until 2023, making him an appealing option for any team hoping to contend beyond this season. Who Could the Twins get Back? The White Sox system like the Twins has been weakened by a significant number of graduations. Andrew Vaughn, Nick Madrigal, Garrett Crochet, and Michael Kopech are all 2021 graduates, leaving the Sox as the only MLB team without a top 100 prospect. Any return for Simmons would fetch a C-level prospect and serve mainly to shed salary. Duffey would fetch a greater price but teams may be wary of his diminishing peripherals. Yolbert Sanchez, SS, AA Sanchez signed out of Cuba during the international free agency period in 19-20. His best tool is 60-grade defense which makes him a viable big-league shortstop or a quality utility infielder. Sanchez is a right-handed hitter who shows solid contact skills. Sanchez is currently sporting a .360 OBP over two minor league levels in 2021. Tyler Johnson, RHP, AAA Johnson was the closer for South Carolina in his collegiate career, signing as a fifth-round draft pick in 2017. In his first three seasons of pro ball, Johnson tallied 169 strikeouts in 115 innings and managed a 2.27 ERA. Johnson’s best pitch is his fastball, which can reach 98 mph. His inconsistent delivery and mechanics seem to impact the quality of his secondary pitches. His ceiling is a late-inning reliever in the majors. Kade McClure, RHP, AA McClure is a behemoth at 6’7 and best known for being the number two starter behind Brendan McKay at Louisville. McClure missed significant time in his first few pro seasons with injuries. Despite his height, he has a fastball that sits around 92 mph and excellent control, walking just 2.1 per nine innings in 2019. McClure profiles as a back-end starter with a similar makeup to Bailey Ober. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  7. The 2021 season was supposed to be a battle for AL Central supremacy between the Twins and White Sox. Instead, the Twins are languishing in last place with the fifth-worst record in baseball while Chicago is cruising to their first division title since 2008. What’s Their Situation? Currently owners of the fifth-best record in baseball, the White Sox have a commanding 9.5 game lead over Cleveland entering play on Wednesday. They are competing with the Red Sox Astros, Dodgers, and Giants for the best record in MLB. Perhaps more impressively, they have accomplished this working around significant injuries to the likes of Eloy Jiminez and Nick Madrigal. The White Sox are a lock for post-season play, now, their focus is on gearing up for a strong playoff run. What do They Need? Not a lot. The White Sox have the fifth-best offense in baseball right now, sporting a cumulative 113 wRC+. They have a strong front of the rotation between Carlos Rodon, Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito, and Dallas Keuchel. While Giolito and Keuchel have been, perhaps, a little disappointing, Rodon and Lynn form a formidable one-two punch in any playoff series. The White Sox could strengthen their bullpen for an October run. Currently the 13th best in baseball with the third-worst xFIP, there is a lack of depth behind Liam Hendriks. The other area of need for the Sox is strengthening their infield. Nick Madrigal had season-ending surgery on a torn hamstring, leaving a lack of depth up the middle after the perennially excellent Tim Anderson. Which Twins are the Best Fit? Infield depth and relief pitching may be the biggest needs the Twins could fill for the Southsiders. Andrelton Simmons would be a massive defensive upgrade. Despite 61 wRC+, Simmons has been worth 15 outs above average, good for second in all of baseball behind Nick Ahmed. With Taylor Rogers currently on the IL and reportedly seeking a second and potentially third opinion on his sprained middle finger, Tyler Duffey would be an option that would add depth to the Chicago bullpen. There’s no question Duffey has taken a step back this year, the most concerning seeing his K/9 numbers drop from 11.6 in 2020 to 7.3 in 2021. In spite of this, Duffey still sports a strong 3.20 ERA and doesn’t reach free agency until 2023, making him an appealing option for any team hoping to contend beyond this season. Who Could the Twins get Back? The White Sox system like the Twins has been weakened by a significant number of graduations. Andrew Vaughn, Nick Madrigal, Garrett Crochet, and Michael Kopech are all 2021 graduates, leaving the Sox as the only MLB team without a top 100 prospect. Any return for Simmons would fetch a C-level prospect and serve mainly to shed salary. Duffey would fetch a greater price but teams may be wary of his diminishing peripherals. Yolbert Sanchez, SS, AA Sanchez signed out of Cuba during the international free agency period in 19-20. His best tool is 60-grade defense which makes him a viable big-league shortstop or a quality utility infielder. Sanchez is a right-handed hitter who shows solid contact skills. Sanchez is currently sporting a .360 OBP over two minor league levels in 2021. Tyler Johnson, RHP, AAA Johnson was the closer for South Carolina in his collegiate career, signing as a fifth-round draft pick in 2017. In his first three seasons of pro ball, Johnson tallied 169 strikeouts in 115 innings and managed a 2.27 ERA. Johnson’s best pitch is his fastball, which can reach 98 mph. His inconsistent delivery and mechanics seem to impact the quality of his secondary pitches. His ceiling is a late-inning reliever in the majors. Kade McClure, RHP, AA McClure is a behemoth at 6’7 and best known for being the number two starter behind Brendan McKay at Louisville. McClure missed significant time in his first few pro seasons with injuries. Despite his height, he has a fastball that sits around 92 mph and excellent control, walking just 2.1 per nine innings in 2019. McClure profiles as a back-end starter with a similar makeup to Bailey Ober. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  8. The Seattle Mariners are a surprising wild card contender in a crowded American League full of teams who could all reasonably compete for the two spots. Their shock season so far has put them in a unique position. The team prepared for 2022 or 2023 to be their years for contention, but sudden performances (and quite a bit of good luck) have resulted in a riper basket than anticipated. A possible trade connection between the Twins and Mariners is faint but not invisible. What's Their Situation? When writing the title for this article, I thought to add a question mark after the word "Mariners." Such a thing would have served two purposes. The first would have reflected the surprise some may have when they realize that the Seattle Mariners are in wild card contention (1.0 games out as of Tuesday morning), with the second being the enigmatic future of the team. Will they buy? Will they sell? Quite honestly, I am not even sure that Jerry Dipoto knows. On Tuesday, they swung their first major deal in an odd swap with the Astros that, according to Dipoto, will make sense once all of their planned deals have been completed. The team was also in on Adam Frazier before San Diego, as per usual, swooped in to pick him up. In the dead of night on Tuesday, Tyler Anderson was swiped from under the Phillies nose. Knowing Dipoto’s love of deals, we are in for some truly wild stuff. What Do They Need? Bats, and a lot of them. The team has just a 91 wRC+ as a whole as their team batting average infamously dipped below the Mendoza line for a portion of the year. They have somewhat rebounded as their wRC+ since the start of June is 100, but holes still exist at significant positions. Second base has been a particularly nasty position for them as either Dylan Moore or Shed Long Jr. have participated there this season with little success. They also have no significant prospects at the position. Beyond that, there is no real clear-cut need in the lineup. Many of the Mariners' position players are either in flux due to injuries or are just warming the spot of a significant prospect. Even with their poorly performing players, I find it challenging to put together a trade because the team is in such a major transition. Perhaps they usurp one of those prospects with an unexpected deal, but I do not see that happening. Again, I must stress that nothing is out of question with Dipoto, to the point that them bringing in Miguel Sanó or Max Kepler would not be out of the question. Their starting rotation, however, is more apparent as a point of concern. Yusei Kikuchi has been outstanding, and Logan Gilbert looks to be the real deal, but the rest is uninspiring. Chris Flexen is hilariously overperforming, Marco Gonzales has regressed, and Justin Dunn and Justus Sheffield have been flimsy during their time in the majors. They have prospects to fill these spots, but most of them will not be ready until 2022 or beyond. They did fill a need by acquiring Anderson. Which Twins Are The Best Fit? In a beautiful twist, the best fit may be an ex-Mariner. Michael Pineda would be a consistent presence in a rotation full of youthful arms. He could provide the exact type of 5-6 inning guarantee that few other pitchers on their roster can promise. Depending on the price, the team may add him for a more negligible cost than what other, more major names may net. A shocking trade for José Berríos may not be out of play. The Mariners have well learned that pitching prospects are far from promises, and Jerry Dipoto is an absolute madman, so a move for an established arm could be in their plans. Still, Berríos looks to depart after 2022, and that kind of uncertainty will probably turn off a team looking towards the future. If you squint hard enough, then a surprising deal for Luis Arraez also may be in the cards. The second base position has been a black hole for the team, and they could use a long-term player with the ability to play third as Kyle Seager is unlikely to return following the end of the season. The team knows this as well-they tried to acquire Frazier, as mentioned earlier, and other second baseman have been connected to them Still, the Twins' asking price for Arraez and the Mariners' willingness to meet that mark are probably on two separate continents. Beyond them, the team may look to add a bullpen depth piece like Tyler Duffey. Originally I had written Hansel Robles in here as well, but his performance on Tuesday reflects a player who is anything but valuable. Do you like pitching prospects? Good. Their top 7 or so prospects are likely untouchable, but beyond them, they have: Wyatt Mills: A 26-year-old pure reliever with enough funk to make George Clinton proud. Eric Longenhagen wrote that Mills' "combo of repertoire depth (though he's been exclusively fastball/slider so far in the big leagues) and command are both rare for a reliever." Yes, a pure reliever prospect is not the most exciting option, but he would satisfy a desperate need. Sam Carlson: A 22-year-old Minnesota boy with upside. Carlson is almost entirely unknown as a prospect as a combination of Tommy John surgery and an absent minor league season in 2020 forced him to go four years between throwing a pitch in a professional setting. In any case, Carlson's pedigree as a 2nd round pick reflects an arm with potential. Matt Brash: A more typical hard-throwing righty with quality stuff. Brash is a prototypically modern pitching prospect who possesses great ability with questionable command. If he reigns it in, he's an All-Star; if not, he's a reliever. He can be yet another lotto ticket in the Twins farm. Review: Quite frankly, a trade with the Mariners made much more sense a week ago-when this article was first written. The Cruz trade and the Anderson deal have thrown any predictions out the window. All I can really say now is "be prepared for something weird from this team." The Mariners are genuinely in the great unknown as a team. All signs point towards them selling, but their record so far has gifted them a chance to become soft buyers in the hope that other franchises crash and burn around them. Players like Duffey, Pineda, and potentially Robles may be of interest to them. The partnership is certainly odd, but it would not be all too surprising if the two teams find a way to make a deal with each other. Remember, the Twins did trade Zach Duke to the Mariners in 2018, so a prior relationship does exist. View full article
  9. What's Their Situation? When writing the title for this article, I thought to add a question mark after the word "Mariners." Such a thing would have served two purposes. The first would have reflected the surprise some may have when they realize that the Seattle Mariners are in wild card contention (1.0 games out as of Tuesday morning), with the second being the enigmatic future of the team. Will they buy? Will they sell? Quite honestly, I am not even sure that Jerry Dipoto knows. On Tuesday, they swung their first major deal in an odd swap with the Astros that, according to Dipoto, will make sense once all of their planned deals have been completed. The team was also in on Adam Frazier before San Diego, as per usual, swooped in to pick him up. In the dead of night on Tuesday, Tyler Anderson was swiped from under the Phillies nose. Knowing Dipoto’s love of deals, we are in for some truly wild stuff. What Do They Need? Bats, and a lot of them. The team has just a 91 wRC+ as a whole as their team batting average infamously dipped below the Mendoza line for a portion of the year. They have somewhat rebounded as their wRC+ since the start of June is 100, but holes still exist at significant positions. Second base has been a particularly nasty position for them as either Dylan Moore or Shed Long Jr. have participated there this season with little success. They also have no significant prospects at the position. Beyond that, there is no real clear-cut need in the lineup. Many of the Mariners' position players are either in flux due to injuries or are just warming the spot of a significant prospect. Even with their poorly performing players, I find it challenging to put together a trade because the team is in such a major transition. Perhaps they usurp one of those prospects with an unexpected deal, but I do not see that happening. Again, I must stress that nothing is out of question with Dipoto, to the point that them bringing in Miguel Sanó or Max Kepler would not be out of the question. Their starting rotation, however, is more apparent as a point of concern. Yusei Kikuchi has been outstanding, and Logan Gilbert looks to be the real deal, but the rest is uninspiring. Chris Flexen is hilariously overperforming, Marco Gonzales has regressed, and Justin Dunn and Justus Sheffield have been flimsy during their time in the majors. They have prospects to fill these spots, but most of them will not be ready until 2022 or beyond. They did fill a need by acquiring Anderson. Which Twins Are The Best Fit? In a beautiful twist, the best fit may be an ex-Mariner. Michael Pineda would be a consistent presence in a rotation full of youthful arms. He could provide the exact type of 5-6 inning guarantee that few other pitchers on their roster can promise. Depending on the price, the team may add him for a more negligible cost than what other, more major names may net. A shocking trade for José Berríos may not be out of play. The Mariners have well learned that pitching prospects are far from promises, and Jerry Dipoto is an absolute madman, so a move for an established arm could be in their plans. Still, Berríos looks to depart after 2022, and that kind of uncertainty will probably turn off a team looking towards the future. If you squint hard enough, then a surprising deal for Luis Arraez also may be in the cards. The second base position has been a black hole for the team, and they could use a long-term player with the ability to play third as Kyle Seager is unlikely to return following the end of the season. The team knows this as well-they tried to acquire Frazier, as mentioned earlier, and other second baseman have been connected to them Still, the Twins' asking price for Arraez and the Mariners' willingness to meet that mark are probably on two separate continents. Beyond them, the team may look to add a bullpen depth piece like Tyler Duffey. Originally I had written Hansel Robles in here as well, but his performance on Tuesday reflects a player who is anything but valuable. Do you like pitching prospects? Good. Their top 7 or so prospects are likely untouchable, but beyond them, they have: Wyatt Mills: A 26-year-old pure reliever with enough funk to make George Clinton proud. Eric Longenhagen wrote that Mills' "combo of repertoire depth (though he's been exclusively fastball/slider so far in the big leagues) and command are both rare for a reliever." Yes, a pure reliever prospect is not the most exciting option, but he would satisfy a desperate need. Sam Carlson: A 22-year-old Minnesota boy with upside. Carlson is almost entirely unknown as a prospect as a combination of Tommy John surgery and an absent minor league season in 2020 forced him to go four years between throwing a pitch in a professional setting. In any case, Carlson's pedigree as a 2nd round pick reflects an arm with potential. Matt Brash: A more typical hard-throwing righty with quality stuff. Brash is a prototypically modern pitching prospect who possesses great ability with questionable command. If he reigns it in, he's an All-Star; if not, he's a reliever. He can be yet another lotto ticket in the Twins farm. Review: Quite frankly, a trade with the Mariners made much more sense a week ago-when this article was first written. The Cruz trade and the Anderson deal have thrown any predictions out the window. All I can really say now is "be prepared for something weird from this team." The Mariners are genuinely in the great unknown as a team. All signs point towards them selling, but their record so far has gifted them a chance to become soft buyers in the hope that other franchises crash and burn around them. Players like Duffey, Pineda, and potentially Robles may be of interest to them. The partnership is certainly odd, but it would not be all too surprising if the two teams find a way to make a deal with each other. Remember, the Twins did trade Zach Duke to the Mariners in 2018, so a prior relationship does exist.
  10. Philadelphia fans' pinnacle isn't that they threw snowballs at Santa Claus. It's that they will defend it to this day because Santa was too skinny. The lesson? Don't disappoint the City of Brotherly Love. Well, the Phillies are. And the Twins can help with their most significant need. What's Their Situation? The Phillies declared themselves contenders before the 2019 season when they signed Bryce Harper to a 13-year(!) $330M contract. They backed it up with the fourth-highest payroll in MLB this year. And yet, they haven't made the postseason the last two years and are in danger of missing it again. This year, the NL Wild Card already looks out of reach, but the NL East is a four-team slugfest (or maybe more of a slap fight?) with the Mets, Phillies, Braves, and Nationals all firmly determined to remain within arm's reach of .500. Whichever team makes the right moves at the deadline could eke out a postseason spot. Plus, the Phillies' needs are relatively straightforward, and the Twins are a good fit for several of them. What Do They Need? It is remarkable that the Phillies somehow need the same thing every year: bullpen help. You think the Twins' bullpen has been brutal? The Phillies are twice as bad. And I mean that objectively – their relievers have a collective WPA of -3.33, almost doubling the Twins mark of -1.78. The Twins have 12 blown saves on the year, while the Phillies lead the majors in that dubious category with 22. Which Twins Are the Best Fit? All the relievers, obviously. No, not Alex Colome – even Philly's behavior at the 2018 NFC Championship game doesn't justify that level of punishment. But Hansel Robles, Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, and even Caleb Thielbar would be of interest. The fact that several are team-controlled for multiple years would help the Phillies solve a seemingly perennial problem. And the fact that the Twins can offer multiple arms is even more valuable, giving them the flexibility to get numerous arms by giving up a single more valuable prospect. Every team could use some more help in their starting rotation, and the Phils are no exception. They have Zack Wheeler as an ace so far this year, and Aaron Nola and Zach Eflin have been serviceable, but a healthy Michael Pineda or Jose Berrios would obviously be of interest. Offensively, you would think a lineup with a core of Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Rhys Hopkins, and Andrew McCutchen would be elite. Yet the Phils' offense is only slightly above average. Still, it's hard to find a fit. The best fit might be Josh Donaldson taking over at third base: the Phils certainly can spend money, and Alec Bohm is posting just a 641 OPS this year, has struggled defensively, and tested positive for Covid on July 11th. However, he's also just 24 years old and a legit prospect who hit .338 last year in his rookie season. It's unlikely the Phils want to block him for the next two years at third base. Other than that, the biggest weakness is at shortstop (veteran Didi Gregorius) and center field (injured Odubel Herrera). But the Twins don't have a great replacement for either unless they get an offer they can't refuse for Byron Buxton. Who Could The Twins Get Back? This is always a shot in the dark, but let's review some candidates... Alec Bohm, 3B, 24yo – The aforementioned Bohm is the Phillies' top young player, but he's their everyday third baseman. Could the Twins replace him with Donaldson and throw in some salary or arms (or both) to find a workable package? Seems a lot of moving pieces to arrange. Spencer Howard, RHP, 24yo – It's hard to say what Howard's value is these days. This offseason, he was still considered a top 50 overall starting pitching prospect. But now he's spent portions of two seasons in the majors, posted a 5.87 ERA, and was shut down with shoulder soreness in between. This is where scouting matters. Rafael Marchan, C, 22yo – It's hard to tell what the Phils' strategy was with Marchan. He was clearly rushed to the majors, meaning he's already burned two option years. He's shown no power, but he's also just 22. He's a switch-hitter, but stronger from his left side, which seems like a good fit. He just seems like the kind of guy the Twins believe they can coach up and shouldn't cost a lot. View full article
  11. What's Their Situation? The Phillies declared themselves contenders before the 2019 season when they signed Bryce Harper to a 13-year(!) $330M contract. They backed it up with the fourth-highest payroll in MLB this year. And yet, they haven't made the postseason the last two years and are in danger of missing it again. This year, the NL Wild Card already looks out of reach, but the NL East is a four-team slugfest (or maybe more of a slap fight?) with the Mets, Phillies, Braves, and Nationals all firmly determined to remain within arm's reach of .500. Whichever team makes the right moves at the deadline could eke out a postseason spot. Plus, the Phillies' needs are relatively straightforward, and the Twins are a good fit for several of them. What Do They Need? It is remarkable that the Phillies somehow need the same thing every year: bullpen help. You think the Twins' bullpen has been brutal? The Phillies are twice as bad. And I mean that objectively – their relievers have a collective WPA of -3.33, almost doubling the Twins mark of -1.78. The Twins have 12 blown saves on the year, while the Phillies lead the majors in that dubious category with 22. Which Twins Are the Best Fit? All the relievers, obviously. No, not Alex Colome – even Philly's behavior at the 2018 NFC Championship game doesn't justify that level of punishment. But Hansel Robles, Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, and even Caleb Thielbar would be of interest. The fact that several are team-controlled for multiple years would help the Phillies solve a seemingly perennial problem. And the fact that the Twins can offer multiple arms is even more valuable, giving them the flexibility to get numerous arms by giving up a single more valuable prospect. Every team could use some more help in their starting rotation, and the Phils are no exception. They have Zack Wheeler as an ace so far this year, and Aaron Nola and Zach Eflin have been serviceable, but a healthy Michael Pineda or Jose Berrios would obviously be of interest. Offensively, you would think a lineup with a core of Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Rhys Hopkins, and Andrew McCutchen would be elite. Yet the Phils' offense is only slightly above average. Still, it's hard to find a fit. The best fit might be Josh Donaldson taking over at third base: the Phils certainly can spend money, and Alec Bohm is posting just a 641 OPS this year, has struggled defensively, and tested positive for Covid on July 11th. However, he's also just 24 years old and a legit prospect who hit .338 last year in his rookie season. It's unlikely the Phils want to block him for the next two years at third base. Other than that, the biggest weakness is at shortstop (veteran Didi Gregorius) and center field (injured Odubel Herrera). But the Twins don't have a great replacement for either unless they get an offer they can't refuse for Byron Buxton. Who Could The Twins Get Back? This is always a shot in the dark, but let's review some candidates... Alec Bohm, 3B, 24yo – The aforementioned Bohm is the Phillies' top young player, but he's their everyday third baseman. Could the Twins replace him with Donaldson and throw in some salary or arms (or both) to find a workable package? Seems a lot of moving pieces to arrange. Spencer Howard, RHP, 24yo – It's hard to say what Howard's value is these days. This offseason, he was still considered a top 50 overall starting pitching prospect. But now he's spent portions of two seasons in the majors, posted a 5.87 ERA, and was shut down with shoulder soreness in between. This is where scouting matters. Rafael Marchan, C, 22yo – It's hard to tell what the Phils' strategy was with Marchan. He was clearly rushed to the majors, meaning he's already burned two option years. He's shown no power, but he's also just 22. He's a switch-hitter, but stronger from his left side, which seems like a good fit. He just seems like the kind of guy the Twins believe they can coach up and shouldn't cost a lot.
  12. Each contending team has holes to fill as the deadline approaches. Here is how the Twins can help each contending NL team. Mets, Third Base Before his recent injury, reports serviced of the Twins and Mets having some initial discussions about a deal involving Josh Donaldson. There are obviously plenty of things to consider with the amount of money remaining on his contract. How much money do the Twins need to cover? What kind of prospect can they get in return? Donaldson has continued to produce offensively, and he can be an October weapon for a club that is willing to deal with some of his antics. Potential Fit: Josh Donaldson Nationals, Starting Pitcher The Nationals have been riding Max Scherzer at the top of the rotation, but there are plenty of other question marks in the rest of their staff. Realistically, Washington needs to add multiple starters including someone with more upside than Pineda. That being said, the NL East is up for grabs, and they have an opportunity to head back to October with rotational upgrades. Potential Fit: Michael Pineda Brewers, Offensive Upgrade Milwaukee finds themselves at the top of the NL Central thanks in large part to a tremendous pitching staff. If they want to find October success, they are going to need to add more to their offense. Nelson Cruz would look great in the middle of their line-up, but no NL DH means that’s out of the question. Donaldson can add a power bat to their line-up if the Twins are willing to eat most of the contract to send him to their border state rival. Potential Fit: Donaldson Reds, Relief Pitcher Cincinnati’s bullpen is terrible as they rank near the bottom of the NL in many metrics. They likely need to add multiple relievers to find any sort of run to the postseason, but are they going to want to surrender the capital needed to make this happen? Minnesota has multiple relievers that are available including plenty of arms with late-inning experience. Potential Fit: Taylor Rogers Giants, Starting Pitcher San Francisco wasn’t supposed to be at the top of the NL West, but baseball is a funny game. Their line-up doesn’t have many glaring needs, so adding to their starting pitching depth seems like the best way to stay at the top of the division. Jose Berrios might be one of the best starters available at the deadline and he can keep them at the top of their division. Potential Fit: Jose Berrios Dodgers, Starting Pitcher Minnesota’s front office has worked with Los Angeles before as part of the Kenta Maeda deal, so that might make another big trade easier for both sides. The Dodgers want to prove that last year’s shortened season title wasn’t a fluke and adding Berrios means the other contenders in their division won’t have the opportunity to acquire him. Potential Fit: Berrios Padres, Relief Pitcher San Diego spent big this winter and they are clearly in win now mode. They can likely use a starting pitcher and some other offensive help, but the Twins have intriguing bullpen arms. Duffey, like Rogers comes with an extra year of team control and that only increases each player’s value. Minnesota might not want to deal Duffey, but the Padres have prospects that might be tough to turn down. Potential Fit: Tyler Duffey There are also plenty of deals the Twins can make with AL squads including multiple teams interested in Cruz. Which of these deals is most likely to happen? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  13. Mets, Third Base Before his recent injury, reports serviced of the Twins and Mets having some initial discussions about a deal involving Josh Donaldson. There are obviously plenty of things to consider with the amount of money remaining on his contract. How much money do the Twins need to cover? What kind of prospect can they get in return? Donaldson has continued to produce offensively, and he can be an October weapon for a club that is willing to deal with some of his antics. Potential Fit: Josh Donaldson Nationals, Starting Pitcher The Nationals have been riding Max Scherzer at the top of the rotation, but there are plenty of other question marks in the rest of their staff. Realistically, Washington needs to add multiple starters including someone with more upside than Pineda. That being said, the NL East is up for grabs, and they have an opportunity to head back to October with rotational upgrades. Potential Fit: Michael Pineda Brewers, Offensive Upgrade Milwaukee finds themselves at the top of the NL Central thanks in large part to a tremendous pitching staff. If they want to find October success, they are going to need to add more to their offense. Nelson Cruz would look great in the middle of their line-up, but no NL DH means that’s out of the question. Donaldson can add a power bat to their line-up if the Twins are willing to eat most of the contract to send him to their border state rival. Potential Fit: Donaldson Reds, Relief Pitcher Cincinnati’s bullpen is terrible as they rank near the bottom of the NL in many metrics. They likely need to add multiple relievers to find any sort of run to the postseason, but are they going to want to surrender the capital needed to make this happen? Minnesota has multiple relievers that are available including plenty of arms with late-inning experience. Potential Fit: Taylor Rogers Giants, Starting Pitcher San Francisco wasn’t supposed to be at the top of the NL West, but baseball is a funny game. Their line-up doesn’t have many glaring needs, so adding to their starting pitching depth seems like the best way to stay at the top of the division. Jose Berrios might be one of the best starters available at the deadline and he can keep them at the top of their division. Potential Fit: Jose Berrios Dodgers, Starting Pitcher Minnesota’s front office has worked with Los Angeles before as part of the Kenta Maeda deal, so that might make another big trade easier for both sides. The Dodgers want to prove that last year’s shortened season title wasn’t a fluke and adding Berrios means the other contenders in their division won’t have the opportunity to acquire him. Potential Fit: Berrios Padres, Relief Pitcher San Diego spent big this winter and they are clearly in win now mode. They can likely use a starting pitcher and some other offensive help, but the Twins have intriguing bullpen arms. Duffey, like Rogers comes with an extra year of team control and that only increases each player’s value. Minnesota might not want to deal Duffey, but the Padres have prospects that might be tough to turn down. Potential Fit: Tyler Duffey There are also plenty of deals the Twins can make with AL squads including multiple teams interested in Cruz. Which of these deals is most likely to happen? 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. I might love the Twins, and defend them even during some of the darkest times, but that also means being honest even when it hurts. That kind of tough love was exactly what came to mind when Tyler Duffey used his relief appearance in a close contest to 'send a message' by throwing behind Yermin Mercedes on only the fourth pitch of his appearance. Everyone seemed to know it was coming. Tony La Russa, fresh from using his media time all but telling the Twins they *should* bean Mercedes, had a conversation with the umpiring crew before the incident, likely warning them what was to come. Rookie Twins pitcher Bailey Ober was making his debut that evening, and wasn't going to spoil his first start in the majors by getting involved. But now, with Ober done for the night, Duffey in, and Mercedes up to the plate with 1 out, the ingredients were there. And then, it happened. This, in a not-so-polite word, was chicken****. For a long time, when other teams or crusty veterans have crowed about 'playing the white right way' or unwritten rules, I've been able to take solace in the fact that the Twins haven't engaged in similar grandstanding since the Falvine era started, and that the roster was young, diverse, and helping usher in a new era of enjoying baseball and reveling in the emotion. There have been a few speed bumps along the way. Sure, the broadcasters aren't in the clubhouse, but you were sure to hear a lot about what wasn't okay when Bert Blyleven or Jack Morris were in the analyst seat, and Dan Gladden has used his presence on the radio to show his age from time to time. In terms of the actual team, Paul Molitor was never likely to put on a "Let the Kids Play" hoodie, and Brian Dozier got in on the action once with a take so cold that it's a strong candidate to host the next Winter Olympics. But overall, in this most recent era, Rocco's clubhouse has been loose and positive, with none of the toxic tantrums that still plague the sport decades after it should have gone out of style. Intentional HBP's felt alien. You could feel good about cheering on this team if you cared about that sort of thing. Well, Tyler Duffey put a 93 MPH fastball-shaped dent in that argument with his retaliation, and nobody comes out of this looking good except for the White Sox players more or less in open revolt over their own manager's caveman philosophies. Willians Astudillo's fuming on the mound after the initial home run (Willians! One of the most enjoyable players to spectate in baseball! Chirping about unwritten rules! What is the world coming to?!), Duffey's willingness to jeopardize a close game (and definitely get ejected) when the bullpen desperately needs to turn things around... and I understand that Rocco Baldelli's job is to have his players' backs, but to use the rain and say "our plan was to pitch him inside" as an excuse and feign innocence over any malicious intent feels awful to hear coming out of his mouth. I mean, just say that Duffey got distracted because he thought he saw a raccoon behind home plate. Or maybe it was a rat, he couldn't be sure. None of this had to happen. Nobody would have thought of the Twins as pushovers or weak had they not decided to exact vengeance. Tony La Russa saw the opportunity to seize all the negative attention from Mercedes's dinger and did so with both hands. Why Rocco, Duffey, Astudillo, or anyone else involved didn't allow him to enjoy that time to himself is baffling to me- Especially when every Twin Cities sportswriter with a hot take to conjure up and column inches to fill needs a reason to complain about the team that doesn't feel like a retread. Well, you gave it to them in spades. And that's on you. It's not enough to play better, Twins. Please *be* better.
  15. How Did We Get Here? On Monday night, the Twins were getting blown out by the White Sox in the ninth inning. So instead of wasting another bullpen arm, Rocco Baldelli turned to Willians Astudillo to finish out the game. This is the third time La Tortuga has been used as a pitcher and his second time so far in 2021. Fans that had stuck around until the end gave Astudillo a cheer as he headed to the bump. Yermin Mercedes was one of the players to step in against Astudillo and this is where the unwritten rules come into play. After working the count to 3-0, Mercedes clocked a 47.1 mph pitch for a home run. The unwritten rule that seemed to be broken was the fact that Mercedes swung at a 3-0 pitch when his team was up by 11 runs. Chicago’s manager Tony La Russa, a Hall of Famer with an old school mentality, was not too happy about Mercedes swinging away. The take sign had been put on by the third base coach and Mercedes decided to ignore it. La Russa told the press it was a “big mistake,” and he even took some steps out of the dugout so he could yell at his batter to take the pitch. La Russa went as far as to say that he or his third base coach will run out in front of the pitcher to stop this type of thing from happening again. On Tuesday, things went a step further. In the seventh inning, Tyler Duffey threw behind Mercedes in the seventh inning and he was promptly thrown out of the game. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli quickly came to the defense of his player and he was ejected along with Duffey. And so, the saga continued… What About the Unwritten Rules? An old school mentality would say the Twins upheld the unwritten rules by throwing near the offending player in the next game. Duffey didn’t throw near his head or with an intent to injury Mercedes. Minnesota was trailing by two at the time and came back to win, so maybe the baseball gods were rewarding the team for upholding the unwritten rules. That being said, it seemed like a foolish thing for the Twins to lose one of their best relievers in a close game, especially with how poorly the team had been playing. After the game, former Twin Lance Lynn had some interesting things to say about the baseball’s unwritten rules. "The more I play this game, the more those rules have gone away, and I understand it,” Lynn said. “The way I see it is, for position players on the mound, there are no rules. Let's get the damn game over with. And if you have a problem with whatever happens, then put a pitcher out there. Can't get mad when there's a position player on the field and a guy takes a swing." Lynn went on to say, “You're damned if you do, damned if you don't, it seems like. But I think everybody should just play the game as hard as they can and do all that, and don't worry about anything else." This seems like a mentality that both sides can agree with moving forward. Play the game hard and hopefully some of those unwritten rules will continue to go to the wayside. What are your thoughts on the unwritten rules? 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
  16. The Twins have been wrapped up in a mess of a situation during their series with the White Sox and everything ties back to baseball’s unwritten rules. Unfortunately, these unwritten rules are hurting the game and multiple parties looked foolish at the end of the day. How Did We Get Here? On Monday night, the Twins were getting blown out by the White Sox in the ninth inning. So instead of wasting another bullpen arm, Rocco Baldelli turned to Willians Astudillo to finish out the game. This is the third time La Tortuga has been used as a pitcher and his second time so far in 2021. Fans that had stuck around until the end gave Astudillo a cheer as he headed to the bump. Yermin Mercedes was one of the players to step in against Astudillo and this is where the unwritten rules come into play. After working the count to 3-0, Mercedes clocked a 47.1 mph pitch for a home run. The unwritten rule that seemed to be broken was the fact that Mercedes swung at a 3-0 pitch when his team was up by 11 runs. Chicago’s manager Tony La Russa, a Hall of Famer with an old school mentality, was not too happy about Mercedes swinging away. The take sign had been put on by the third base coach and Mercedes decided to ignore it. La Russa told the press it was a “big mistake,” and he even took some steps out of the dugout so he could yell at his batter to take the pitch. La Russa went as far as to say that he or his third base coach will run out in front of the pitcher to stop this type of thing from happening again. On Tuesday, things went a step further. In the seventh inning, Tyler Duffey threw behind Mercedes in the seventh inning and he was promptly thrown out of the game. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli quickly came to the defense of his player and he was ejected along with Duffey. And so, the saga continued… What About the Unwritten Rules? An old school mentality would say the Twins upheld the unwritten rules by throwing near the offending player in the next game. Duffey didn’t throw near his head or with an intent to injury Mercedes. Minnesota was trailing by two at the time and came back to win, so maybe the baseball gods were rewarding the team for upholding the unwritten rules. That being said, it seemed like a foolish thing for the Twins to lose one of their best relievers in a close game, especially with how poorly the team had been playing. After the game, former Twin Lance Lynn had some interesting things to say about the baseball’s unwritten rules. "The more I play this game, the more those rules have gone away, and I understand it,” Lynn said. “The way I see it is, for position players on the mound, there are no rules. Let's get the damn game over with. And if you have a problem with whatever happens, then put a pitcher out there. Can't get mad when there's a position player on the field and a guy takes a swing." Lynn went on to say, “You're damned if you do, damned if you don't, it seems like. But I think everybody should just play the game as hard as they can and do all that, and don't worry about anything else." This seems like a mentality that both sides can agree with moving forward. Play the game hard and hopefully some of those unwritten rules will continue to go to the wayside. What are your thoughts on the unwritten rules? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  17. Coming into the 2021 Major League Baseball season this Minnesota Twins club was expected to battle with the Chicago White Sox for the AL Central Division title. Someone apparently forgot to tell them that. We’re now over 30 games into the season and Rocco Baldelli’s club is nearly double-digit games out of first place in the division. The story this offseason was one of winning a playoff game, but at this point getting there looks like a herculean feat. A week ago, I wrote about where blame should fall for this debacle. Taking that a step further, which players have regressed the most, and should we have seen it coming? Max Kepler Back in 2019 the Twins inked Kepler to a five-year contract extension. They had a corner outfielder that had done just enough but was looking to breakthrough. They gambled right and that season the German-native posted an .855 OPS. Since that season he’s played in 72 games and posted just a .720 OPS. Although the .760 OPS in 2020 was still a step forward from where he’d been previously, Minnesota was going to need more in the year ahead. He’s responded but hitting below the Mendoza Line with an OPS of .642. He’s got just two homers in 99 plate appearances and the power potential has been all but sapped. Kepler has struggled at times against lefties in his career, even to the point of being platooned for a period. He’s become an advanced defender, but he’s stretched a bit in centerfield, and it has put his body in more of a demanding scenario as well. It’s one thing when he’s hitting at the bottom of the lineup, but this is a guy the Twins groomed to hit leadoff or for power in the middle, and he’s become anything but. At 28 there’s still time, but it’s getting late early on the 2021 campaign. Miguel Sano Arguably one of the most frustrating players in recent Twins memory, there is no one more of a lightning rod for criticism than Sano is. Despite a .923 OPS across 105 games two years ago, the guy has never been given grace. He’s allowed laziness and character issues to creep in off the field, and even after turning a corner there, performance took a step backwards. Getting off to a late start due to Covid in 2020, Sano has doubled down in 2021. He’s got an unacceptable .496 OPS and looks completely overmatched at the plate. No longer is he able to catch up to fastballs, and while the season started with a strong walk inducing plate discipline, he now looks to be up there flailing. This is a guy that went from Nelson Cruz protégé to someone that could wind up being a lost cause for the organization. Like Kepler, he too is just 28, but at bats are now no longer guaranteed for the first basemen and it’s on him to re-earn any semblance of trust. Tyler Duffey This is arguably the most surprising. Over 81.2 innings the past two seasons Duffey transformed himself into one of baseball’s best relievers. He owned a 2.31 ERA bolstered by a 12.5 K/9 and a 2.2 BB/9. The stuff was electric, he had strong command of it, and hitters found themselves looking like something close to an automatic out when he was on the bump. A 5.25 ERA isn’t overtly concerning across just 12.0 IP, but the lack of command and dominance is certainly a problem. Duffey has just a 10/9 K/BB this season and is seemingly not able to get batters to miss the ball. His 9.0 H/9 simply won’t play, and for a guy that was counted on to be a key back-end bullpen piece, Baldelli has been left searching for even more answers with one of his key cogs becoming completely unreliable. Mitch Garver I’m not certain that regression is entirely fair here for Garver as it depends on what the expectation was. I think it’s fair to suggest that his .995 OPS in 2019 wasn’t indicative of the player he is, just as the .511 mark battling through a core injury wasn’t a season ago. He’s since turned it on a bit and now owns a .733 OPS, but the 32/7 K/BB just isn’t reflective of the hitter we once saw. For Garver it doesn’t seem the problem is so much that he’s struggled with what to attack, but instead has been unable to attack the same pitches he once could. Previously hunting and crushing fastballs, he’s sat on that pitch in 2021 but been able to do little with it. Having dealt with a couple of bumps and bruises, it hasn’t been a fluid start to the year, but he could certainly ride some momentum back towards an acceptable output. Looking at the names above, I think they’re probably listed in order of impact and surprise. Kepler hasn’t been good for going on two years now, but he’s also been asked to do substantially more defensively and the level of consistency when getting to the ballpark hasn’t been there. Sano’s ceiling has long been established, and when the bottom falls out of a player like that it crashes hard. For Duffey there has to be a tweak that allows something better the rest of the way, and Garver isn’t far off from what should’ve been expected from him. All in all, the Minnesota Twins are where they are because the core players in their lineup and on the roster have fallen flat. Steps back should always be expected, but by virtually everyone at the same time, that’s pretty difficult to overcome. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  18. We’re now over 30 games into the season and Rocco Baldelli’s club is nearly double-digit games out of first place in the division. The story this offseason was one of winning a playoff game, but at this point getting there looks like a herculean feat. A week ago, I wrote about where blame should fall for this debacle. Taking that a step further, which players have regressed the most, and should we have seen it coming? Max Kepler Back in 2019 the Twins inked Kepler to a five-year contract extension. They had a corner outfielder that had done just enough but was looking to breakthrough. They gambled right and that season the German-native posted an .855 OPS. Since that season he’s played in 72 games and posted just a .720 OPS. Although the .760 OPS in 2020 was still a step forward from where he’d been previously, Minnesota was going to need more in the year ahead. He’s responded but hitting below the Mendoza Line with an OPS of .642. He’s got just two homers in 99 plate appearances and the power potential has been all but sapped. Kepler has struggled at times against lefties in his career, even to the point of being platooned for a period. He’s become an advanced defender, but he’s stretched a bit in centerfield, and it has put his body in more of a demanding scenario as well. It’s one thing when he’s hitting at the bottom of the lineup, but this is a guy the Twins groomed to hit leadoff or for power in the middle, and he’s become anything but. At 28 there’s still time, but it’s getting late early on the 2021 campaign. Miguel Sano Arguably one of the most frustrating players in recent Twins memory, there is no one more of a lightning rod for criticism than Sano is. Despite a .923 OPS across 105 games two years ago, the guy has never been given grace. He’s allowed laziness and character issues to creep in off the field, and even after turning a corner there, performance took a step backwards. Getting off to a late start due to Covid in 2020, Sano has doubled down in 2021. He’s got an unacceptable .496 OPS and looks completely overmatched at the plate. No longer is he able to catch up to fastballs, and while the season started with a strong walk inducing plate discipline, he now looks to be up there flailing. This is a guy that went from Nelson Cruz protégé to someone that could wind up being a lost cause for the organization. Like Kepler, he too is just 28, but at bats are now no longer guaranteed for the first basemen and it’s on him to re-earn any semblance of trust. Tyler Duffey This is arguably the most surprising. Over 81.2 innings the past two seasons Duffey transformed himself into one of baseball’s best relievers. He owned a 2.31 ERA bolstered by a 12.5 K/9 and a 2.2 BB/9. The stuff was electric, he had strong command of it, and hitters found themselves looking like something close to an automatic out when he was on the bump. A 5.25 ERA isn’t overtly concerning across just 12.0 IP, but the lack of command and dominance is certainly a problem. Duffey has just a 10/9 K/BB this season and is seemingly not able to get batters to miss the ball. His 9.0 H/9 simply won’t play, and for a guy that was counted on to be a key back-end bullpen piece, Baldelli has been left searching for even more answers with one of his key cogs becoming completely unreliable. Mitch Garver I’m not certain that regression is entirely fair here for Garver as it depends on what the expectation was. I think it’s fair to suggest that his .995 OPS in 2019 wasn’t indicative of the player he is, just as the .511 mark battling through a core injury wasn’t a season ago. He’s since turned it on a bit and now owns a .733 OPS, but the 32/7 K/BB just isn’t reflective of the hitter we once saw. For Garver it doesn’t seem the problem is so much that he’s struggled with what to attack, but instead has been unable to attack the same pitches he once could. Previously hunting and crushing fastballs, he’s sat on that pitch in 2021 but been able to do little with it. Having dealt with a couple of bumps and bruises, it hasn’t been a fluid start to the year, but he could certainly ride some momentum back towards an acceptable output. Looking at the names above, I think they’re probably listed in order of impact and surprise. Kepler hasn’t been good for going on two years now, but he’s also been asked to do substantially more defensively and the level of consistency when getting to the ballpark hasn’t been there. Sano’s ceiling has long been established, and when the bottom falls out of a player like that it crashes hard. For Duffey there has to be a tweak that allows something better the rest of the way, and Garver isn’t far off from what should’ve been expected from him. All in all, the Minnesota Twins are where they are because the core players in their lineup and on the roster have fallen flat. Steps back should always be expected, but by virtually everyone at the same time, that’s pretty difficult to overcome. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  19. Minnesota’s bullpen has been a mess to start the year, but Rocco Baldelli is going to need to rely on arms with some important up-coming series. Who is in the bullpen circle of trust? 1. Taylor Rogers Much like in 2019, Taylor Rogers has been one of the few options Baldelli can trust in the late innings of games. At season’s start, it seemed like Rogers would be used in more of a set-up role with Colomé getting more of the closing opportunities. Until Colomé can figure it out, Rogers will be used as the closer and he has the team’s highest level of trust. 2. Hansel Robles Robles was brought in to help add veteran depth to the bullpen and he has made a good impression so far this year. His xBA ranks in the 82nd percentile and his wOBA ranks in the top 7% of the league. One of the biggest changes for him this season is his pitch usage. From 2015-18, he used his changeup less than 10% of the time. So far in 2021, he has used his changeup over 50% with his fastball usage dropping from 45% in 2020 to 31% in 2021. 3. Tyler Duffey Duffey has been one of the baseball’s best relievers over the last two seasons. In fact, MLB Network had him in their top-10 relievers entering the season. So far this year, he hasn’t looked like his dominating self as he ranks in the 24th percentile or lower in nearly every Statcast metric. Baldelli still shows trust in Duffey with the hope that he can make some adjustments moving forward. 4. Cody Stashak Stashak is striking out batters at the highest rate of his career with a K% north of 36% that ranks him in the top 6% of the league. On the other hand, batters are barreling up the ball against him quite regularly. His 20 barrel% is in the bottom 1% of the league and it is 6.5 percentage points higher than his previous career high. 5. Jorge Alcala Alcala might have the best raw stuff in the Twins bullpen and an argument can be made for him being given more high leverage spots as the season progresses. One of the toughest things for Alcala has been his inability to get left-handed hitters out on a consistent basis. For his career, lefties have a 1.178 OPS against him in 55 plate appearances. If he wants to earn more high leverage appearances, he needs to improve against southpaws. 6. Caleb Thielbar With Rogers moving into the closer role, Thielbar will be critical for when the team is facing lefties before the ninth inning. Since rejoining the Twins last year, he has posted a 2.53 ERA with 44 strikeouts in 32 innings. 7. St. Paul Train (Derek Law, Luke Farrell, Devin Smeltzer) The Twins will likely continue to shuffle through players at the backend of the bullpen, especially if a player pitches multiple innings the previous day. These players aren’t going to be relied on for high leverage situations, so there doesn’t need to be a lot of trust in using them. 8. Alexander Colomé Colomé’s start to the season has been disastrous. Until he shows signs of improvement, the teams should have little trust in him. How would you rank the bullpen by level of trust? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  20. 1. Taylor Rogers Much like in 2019, Taylor Rogers has been one of the few options Baldelli can trust in the late innings of games. At season’s start, it seemed like Rogers would be used in more of a set-up role with Colomé getting more of the closing opportunities. Until Colomé can figure it out, Rogers will be used as the closer and he has the team’s highest level of trust. 2. Hansel Robles Robles was brought in to help add veteran depth to the bullpen and he has made a good impression so far this year. His xBA ranks in the 82nd percentile and his wOBA ranks in the top 7% of the league. One of the biggest changes for him this season is his pitch usage. From 2015-18, he used his changeup less than 10% of the time. So far in 2021, he has used his changeup over 50% with his fastball usage dropping from 45% in 2020 to 31% in 2021. 3. Tyler Duffey Duffey has been one of the baseball’s best relievers over the last two seasons. In fact, MLB Network had him in their top-10 relievers entering the season. So far this year, he hasn’t looked like his dominating self as he ranks in the 24th percentile or lower in nearly every Statcast metric. Baldelli still shows trust in Duffey with the hope that he can make some adjustments moving forward. 4. Cody Stashak Stashak is striking out batters at the highest rate of his career with a K% north of 36% that ranks him in the top 6% of the league. On the other hand, batters are barreling up the ball against him quite regularly. His 20 barrel% is in the bottom 1% of the league and it is 6.5 percentage points higher than his previous career high. 5. Jorge Alcala Alcala might have the best raw stuff in the Twins bullpen and an argument can be made for him being given more high leverage spots as the season progresses. One of the toughest things for Alcala has been his inability to get left-handed hitters out on a consistent basis. For his career, lefties have a 1.178 OPS against him in 55 plate appearances. If he wants to earn more high leverage appearances, he needs to improve against southpaws. 6. Caleb Thielbar With Rogers moving into the closer role, Thielbar will be critical for when the team is facing lefties before the ninth inning. Since rejoining the Twins last year, he has posted a 2.53 ERA with 44 strikeouts in 32 innings. 7. St. Paul Train (Derek Law, Luke Farrell, Devin Smeltzer) The Twins will likely continue to shuffle through players at the backend of the bullpen, especially if a player pitches multiple innings the previous day. These players aren’t going to be relied on for high leverage situations, so there doesn’t need to be a lot of trust in using them. 8. Alexander Colomé Colomé’s start to the season has been disastrous. Until he shows signs of improvement, the teams should have little trust in him. How would you rank the bullpen by level of trust? 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
  21. There's no two ways about it: on paper, Minnesota's bullpen picture is high on risk and low on assurance. Strategizing around a series of rebound performances and coaching-related glow ups, the message being sent to fans by the front office is essentially: trust us, we got this. Frankly, they've earned some faith.Projected Bullpen: Taylor Rogers, Alex Colomé, Tyler Duffey, Hansel Robles, Caleb Thielbar, Jorge Alcalá, Cody Stashak, Lewis Thorpe Depth: Shaun Anderson, Ian Hamilton, Brandon Waddell, Ian Gibaut Prospects: Jhoan Duran, Edwar Colina, Dakota Chalmers, Josh Winder THE GOOD The top of Minnesota's bullpen is well stocked with proven high-caliber arms. Taylor Rogers (3rd), Tyler Duffey (13th) and newcomer Hansel Robles (19th) all rank among the top 20 major-league relief pitchers in fWAR since 2019. Alex Colomé isn't rated quite as highly by that metric (42nd), but is a more conventionally appealing back-end arm: 15th in ERA, fourth in saves (with a 91% conversion rate), and seventh in Win Probability Added. Backfilling May's overpowering presence, along with the functional reliability of Clippard and Wisler (who ranked first and second among MN relievers in innings pitched), will be a tall task. While the Twins have a large quantity of talented arms for the task, there are legit question marks surrounding most of them. Rogers is coming off a tough year, in which hitters seemingly caught on to his previously baffling repertoire. Robles is trying to rebound from an unmitigated disaster that got him non-tendered by the Angels. Colomé was ditched by the White Sox and generated little demand in free agency, despite the gaudy numbers. It's hard to look at any of these pitchers with the same confidence as Rogers, May and Romo a year ago. THE BOTTOM LINE Great bullpens are requisite for transcendent teams, especially in the modern game. Year after year, when you look at MLB's leading teams in bullpen fWAR, you find clubs that made the playoffs and often made deep runs. (Last year, the Dodgers and Rays ranked first and second, respectively.) The Twins ranked third, for a second consecutive year, and they've achieved all this success by following their own model. They identify impact relievers (often below-the-radar types), develop customized plans, and execute. They've done it time and time again, and for that reason they've earned a good amount of faith. But leaps of faith are definitely required to see this bullpen maintaining the elite level of performance that's now become the norm. They lost a lot of quality during the offseason, and are gambling heavily on their secret sauce in this 2021 bullpen recipe. READ OTHER 2021 POSITION ANALYSIS ARTICLES CatcherFirst BaseSecond BaseThird BaseShortstopLeft FieldCenter FieldRight FieldDesignated HitterStarting Pitcher Click here to view the article
  22. Projected Bullpen: Taylor Rogers, Alex Colomé, Tyler Duffey, Hansel Robles, Caleb Thielbar, Jorge Alcalá, Cody Stashak, Lewis Thorpe Depth: Shaun Anderson, Ian Hamilton, Brandon Waddell, Ian Gibaut Prospects: Jhoan Duran, Edwar Colina, Dakota Chalmers, Josh Winder THE GOOD The top of Minnesota's bullpen is well stocked with proven high-caliber arms. Taylor Rogers (3rd), Tyler Duffey (13th) and newcomer Hansel Robles (19th) all rank among the top 20 major-league relief pitchers in fWAR since 2019. Alex Colomé isn't rated quite as highly by that metric (42nd), but is a more conventionally appealing back-end arm: 15th in ERA, fourth in saves (with a 91% conversion rate), and seventh in Win Probability Added. The team's second tier of relievers also offers plenty of prowess. Jorge Alcalá posted a 2.63 ERA and 10.1 K/9 rate as a rookie in 2020, flashing the potential to join the tier above. Cody Stashak has a 3.15 ERA and 42-to-4 K/BB ratio in 40 major-league innings. Caleb Thielbar put up a 2.25 ERA and 9.9 K/9 rate last year in his triumphant resurgence at age 33. On the fringe of the reliever mix are a number of interesting waiver adds and fixer-upper projects. Names like Shaun Anderson, Brandon Waddell, Ian Gibaut, Derek Law, Luke Farrell, Juan Minaya and Ian Hamilton give Minnesota considerable depth – all pitchers with some big-league experience and intriguing traits pinpointed by the front office. Given the success we've seen the Twins have with guys like Matt Wisler and Ryne Harper, none of those names can be discounted as potential impact relievers in the coming year. And that's before you get to the prospect pipeline, which packs some serious punch. The Twins have a deep well of relief pitchers, rich with impressive track records, closing experience, and appealing strengths. They'll have a lot of options to get them through a long season, in which much will likely be asked of the bullpen. It's easy to have faith in the people running this ship to keep it sailing smoothly. THE BAD By parting with Trevor May, Sergio Romo, Tyler Clippard, and Wisler during the offseason, the Twins lost 95 of their 231 bullpen innings from 2020. That's about 40% of the unit's total output, and a much higher share of the high-leverage work. With the help of those key contributors, Minnesota ranked fourth in the American League in bullpen ERA and second in fWAR. Now the relief corps will be looking to build upon that success through major turnover. It's hard to make a case on the surface that the Twins' incoming talent comes anywhere close to matching what exited; those four combined last year for a 2.85 ERA while averaging 11.6 K/9. May, in particular, was a flamethrowing strikeout machine whose dominant edge will be tough to replace. Backfilling May's overpowering presence, along with the functional reliability of Clippard and Wisler (who ranked first and second among MN relievers in innings pitched), will be a tall task. While the Twins have a large quantity of talented arms for the task, there are legit question marks surrounding most of them. Rogers is coming off a tough year, in which hitters seemingly caught on to his previously baffling repertoire. Robles is trying to rebound from an unmitigated disaster that got him non-tendered by the Angels. Colomé was ditched by the White Sox and generated little demand in free agency, despite the gaudy numbers. It's hard to look at any of these pitchers with the same confidence as Rogers, May and Romo a year ago. THE BOTTOM LINE Great bullpens are requisite for transcendent teams, especially in the modern game. Year after year, when you look at MLB's leading teams in bullpen fWAR, you find clubs that made the playoffs and often made deep runs. (Last year, the Dodgers and Rays ranked first and second, respectively.) The Twins ranked third, for a second consecutive year, and they've achieved all this success by following their own model. They identify impact relievers (often below-the-radar types), develop customized plans, and execute. They've done it time and time again, and for that reason they've earned a good amount of faith. But leaps of faith are definitely required to see this bullpen maintaining the elite level of performance that's now become the norm. They lost a lot of quality during the offseason, and are gambling heavily on their secret sauce in this 2021 bullpen recipe. READ OTHER 2021 POSITION ANALYSIS ARTICLES Catcher First Base Second Base Third Base Shortstop Left Field Center Field Right Field Designated Hitter Starting Pitcher
  23. To be clear, the Twins and manager Rocco Baldelli aren’t going to name a closer. As baseball continues to rethink how bullpens can best be utilized, the Twins are going to look at matchups and put their players in the best opportunities to succeed. That being said, the four players below are the likely candidates to be considered the team’s closer. Taylor Rogers, LHP Career Saves: 41 Rogers was one of the most dominant relievers during the 2018 and 2019 seasons as he took over Minnesota’s closer role. Even with struggles last season, his peripheral numbers point to some bad luck leading to his poor performance. His .400 BABIP was over 70 points higher than any other season. Also, his 10.8 SO/9 was his second highest rate of his career. One pitch to keep an eye on is his slider and the results have been good so far this spring. Twins fans can hope he is back to his old self and the rest of the players on this list are used as set-up men leading into Rogers. Alex Colome, RHP Career Saves: 138 Chicago’s loss is Minnesota’s gain as Colome has been one of the best relievers in recent years. He has the most saves of any player on the Twins staff and he won’t shy away from a late-inning role. With uncertainly surrounding other players on this list, Colome seems like the natural choice to pick up most of the team’s save opportunities. However, relief pitchers can be fickle and maybe there is a bigger reason the White Sox let him go. His 6.4 SO/9 mark from last year was his lowest total since becoming a full-time reliever. If Wes Johnson can work his magic, Colome has a chance to be the team’s leader in saves. Tyler Duffey, RHP Career Saves: 1 Duffey was the team’s best relief pitcher in 2020 and the second half of 2019, but he has been given limited save opportunities. One of the reasons he hasn’t gotten those chance is because he has been so successful being used in a fireman role. Because of the other names on this list, he will likely stay in that role. So far this spring, his velocity has been lower than the team might like, but there is still time to figure it out before the team heads north. If he can’t figure it out, the Twins will have to rely on other arms to take over his important innings. https://twitter.com/IAmRickGraham/status/1370476048488529929?s=20 Hansel Robels, RHP Career Saves: 27 Robels struggled in 2020 and that’s one of the reasons the Twins were able to sign him for a relatively cheap deal. Back in 2019, he compiled strong numbers as the Angels primary closer with a 2.48 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 9.3 SO/9. Last year, albeit in on 16.2 innings, he allowed 19 earned runs, but he posted a career high 10.8 SO/9. It seems more likely for the players listed above to get the majority of the save opportunities, but Robels has some experience, and the Twins can always turn to him if other relievers are struggling at some point during the season. Who do you think will be considered Minnesota’s primary closer in 2021? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  24. Aaron and John talk about the return of 10,000 fans to Target Field, Randy Dobnak's new slider, Jake Odorizzi's deal with the Astros, some Tyler Duffey worries, and the latest on Josh Donaldson, Andrelton Simmons, and J.A. Happ. YYou can listen by downloading us from iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio or find it at GleemanAndTheGeek.com. Or just click this link. Listen Here Now Click here to view the article
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