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  1. Trade Deadline Day has begun, and the Twins have made the first move of the day. They have acquired Orioles' closer Jorge Lopez. Lefty starter Cade Povich is heading to the Orioles along with reliever Yennier Cano and two pitches currently in the Complex League. Jon Heyman was the first to report that the Twins are acquiring Jorge Lopez from the Orioles. The Twins will send four pitchers including Twins Daily Top 10 prospect Cade Povich, reliever Yennier Cano, and two more pitchers from the low-minors, Juan Rojas and Juan Nunez. Prior to this year, Lopez, 29, was a struggling starting pitcher. He debuted with two games with the Brewers in 2015 and then pitched in another 11 games with the Crew between 2017 and 2018. He went to the Royals and pitched in 47 games between 2018 and 2020. He went to the Orioles in 2020. That year, he posted a 6.34 ERA over 38 1/3 innings in nine games (six starts). In 2021, he went 3-14 with Baltimore with a 6.07 ERA over 121 2/3 innings. But this season, the O's moved him full-time into their bullpen and he became an All-Star. In 44 games, he is 4-6 with a 1.68 ERA. In 48 1/3 innings, he have given up 30 hits, 17 walks and struck out 54 batters. He has given up just three home runs, a couple to the Twins in back-to-back blown saves last month. Lopez throws hard, with a fastball averaging over 97 mph. As of right now, Lopez ranks as the second best reliever (behind Josh Hader) traded at the MLB deadline, though he’s likely to fall to at least third when Cubs closer David Robertson is dealt. He’s also under team control for two more seasons after this one. His worth is reflected in the quantity and quality of prospects the Twins gave up to acquire him. Twins Daily has learned that left-hander Cade Povich, their third-round pick in 2011 out of Nebraska, will be sent to the Orioles. Povich has spent the season with the Cedar Rapids Kernels. He became a top prospect with the organization when he arrived at instructional league last fall throwing 97 with a slider. Cano was signed after leaving Cuba. The 28-year-old has been impressive the past two seasons in Double-A Wichita and Triple-A St. Paul. He has made 10 appearances for the Twins. In 13 2/3 innings, he has walked 11 and struck out 14 while posting an ERA of 9.22. He's got good stuff and a rubber arm and will do well with the Orioles. Juan Nunez, 21, signed with the Twins from the Dominican Republic. He pitched in 11 games in 2021 in the DSL. This season, he is 0-2 with a 4.85 ERA in eight games (7 starts). Over 29 2/3 innings, he has walked 10 and struck out 47 batters. Juan Rojas is 18 years old, signed out of Venezuela. He also pitched in the DSL in 2021. This season, he is 1-2 with a 3.60 ERA in eight games (5 starts). In 30 innings, he has 38 strikeouts and just four walks. So, the Twins need to make sure that Jorge Lopez 2022 is the Jorge Lopez they are acquiring, and not turn back into Jorge Lopez circa 2015-2021. Will Lopez be thrown into the closer's role? Most likely, Rocco Baldelli will be able to simply choose between Lopez and Jhoan Duran, along with Griffin Jax, in the late innings, and that is a positive. The Twins made one move... Will they make more? Let us know your thoughts and what more you would like to see in the comment section. View full article
  2. Jon Heyman was the first to report that the Twins are acquiring Jorge Lopez from the Orioles. The Twins will send four pitchers including Twins Daily Top 10 prospect Cade Povich, reliever Yennier Cano, and two more pitchers from the low-minors, Juan Rojas and Juan Nunez. Prior to this year, Lopez, 29, was a struggling starting pitcher. He debuted with two games with the Brewers in 2015 and then pitched in another 11 games with the Crew between 2017 and 2018. He went to the Royals and pitched in 47 games between 2018 and 2020. He went to the Orioles in 2020. That year, he posted a 6.34 ERA over 38 1/3 innings in nine games (six starts). In 2021, he went 3-14 with Baltimore with a 6.07 ERA over 121 2/3 innings. But this season, the O's moved him full-time into their bullpen and he became an All-Star. In 44 games, he is 4-6 with a 1.68 ERA. In 48 1/3 innings, he have given up 30 hits, 17 walks and struck out 54 batters. He has given up just three home runs, a couple to the Twins in back-to-back blown saves last month. Lopez throws hard, with a fastball averaging over 97 mph. As of right now, Lopez ranks as the second best reliever (behind Josh Hader) traded at the MLB deadline, though he’s likely to fall to at least third when Cubs closer David Robertson is dealt. He’s also under team control for two more seasons after this one. His worth is reflected in the quantity and quality of prospects the Twins gave up to acquire him. Twins Daily has learned that left-hander Cade Povich, their third-round pick in 2011 out of Nebraska, will be sent to the Orioles. Povich has spent the season with the Cedar Rapids Kernels. He became a top prospect with the organization when he arrived at instructional league last fall throwing 97 with a slider. Cano was signed after leaving Cuba. The 28-year-old has been impressive the past two seasons in Double-A Wichita and Triple-A St. Paul. He has made 10 appearances for the Twins. In 13 2/3 innings, he has walked 11 and struck out 14 while posting an ERA of 9.22. He's got good stuff and a rubber arm and will do well with the Orioles. Juan Nunez, 21, signed with the Twins from the Dominican Republic. He pitched in 11 games in 2021 in the DSL. This season, he is 0-2 with a 4.85 ERA in eight games (7 starts). Over 29 2/3 innings, he has walked 10 and struck out 47 batters. Juan Rojas is 18 years old, signed out of Venezuela. He also pitched in the DSL in 2021. This season, he is 1-2 with a 3.60 ERA in eight games (5 starts). In 30 innings, he has 38 strikeouts and just four walks. So, the Twins need to make sure that Jorge Lopez 2022 is the Jorge Lopez they are acquiring, and not turn back into Jorge Lopez circa 2015-2021. Will Lopez be thrown into the closer's role? Most likely, Rocco Baldelli will be able to simply choose between Lopez and Jhoan Duran, along with Griffin Jax, in the late innings, and that is a positive. The Twins made one move... Will they make more? Let us know your thoughts and what more you would like to see in the comment section.
  3. There’s been no denying that Rocco Baldelli needs additional arms at the back of his bullpen. Whether it’s Wes Johnson or Pete Maki helping to set up the pecking order, it’s basically been pray on Jhoan Duran or hope for rain. Griffin Jax has stepped up, and Tyler Duffey has even trended in the right direction. Emilio Pagan has been a flop though, and Caleb Thielbar hasn’t posted numbers in line with his metrics. In Jorge Lopez, Minnesota gets an All-Star reliever that owns a miniscule 1.68 ERA along with a 2.99 FIP. His 10.1 K/9 will immediately be among the best in Minnesota’s bullpen, and his 19 saves reflect an ability to pitch in high leverage. Lopez may be ripe for some small regression as his xERA sits at 2.99 and his xFIP is 3.10. Both marks would be a substantial upgrade for the Twins unit, however. What we know about this version of Lopez presents a smaller sample size. He was claimed off waivers from the Kansas City Royals in 2020. Even with the stellar 2022, his career ERA sits at 5.51. With a career 35.6% hard hit rate, the 19.8% mark he’s posted in 2022 stands out as a massive leap forward. The major difference for Lopez is that he’s now working out of the pen rather than starting. He has jumped his average fastball velocity nearly two mph to 97.4 mph this season. Instead of continuing to throw a traditional fastball though, Lopez now has become primarily a sinker-curveball pitcher with the two offerings combining to dominate more than 70% of his arsenal. Minnesota is taking a gamble on 48 1/3 innings being reflective of who Lopez is now, which is to say one of baseball’s best relievers, but they’ll have time to see him settle in as well. Rentals aren’t of significant interest to the Twins during this deadline, and Lopez isn’t a free agent until 2025. Grabbing a reliever like this would always come with a relatively substantial cost. Minnesota was forced to part with 2021 3rd round pick Cade Povich. Drafted out of Nebraska, Povich is seen as a mid-to-back-end starter. The 4.46 ERA at High-A Cedar Rapids isn’t shiny, but he’s got a gaudy 12.2 K/9 and has allowed just 3.0 BB/9. Probably a bit underrated on Minnesota prospect lists, he has looked the part of a very solid selection. Providing some Major League-ready talent to Baltimore as well, Minnesota is sending Cuban Yennier Cano. Signed back in 2019 as an international free agent, Cano is now 28-years-old. The stuff has played wonderfully for him at Triple-A St. Paul, where he owns a 1.90 ERA across 23 2/3 innings. His 9.5 K/9 there also is something to be excited about translating. Unfortunately he’s been hit around in less-than-deal spots when called up to the Twins, and has routinely been on the shuttle back and forth across town. He’s been assigned to Triple-A Norfolk for the Orioles, but a consistent pen role the rest of the way could help him to settle in. Completing the deal is 18-year-old Juan Rojas and 21-year-old Juan Nunez. Rojas is a lefty making his stateside debut this season in the Florida Complex League. He owns a 3.60 ERA across 30 innings and owns an impressive 38/4 K/BB. Nunez is right-handed, also making his stateside debut, and owns a 4.85 ERA across 29 2/3 innings. While he’s given up more hits and run production, Nunez also has an impressive 47/10 K/BB while allowing just two homers. It’s hard not to see this deal as a win for both sides in significantly different ways. Trading a closer when you’re not seriously in contention makes a good deal of sense. The Orioles are working with found money in that their acquisition cost of Lopes was nothing more than a waiver claim. Minnesota then gets an arm that can immediately slot into the back end of their bullpen and help to shore up among the biggest deficiencies for this club. Povich is absolutely the headliner here, and he could wind up being something similar to Josh Winder or Bailey Ober. At least a couple of years from that promise, tying him to two complete lottery tickets and a project in Cano, there’s no reason the Twins should have any questions about looking back on this one. Should Lopez continue development as a reliever with the Minnesota coaching staff, he’ll be an easy candidate to tender deals to each of the next two winters. What is your assessment of this trade?
  4. The key area of focus this trade deadline for the Minnesota Twins had to be on the mound. You could divide that between that rotation and bullpen, but an influx of talent was necessary in both places. With the first domino falling, Minnesota began in relief acquiring All-Star closer Jorge Lopez from the Baltimore Orioles. There’s been no denying that Rocco Baldelli needs additional arms at the back of his bullpen. Whether it’s Wes Johnson or Pete Maki helping to set up the pecking order, it’s basically been pray on Jhoan Duran or hope for rain. Griffin Jax has stepped up, and Tyler Duffey has even trended in the right direction. Emilio Pagan has been a flop though, and Caleb Thielbar hasn’t posted numbers in line with his metrics. In Jorge Lopez, Minnesota gets an All-Star reliever that owns a miniscule 1.68 ERA along with a 2.99 FIP. His 10.1 K/9 will immediately be among the best in Minnesota’s bullpen, and his 19 saves reflect an ability to pitch in high leverage. Lopez may be ripe for some small regression as his xERA sits at 2.99 and his xFIP is 3.10. Both marks would be a substantial upgrade for the Twins unit, however. What we know about this version of Lopez presents a smaller sample size. He was claimed off waivers from the Kansas City Royals in 2020. Even with the stellar 2022, his career ERA sits at 5.51. With a career 35.6% hard hit rate, the 19.8% mark he’s posted in 2022 stands out as a massive leap forward. The major difference for Lopez is that he’s now working out of the pen rather than starting. He has jumped his average fastball velocity nearly two mph to 97.4 mph this season. Instead of continuing to throw a traditional fastball though, Lopez now has become primarily a sinker-curveball pitcher with the two offerings combining to dominate more than 70% of his arsenal. Minnesota is taking a gamble on 48 1/3 innings being reflective of who Lopez is now, which is to say one of baseball’s best relievers, but they’ll have time to see him settle in as well. Rentals aren’t of significant interest to the Twins during this deadline, and Lopez isn’t a free agent until 2025. Grabbing a reliever like this would always come with a relatively substantial cost. Minnesota was forced to part with 2021 3rd round pick Cade Povich. Drafted out of Nebraska, Povich is seen as a mid-to-back-end starter. The 4.46 ERA at High-A Cedar Rapids isn’t shiny, but he’s got a gaudy 12.2 K/9 and has allowed just 3.0 BB/9. Probably a bit underrated on Minnesota prospect lists, he has looked the part of a very solid selection. Providing some Major League-ready talent to Baltimore as well, Minnesota is sending Cuban Yennier Cano. Signed back in 2019 as an international free agent, Cano is now 28-years-old. The stuff has played wonderfully for him at Triple-A St. Paul, where he owns a 1.90 ERA across 23 2/3 innings. His 9.5 K/9 there also is something to be excited about translating. Unfortunately he’s been hit around in less-than-deal spots when called up to the Twins, and has routinely been on the shuttle back and forth across town. He’s been assigned to Triple-A Norfolk for the Orioles, but a consistent pen role the rest of the way could help him to settle in. Completing the deal is 18-year-old Juan Rojas and 21-year-old Juan Nunez. Rojas is a lefty making his stateside debut this season in the Florida Complex League. He owns a 3.60 ERA across 30 innings and owns an impressive 38/4 K/BB. Nunez is right-handed, also making his stateside debut, and owns a 4.85 ERA across 29 2/3 innings. While he’s given up more hits and run production, Nunez also has an impressive 47/10 K/BB while allowing just two homers. It’s hard not to see this deal as a win for both sides in significantly different ways. Trading a closer when you’re not seriously in contention makes a good deal of sense. The Orioles are working with found money in that their acquisition cost of Lopes was nothing more than a waiver claim. Minnesota then gets an arm that can immediately slot into the back end of their bullpen and help to shore up among the biggest deficiencies for this club. Povich is absolutely the headliner here, and he could wind up being something similar to Josh Winder or Bailey Ober. At least a couple of years from that promise, tying him to two complete lottery tickets and a project in Cano, there’s no reason the Twins should have any questions about looking back on this one. Should Lopez continue development as a reliever with the Minnesota coaching staff, he’ll be an easy candidate to tender deals to each of the next two winters. What is your assessment of this trade? View full article
  5. First baseman Rowdy Tellez drove in six runs on two home runs and almost single-handedly catapulted the Brewers to another win and the series sweep. Chris Archer struggled with his command and had one of his worst starts of the year. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Chris Archer, 3 IP, 3H, 6R, 6ER, 6BB, 2K (78 pitches, 36 strikes, 46.1%) Home Runs: Jose Miranda (9), Kyle Garlick (8) Bottom 3 WPA: Chris Archer (-.309), Jharel Cotton (-.191), Luis Arraez (-.067) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Things did not look good at all for Minnesota after the first inning of this game. Reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes cruised through the top of the inning on 16 pitches, with the only Twins baserunner coming after a fielding error on the outfield. Then, Chris Archer struggled badly, allowing each of the first four batters he faced to reach. After a Christian Yelich leadoff walk and a single by Willy Adames, Rowdy Tellez crushed the first pitch he saw for a three-run home run. The Twins provided a quick response, though. At the top of the second, José Miranda homered off Burnes in the very first pitch of the inning, putting Minnesota on the board, and starting Burnes’ nightmare inning. The Twins lineup made the All-Star starter work twice as hard to get through the second inning – it took him 32 pitches to complete the frame. After the Miranda home run and an Alex Kirilloff groundout, Minnesota’s bottom third of the lineup got three consecutive hits that scored two more runs and tied the game. Kyle Garlick doubled to right and scored after Nick Gordon did the same thing. Gordon himself scored too on a Gary Sanchez liner to center. The Twins were back at the top of the lineup with only one out and a man on, but they couldn’t capitalize. In fact, Burnes really settled down starting right there, in the second inning. He struck out Luis Arráez and Carlos Correa to get out of the jam, but that wasn’t all. Those two strikeouts began a hot streak for the Crew’s ace, as he went on to retire thirteen straight Minnesota batters. Archer, bullpen give up seven runs on two home runs Archer tossed a couple of scoreless innings, in the second and in the third, but the Brewers ambushed him again in the fourth, and he was done. Despite facing the bottom half of the Milwaukee lineup, he struggled to throw strikes and surrendered three consecutive walks. Jharel Cotton took over, trying to put out the fire, but he ultimately couldn’t do it. After a strikeout, he gave up a loaded bases walk to Yelich that gave the Brewers the lead. Then, Adames hit a sac-fly to left to score Luis Urias from third, making it 5-3 Milwaukee. He was one out away from keeping the game open. Then, Tellez happened. Again. After a hard-fought seven-pitch at-bat, the big man destroyed a changeup at the heart of the plate (111.8 MPH exit velocity) for a three-run dong that blew the game wide open. Making his first appearance since July 14, Yennier Cano took over in relief of Cotton in the fifth. Since being sent down to Triple-A Saint Paul, Cano improved very much, maintaining a 3.85 ERA through eleven appearances and allowing only one earned run in five appearances (six innings) in July for the Saints. He got called up last Friday and got his first look back at majors today. He retired Hunter Renfroe to start the fifth, but he was really shaky for the remainder of the inning. Kolten Wong hit a double off him, and Urías blasted a two-run shot to make it 10-3 Milwaukee, basically putting the game out of reach. Cano continued in the game for the sixth inning, and things looked much smoother for him. He tossed a scoreless frame on 16 pitches, pitching around a leadoff walk to Tellez. Twins get one back but can’t spark a rally Minnesota’s second home run of the afternoon was also leadoff fashion. Garlick took Jake McGee deep in the first pitch of the seventh inning, cutting the Brewers’ lead to six. Following that homer, Gordon drew a four-pitch walk off the same McGee, with the top of the lineup coming up. But the Milwaukee reliever managed to retire the next three batters faced to end the threat. Miranda got his third hit of the afternoon in the eighth inning, making it three-consecutive games with at least three hits. His season numbers are now up to .281 AVG and .799 OPS, but he’s even better in his recent games, slashing .377/.431/.642 (1.073) in his last 15 games. The YouTube broadcast fellows said he doesn’t stand a chance at winning rookie of the year. Could they be wrong? What’s Next? Tomorrow the Twins have their second off day this week as they head for South California, where they’ll start a three-game set against the Padres in San Diego. Game one is scheduled to start at 8:40 pm CDT on Friday, with Joe Ryan (2.89 ERA) taking the mound for Minnesota and Blake Snell (4.75 ERA) toeing the rubber for the Padres. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Moran 28 0 0 0 21 49 Cano 0 0 0 0 46 46 Cotton 0 11 0 0 33 44 Duran 11 0 0 32 0 43 Duffey 11 0 0 25 0 36 Smith 0 16 0 17 0 33 Jax 0 13 0 12 0 25 Pagán 2 0 0 20 0 22 Megill 7 0 0 0 10 17 View full article
  6. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Chris Archer, 3 IP, 3H, 6R, 6ER, 6BB, 2K (78 pitches, 36 strikes, 46.1%) Home Runs: Jose Miranda (9), Kyle Garlick (8) Bottom 3 WPA: Chris Archer (-.309), Jharel Cotton (-.191), Luis Arraez (-.067) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Things did not look good at all for Minnesota after the first inning of this game. Reigning National League Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes cruised through the top of the inning on 16 pitches, with the only Twins baserunner coming after a fielding error on the outfield. Then, Chris Archer struggled badly, allowing each of the first four batters he faced to reach. After a Christian Yelich leadoff walk and a single by Willy Adames, Rowdy Tellez crushed the first pitch he saw for a three-run home run. The Twins provided a quick response, though. At the top of the second, José Miranda homered off Burnes in the very first pitch of the inning, putting Minnesota on the board, and starting Burnes’ nightmare inning. The Twins lineup made the All-Star starter work twice as hard to get through the second inning – it took him 32 pitches to complete the frame. After the Miranda home run and an Alex Kirilloff groundout, Minnesota’s bottom third of the lineup got three consecutive hits that scored two more runs and tied the game. Kyle Garlick doubled to right and scored after Nick Gordon did the same thing. Gordon himself scored too on a Gary Sanchez liner to center. The Twins were back at the top of the lineup with only one out and a man on, but they couldn’t capitalize. In fact, Burnes really settled down starting right there, in the second inning. He struck out Luis Arráez and Carlos Correa to get out of the jam, but that wasn’t all. Those two strikeouts began a hot streak for the Crew’s ace, as he went on to retire thirteen straight Minnesota batters. Archer, bullpen give up seven runs on two home runs Archer tossed a couple of scoreless innings, in the second and in the third, but the Brewers ambushed him again in the fourth, and he was done. Despite facing the bottom half of the Milwaukee lineup, he struggled to throw strikes and surrendered three consecutive walks. Jharel Cotton took over, trying to put out the fire, but he ultimately couldn’t do it. After a strikeout, he gave up a loaded bases walk to Yelich that gave the Brewers the lead. Then, Adames hit a sac-fly to left to score Luis Urias from third, making it 5-3 Milwaukee. He was one out away from keeping the game open. Then, Tellez happened. Again. After a hard-fought seven-pitch at-bat, the big man destroyed a changeup at the heart of the plate (111.8 MPH exit velocity) for a three-run dong that blew the game wide open. Making his first appearance since July 14, Yennier Cano took over in relief of Cotton in the fifth. Since being sent down to Triple-A Saint Paul, Cano improved very much, maintaining a 3.85 ERA through eleven appearances and allowing only one earned run in five appearances (six innings) in July for the Saints. He got called up last Friday and got his first look back at majors today. He retired Hunter Renfroe to start the fifth, but he was really shaky for the remainder of the inning. Kolten Wong hit a double off him, and Urías blasted a two-run shot to make it 10-3 Milwaukee, basically putting the game out of reach. Cano continued in the game for the sixth inning, and things looked much smoother for him. He tossed a scoreless frame on 16 pitches, pitching around a leadoff walk to Tellez. Twins get one back but can’t spark a rally Minnesota’s second home run of the afternoon was also leadoff fashion. Garlick took Jake McGee deep in the first pitch of the seventh inning, cutting the Brewers’ lead to six. Following that homer, Gordon drew a four-pitch walk off the same McGee, with the top of the lineup coming up. But the Milwaukee reliever managed to retire the next three batters faced to end the threat. Miranda got his third hit of the afternoon in the eighth inning, making it three-consecutive games with at least three hits. His season numbers are now up to .281 AVG and .799 OPS, but he’s even better in his recent games, slashing .377/.431/.642 (1.073) in his last 15 games. The YouTube broadcast fellows said he doesn’t stand a chance at winning rookie of the year. Could they be wrong? What’s Next? Tomorrow the Twins have their second off day this week as they head for South California, where they’ll start a three-game set against the Padres in San Diego. Game one is scheduled to start at 8:40 pm CDT on Friday, with Joe Ryan (2.89 ERA) taking the mound for Minnesota and Blake Snell (4.75 ERA) toeing the rubber for the Padres. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SAT SUN MON TUE WED TOT Moran 28 0 0 0 21 49 Cano 0 0 0 0 46 46 Cotton 0 11 0 0 33 44 Duran 11 0 0 32 0 43 Duffey 11 0 0 25 0 36 Smith 0 16 0 17 0 33 Jax 0 13 0 12 0 25 Pagán 2 0 0 20 0 22 Megill 7 0 0 0 10 17
  7. Box Score SP: Dylan Bundy: 2 ⅓ IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (67 pitches, 42 strikes (63%)) Home Runs: Polanco (6) Bottom 3 WPA: Dylan Bundy -.463, Byron Buxton -.061, Mark Contreras -.049 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Game Notes The Minnesota Twins’ bats picked up where they left off on Friday night as they got off to a quick start on Saturday afternoon. Luis Arraez kicked off the game with a leadoff single to set up Jorge Polanco for a 2-run home run, his sixth of the 2022 season. Coming into today’s game, José Berríos owned a 5.62 ERA in 2022. The quick damage from the Twins in the first inning made it seem like the old friend’s nightmare start to the 2022 season would continue. Following the first inning, though, Berríos settled down in a big way and quieted the Twins’ bats in a big way. After getting two hits and two runs in the first inning, the Twins were only able to muster one more hit over Berríos’ seven-inning start right-hander turned in one of his best starts of the season, potentially turning around his disastrous start. On the Twins’ side of the mound, Dylan Bundy’s start went about as poorly as possible. Bundy couldn’t even make it through the third inning as the Blue Jays pounded him at every opportunity. In just 2 ⅓ short innings, Bundy allowed eight hits and five earned runs, including home runs to Bo Bichette and Alejandro Kirk. After a stellar night for the Twins’ bullpen on Friday, the reliever group was terrible for the Twins on Saturday afternoon. As a group, the bullpen allowed six earned runs over 5 ⅔ innings, striking out only three batters. Each of Ian Hamilton, Yennier Cano and Juan Minaya were tagged for multiple hits and at least one earned run. Overall it was a day to forget for the Minnesota Twins. Every pitcher who appeared in the game for the Twins looked bad, and after a promising first inning, the bats were completely silent all game (aside from a meaningless run in the 9th), making a poorly performing José Berríos look like prime Johan Santana. In the end the Twins ended up on the losing side, 12-3, dropping their record to 31-24. What’s Next? The beautiful part of baseball is that the Twins get a chance at redemption tomorrow. The Minnesota Twins will wrap up their three game series against the Blue Jays in a rubber match on Sunday afternoon. The Twins will trot Devin Smeltzer out to the mound to face off against AL Cy Young candidate, Kevin Gausman. Game time is 12:37pm central time. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
  8. After a surprising win from a depleted roster on Friday night, the Twins team that we expected to see in Canada reared its face as the Twins got crushed by the Blue Jays. Box Score SP: Dylan Bundy: 2 ⅓ IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 2 K (67 pitches, 42 strikes (63%)) Home Runs: Polanco (6) Bottom 3 WPA: Dylan Bundy -.463, Byron Buxton -.061, Mark Contreras -.049 Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Game Notes The Minnesota Twins’ bats picked up where they left off on Friday night as they got off to a quick start on Saturday afternoon. Luis Arraez kicked off the game with a leadoff single to set up Jorge Polanco for a 2-run home run, his sixth of the 2022 season. Coming into today’s game, José Berríos owned a 5.62 ERA in 2022. The quick damage from the Twins in the first inning made it seem like the old friend’s nightmare start to the 2022 season would continue. Following the first inning, though, Berríos settled down in a big way and quieted the Twins’ bats in a big way. After getting two hits and two runs in the first inning, the Twins were only able to muster one more hit over Berríos’ seven-inning start right-hander turned in one of his best starts of the season, potentially turning around his disastrous start. On the Twins’ side of the mound, Dylan Bundy’s start went about as poorly as possible. Bundy couldn’t even make it through the third inning as the Blue Jays pounded him at every opportunity. In just 2 ⅓ short innings, Bundy allowed eight hits and five earned runs, including home runs to Bo Bichette and Alejandro Kirk. After a stellar night for the Twins’ bullpen on Friday, the reliever group was terrible for the Twins on Saturday afternoon. As a group, the bullpen allowed six earned runs over 5 ⅔ innings, striking out only three batters. Each of Ian Hamilton, Yennier Cano and Juan Minaya were tagged for multiple hits and at least one earned run. Overall it was a day to forget for the Minnesota Twins. Every pitcher who appeared in the game for the Twins looked bad, and after a promising first inning, the bats were completely silent all game (aside from a meaningless run in the 9th), making a poorly performing José Berríos look like prime Johan Santana. In the end the Twins ended up on the losing side, 12-3, dropping their record to 31-24. What’s Next? The beautiful part of baseball is that the Twins get a chance at redemption tomorrow. The Minnesota Twins will wrap up their three game series against the Blue Jays in a rubber match on Sunday afternoon. The Twins will trot Devin Smeltzer out to the mound to face off against AL Cy Young candidate, Kevin Gausman. Game time is 12:37pm central time. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet View full article
  9. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Chris Archer, 3.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 2 K (75 pitches, 42 strikes, 56%) Home Runs: none Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Offense shows some encouraging signs early, but Archer can't come through Apparently, not having to face Justin Verlander makes a huge difference – who knew? Contrary to Tuesday night, when Minnesota’s first hit of the game came only in the eighth inning, the bats were off to a good start early. Max Kepler doubled to deep right in the Twins’ second at-bat of the game and scored moments later when Jorge Polanco hit a double to the right corner. Starting this game with a couple of good, extra-base hits was a relief for this offense. The Twins hadn’t scored a run since the third inning of the final game of the Oakland series. Polanco hit an RBI single on Sunday, and the Twins went on to hit .137 since. But the Twins needed their starting pitcher to pick up as well, and that didn’t come close to happening tonight. Making his sixth start of the season, Chris Archer hadn’t given up more than two runs in any of his previous five starts, but things were about to change. After a long 1-2-3 first inning, Archer struggled with his command and very quickly gave up the Twins' one-run lead. Yordan Álvarez and Yuli Gurriel hit back-to-back singles to open the second inning, and both of them scored later on, on a sac fly and a single. José Altuve hit a leadoff home run to right to open the third, and then things definitely spiraled out of control for Archer. He gave up back-to-back walks after the home run, then loaded the bases with a two-out walk to Kyle Tucker. Jeremy Peña hit a liner to right to score two more runs, making it 5-1 Houston. That concluded Archer’s night, making it the fourth consecutive game in which a Twins starter pitches four innings or less. A storm breaks out, and the game gets suspended, set to resume on Thursday A Royce Lewis single to lead off the bottom of the third brought some hope that the Twins could build some momentum offensively, with the top of the order coming next. But José Urquidy retired the side on 13 pitches to end the threat and… the night at Target Field. Before the fourth inning started, with Yennier Cano warming up to make his big league debut, a storm broke out, and the game went into a weather delay. Fans were evacuated from the stands into the concourses and had to wait until the announcement of the game suspension came, roughly one hour after the interruption of the game. Here we go again... After a 15-hour weather delay (aka, suspended game), the Twins and Astros resumed play at 12:10. Big-League Debuts Technically, Yennier Cano made his MLB debut on Wednesday night because he was announced. However, the reality is that he actually made his MLB debut when the game resumed on Thursday. Cano, who had all night to think about it, was impressive. He struck out the first batter he faced, catcher Martin Maldanado. Then he got Jose Altuve and Michael Brantley quickly. In the fifth inning, he got through Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez and Yuli Guerriel without breaking a sweat. He went out for a third inning. Kyle Tucker hit a high home run over the wall in right field to lead off the sixth frame. He got one out in that inning but after a couple of singles, Cody Stashak came on and allowed both inherited runners to score. So in his 2 1/3 innings, he was charged with three runs on three hits. That line is so much worse than how Cano performed. The Twins had a second player make his MLB debut in the game too. When play resumed, Gilberto Celestino had moved from left to center field. Mark Contreras took over in left field. Contreras came to the plate with runners on first and third and nobody out. He swung at the first pitch and hit a ball 105 mph to center. It was caught just in front of the warning track, but the run scored, so Contreras was awarded an RBI on the sacrifice fly. In his next at-bat, Contreras saw a handful of pitches before hitting a bounding grounder up the middle. Astros shortstop Jeremy Pena misplayed it for an error. Contreras later came around to score a run too. His final at-bat ended with a fielder's choice. The Twins are off to a very nice start to their season, but playing against a strong, veteran Astros team without Carlos Correa, and with young pitchers, was always going to be a bit of a reality check. Again, consider the amount of MLB time and at-bats that Alex Kirilloff, Jose Miranda, Gilberto Celestino, Royce Lewis, Mark Contreras, and even Ryan Jeffers have. Yet each of them contributed something in this game and are holding their own. So, you can say it's a reality check to see the Twins lose by a big margin, and that's fair. You can also be really excited about the future of this club, not only this year when Correa and Byron Buxton are back at full strength but for years to come. Along with the pitching pipeline that we are starting to see contribute to the Twins, there are hitters too. It's also OK to acknowledge both. Speaking of firsts... Nick Gordon has played all over the place since joining the Twins last summer. On Thursday, he made his pitching debut. The son of the former All-Star and long-time reliever Tom Gordon, Nick came in to face the Astros with the Twins down 11-3. And, he kept the score right there. For the most part, he lobbed in pitches at 70 mph or so. That said, he hit 87 with one pitch and 88 with another. He got a little help from Gio Urshela, but threw a scoreless frame. What’s Next? In approximately 30 minutes, Josh Winder (1.61 ERA) will try to snap the sequence of bad starts as he takes the mound for the third and final game of this series, facing Luis Garcia (3.45 ERA). Postgame Interview No postgame interviews due to the quick turn-around. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SUN MON TUE WED THU TOT Stashak 34 0 0 0 46 80 Cotton 0 0 58 0 0 58 Cano 0 0 0 0 36 36 Coulombe 0 0 29 IL IL 29 Pagán 28 0 0 0 0 28 Thielbar 20 0 3 0 0 23 Smith 12 0 0 0 0 12 Duffey 9 0 0 0 0 9 Duran 0 0 0 0 0 0 Jax 0 0 0 0 0 0
  10. Over 19 hours after it started, the second game of the Twins-Astros series mercifully came to an end. Tornado warnings and an impressive storm in the Twin Cities area on Wednesday night caused the suspension of the game after just three innings. On Thursday afternoon, the game finished in a decisive fashion. The final game of the series will begin in approximately 30 minutes. Box Score Starting Pitcher: Chris Archer, 3.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 2 K (75 pitches, 42 strikes, 56%) Home Runs: none Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) Offense shows some encouraging signs early, but Archer can't come through Apparently, not having to face Justin Verlander makes a huge difference – who knew? Contrary to Tuesday night, when Minnesota’s first hit of the game came only in the eighth inning, the bats were off to a good start early. Max Kepler doubled to deep right in the Twins’ second at-bat of the game and scored moments later when Jorge Polanco hit a double to the right corner. Starting this game with a couple of good, extra-base hits was a relief for this offense. The Twins hadn’t scored a run since the third inning of the final game of the Oakland series. Polanco hit an RBI single on Sunday, and the Twins went on to hit .137 since. But the Twins needed their starting pitcher to pick up as well, and that didn’t come close to happening tonight. Making his sixth start of the season, Chris Archer hadn’t given up more than two runs in any of his previous five starts, but things were about to change. After a long 1-2-3 first inning, Archer struggled with his command and very quickly gave up the Twins' one-run lead. Yordan Álvarez and Yuli Gurriel hit back-to-back singles to open the second inning, and both of them scored later on, on a sac fly and a single. José Altuve hit a leadoff home run to right to open the third, and then things definitely spiraled out of control for Archer. He gave up back-to-back walks after the home run, then loaded the bases with a two-out walk to Kyle Tucker. Jeremy Peña hit a liner to right to score two more runs, making it 5-1 Houston. That concluded Archer’s night, making it the fourth consecutive game in which a Twins starter pitches four innings or less. A storm breaks out, and the game gets suspended, set to resume on Thursday A Royce Lewis single to lead off the bottom of the third brought some hope that the Twins could build some momentum offensively, with the top of the order coming next. But José Urquidy retired the side on 13 pitches to end the threat and… the night at Target Field. Before the fourth inning started, with Yennier Cano warming up to make his big league debut, a storm broke out, and the game went into a weather delay. Fans were evacuated from the stands into the concourses and had to wait until the announcement of the game suspension came, roughly one hour after the interruption of the game. Here we go again... After a 15-hour weather delay (aka, suspended game), the Twins and Astros resumed play at 12:10. Big-League Debuts Technically, Yennier Cano made his MLB debut on Wednesday night because he was announced. However, the reality is that he actually made his MLB debut when the game resumed on Thursday. Cano, who had all night to think about it, was impressive. He struck out the first batter he faced, catcher Martin Maldanado. Then he got Jose Altuve and Michael Brantley quickly. In the fifth inning, he got through Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez and Yuli Guerriel without breaking a sweat. He went out for a third inning. Kyle Tucker hit a high home run over the wall in right field to lead off the sixth frame. He got one out in that inning but after a couple of singles, Cody Stashak came on and allowed both inherited runners to score. So in his 2 1/3 innings, he was charged with three runs on three hits. That line is so much worse than how Cano performed. The Twins had a second player make his MLB debut in the game too. When play resumed, Gilberto Celestino had moved from left to center field. Mark Contreras took over in left field. Contreras came to the plate with runners on first and third and nobody out. He swung at the first pitch and hit a ball 105 mph to center. It was caught just in front of the warning track, but the run scored, so Contreras was awarded an RBI on the sacrifice fly. In his next at-bat, Contreras saw a handful of pitches before hitting a bounding grounder up the middle. Astros shortstop Jeremy Pena misplayed it for an error. Contreras later came around to score a run too. His final at-bat ended with a fielder's choice. The Twins are off to a very nice start to their season, but playing against a strong, veteran Astros team without Carlos Correa, and with young pitchers, was always going to be a bit of a reality check. Again, consider the amount of MLB time and at-bats that Alex Kirilloff, Jose Miranda, Gilberto Celestino, Royce Lewis, Mark Contreras, and even Ryan Jeffers have. Yet each of them contributed something in this game and are holding their own. So, you can say it's a reality check to see the Twins lose by a big margin, and that's fair. You can also be really excited about the future of this club, not only this year when Correa and Byron Buxton are back at full strength but for years to come. Along with the pitching pipeline that we are starting to see contribute to the Twins, there are hitters too. It's also OK to acknowledge both. Speaking of firsts... Nick Gordon has played all over the place since joining the Twins last summer. On Thursday, he made his pitching debut. The son of the former All-Star and long-time reliever Tom Gordon, Nick came in to face the Astros with the Twins down 11-3. And, he kept the score right there. For the most part, he lobbed in pitches at 70 mph or so. That said, he hit 87 with one pitch and 88 with another. He got a little help from Gio Urshela, but threw a scoreless frame. What’s Next? In approximately 30 minutes, Josh Winder (1.61 ERA) will try to snap the sequence of bad starts as he takes the mound for the third and final game of this series, facing Luis Garcia (3.45 ERA). Postgame Interview No postgame interviews due to the quick turn-around. Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet SUN MON TUE WED THU TOT Stashak 34 0 0 0 46 80 Cotton 0 0 58 0 0 58 Cano 0 0 0 0 36 36 Coulombe 0 0 29 IL IL 29 Pagán 28 0 0 0 0 28 Thielbar 20 0 3 0 0 23 Smith 12 0 0 0 0 12 Duffey 9 0 0 0 0 9 Duran 0 0 0 0 0 0 Jax 0 0 0 0 0 0 View full article
  11. Minnesota signed Yennier Cano back in June 2019 as an international free agent. He was a 25-year-old Cuban native who had pitched multiple years in the Cuban National Series. From age 19-to-21, he made 76 relief appearances in the CNS and posted a 2.12 ERA with a 1.10 WHIP. During those outings, he pitched over 161 innings, so his team used him for multiple innings. Cano posted a 5.0 K/9, but he was over 5.5 years younger than the average age of the competition in the CNS. His international experience was one of the traits that intrigued teams interested in signing him. He pitched in the Caribbean World Series, Pan Am Games, and Premier 12. Cano helped his team win the championship in the Serie Nacional 54 as he amassed six saves on the way to the title. It was clear that he was a reliever, but he had the potential to be a fast riser in any organization. Cano made his first affiliated appearances during the 2019 season with the GCL Twins before moving up to Fort Myers. He made eight appearances (13.0 IP) with the Miracle and posted a 2.77 ERA with a 1.46 WHIP. One of the most promising signs was his increase in strikeout rate as he struck out a batter per inning. His walk rate was too high (8.4 BB/9), but it was a small sample size. He had the opportunity for the 2020 season to push himself closer to the big leagues. Unfortunately, the pandemic wiped out the 2020 minor league season. Cano's next time on the mound was in the Puerto Rican Winter League, where he made seven appearances. He posted a 1.08 ERA with a 0.60 WHIP and an 11-to-2 strikeout to walk ratio. From there, Cano could transition those successes to the Double-A level. Cano started the 2022 campaign at Triple-A, where he pitched 12 innings. He has yet to allow an earned run, and he has cut his walk rate from 5.1 BB/9 to 3.0 BB/9. He struck out 14 batters and posted an excellent 0.83 WHIP. Injuries are certainly one of the reasons Cano is getting a big-league chance, but his 2022 performance has also warranted this opportunity. As far as a scouting report, Cano has four pitches, including a fastball, changeup, slider, and a splitter. His fastball sits in the mid-90s, but he can rear back and hit the upper-90s. His fastball also has a lot of sink to it, but his splitter is the pitch that generates the most swings and misses. His slider is his highest-graded secondary pitch, which FanGraphs ranks as a 50 currently and a 55 future grade. His low-slot angle will provide a unique look for batters, especially with the amount of velocity he can generate. Cano may get an extended look at the big-league level depending on Minnesota's injuries. What are your expectations for Cano? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  12. Yennier Cano's path to the big-league level is undoubtedly unique. Here is what he has accomplished so far in his professional career. Minnesota signed Yennier Cano back in June 2019 as an international free agent. He was a 25-year-old Cuban native who had pitched multiple years in the Cuban National Series. From age 19-to-21, he made 76 relief appearances in the CNS and posted a 2.12 ERA with a 1.10 WHIP. During those outings, he pitched over 161 innings, so his team used him for multiple innings. Cano posted a 5.0 K/9, but he was over 5.5 years younger than the average age of the competition in the CNS. His international experience was one of the traits that intrigued teams interested in signing him. He pitched in the Caribbean World Series, Pan Am Games, and Premier 12. Cano helped his team win the championship in the Serie Nacional 54 as he amassed six saves on the way to the title. It was clear that he was a reliever, but he had the potential to be a fast riser in any organization. Cano made his first affiliated appearances during the 2019 season with the GCL Twins before moving up to Fort Myers. He made eight appearances (13.0 IP) with the Miracle and posted a 2.77 ERA with a 1.46 WHIP. One of the most promising signs was his increase in strikeout rate as he struck out a batter per inning. His walk rate was too high (8.4 BB/9), but it was a small sample size. He had the opportunity for the 2020 season to push himself closer to the big leagues. Unfortunately, the pandemic wiped out the 2020 minor league season. Cano's next time on the mound was in the Puerto Rican Winter League, where he made seven appearances. He posted a 1.08 ERA with a 0.60 WHIP and an 11-to-2 strikeout to walk ratio. From there, Cano could transition those successes to the Double-A level. Cano started the 2022 campaign at Triple-A, where he pitched 12 innings. He has yet to allow an earned run, and he has cut his walk rate from 5.1 BB/9 to 3.0 BB/9. He struck out 14 batters and posted an excellent 0.83 WHIP. Injuries are certainly one of the reasons Cano is getting a big-league chance, but his 2022 performance has also warranted this opportunity. As far as a scouting report, Cano has four pitches, including a fastball, changeup, slider, and a splitter. His fastball sits in the mid-90s, but he can rear back and hit the upper-90s. His fastball also has a lot of sink to it, but his splitter is the pitch that generates the most swings and misses. His slider is his highest-graded secondary pitch, which FanGraphs ranks as a 50 currently and a 55 future grade. His low-slot angle will provide a unique look for batters, especially with the amount of velocity he can generate. Cano may get an extended look at the big-league level depending on Minnesota's injuries. What are your expectations for Cano? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  13. The Minnesota Twins cruised to victory behind seven shutout innings from Joe Ryan and a pair of Max Kepler home runs tonight. Ryan Jeffers also homered. Other players featured in tonight's video include Carlos Correa, Alex Kirilloff, Jose Miranda, Yennier Cano, Royce Lewis, Austin Martin, Edouard Julien, Louie Varland, Casey Legumina, Will Holland and more. View full video
  14. The Minnesota Twins cruised to victory behind seven shutout innings from Joe Ryan and a pair of Max Kepler home runs tonight. Ryan Jeffers also homered. Other players featured in tonight's video include Carlos Correa, Alex Kirilloff, Jose Miranda, Yennier Cano, Royce Lewis, Austin Martin, Edouard Julien, Louie Varland, Casey Legumina, Will Holland and more.
  15. Tuesday evening saw the St. Paul Saints kick off their season against the Louisville Bats down in Kentucky, and it’s hard not to drool at the top of their lineup that started with Jose Miranda, Royce Lewis, and Trevor Larnach. They've got pitching too, with Jordan Balazovic (though he's on the IL to start the year), Cole Sands, Jovani Moran, and Drew Strotman some of the names to watch or that you already know. The biggest story in this one is, without a doubt, the return of Lewis to official game action. The last time he was seen on a minor-league diamond, was all the way back in 2019 when he ended the year mashing in the Arizona Fall League to the tune of a Most Valuable Player award. He definitely made his presence known in this one, and in each phase of the game, which we will get to. TRANSACTIONS With it being Opening Day in Triple-A and the other affiliates kicking off their seasons on Friday, there will likely be a lot of roster movement in the next few days, so be sure to check out this section moving forward. Outfielder Elijah Greene, who was signed this spring, was released. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 3, Louisville 2 Box Score Taking the mound for the Saints to start the year, was offseason signee Mario Sanchez and he was solid for the first four innings, allowing just one hit, one walk, and striking out one. He threw 59 pitches, with a whopping 42 of them going for strikes (71%). Up to that point he was matched by Bats starter Ben Lively, who had held the St. Paul lineup hitless through the first four frames. Outfielder Derek Fisher changed that with a leadoff double to start the fifth inning and would later score the first run of the season for Twins affiliates on an RBI groundout from catcher David Banuelos. After a nice play at shortstop to end a threat from the Bats in the bottom of the inning, Lewis led off the top of the sixth with a single through the hole into left field. After a Trevor Larnach flyout, Lewis then demonstrated he still has his speed, taking second base for his first steal of the season. He would then come around to score on a Jake Cave single and 2-0 lead for the Saints. Wladimir Pinto was the first reliever for St. Paul, pitching the fifth and sixth innings. He gave up one hit, walked one, and struck out four. Trevor Megill then came on and worked around a leadoff single for a scoreless seventh inning, before serving up a home run to JT Riddle in the bottom of the eighth to make the score 2-1 and before it was said and done Yennier Cano would be summoned to end a two-out threat to tie the score. He got a flyout to keep the Saints out front heading into the ninth. Megill went 1 2/3 innings total, allowing three hits, walking one, and striking out two. In the top of the ninth, catcher David Banuelos added a needed insurance run with the first home run of the 2022 season, a 431-foot blast to left-center: Cano stayed in the game with a chance at his first save of the year, and it got interesting. A check swing led to a leadoff infield single and was followed by a double into the right-field corner that put the tying run in scoring position. An awkward passed ball led to a run (I could swear it was a foul tip, and Cano complained about it…), before he got a big strikeout and a lineout into left field for two outs. With the game on the line, Louisville brought on a pinch hitter, and Jose Miranda proceeded to make a game-saving play diving to his left to get the final out, and secure the first win of the 2022 minor league season! The Saints lineup managed just five hits, were 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position, and left eight men on base for the game. Miranda went 0-for-5 with a pair of strikeouts, Trevor Larnach was 0-for-3 with a walk and one K, and as a team, they struck out twelve times. In his first action since the 2019 season, Royce Lewis finished 1-for-4 with a single, walk, run scored, and a stolen base. He also struck out twice, but what stood out to me was there are no ill-effects from his knee surgery. He made a couple of nice plays in the field, showed his speed on the base paths, and there wasn’t any type of leg kick I’d call even remotely excessive in his swing. Most of all, I am sure it felt great for him to be back in action! Be sure to take a look at the Saints Roster Preview. WIND SURGE WISDOM The Wind Surge will begin their season on Friday at home against the Tulsa Drillers. While the Wind Surge have yet to name their opening day starter, the Tulsa Drillers have a prospect named Gus Varland scheduled for them. This is notable, as he’s the older brother of Twins Daily’s #14 Prospect Louie Varland, who is on the Wind Surge roster to start the year. If Wichita and Twins brass know what’s good for them, they’ll make this brotherly battle happen to start the year! In the meantime, be sure to check out the Wind Surge roster preview. KERNELS NUGGETS The Kernels open their season at home as well, facing off against a former Twins affiliate, the Beloit Snappers. You can also get a look at the Cedar Rapids roster in advance of their opener on Friday. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers hits the road to Clearwater to open their 2022 season against the Threshers on Friday. There should be quite a few of the Twins 2021 draft picks on their roster, which has yet to be officially announced. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Wladimir Pinto, St. Paul Saints (W, 2 IP, H, BB, 4 K) Hitter of the Day - David Banuelos, St. Paul Saints (1-for-3, HR, 2 RBI, BB) PROSPECT SUMMARY #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 1-for-4, R, BB, SB (1), 2 K #3 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 0-for-5, 2 K #4 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - Injured List (knee strain) #11 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 0-for-2, 2 BB, 2 K WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Louisville (5:35 PM CST) - RHP Daniel Gossett Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s game!
  16. While it is only one game, as every league besides the Triple-A level doesn’t start until Friday, this is always one of my favorite days of the year, even more so than the actual Major League opener. Find out how the St. Paul Saints did on Tuesday night. Tuesday evening saw the St. Paul Saints kick off their season against the Louisville Bats down in Kentucky, and it’s hard not to drool at the top of their lineup that started with Jose Miranda, Royce Lewis, and Trevor Larnach. They've got pitching too, with Jordan Balazovic (though he's on the IL to start the year), Cole Sands, Jovani Moran, and Drew Strotman some of the names to watch or that you already know. The biggest story in this one is, without a doubt, the return of Lewis to official game action. The last time he was seen on a minor-league diamond, was all the way back in 2019 when he ended the year mashing in the Arizona Fall League to the tune of a Most Valuable Player award. He definitely made his presence known in this one, and in each phase of the game, which we will get to. TRANSACTIONS With it being Opening Day in Triple-A and the other affiliates kicking off their seasons on Friday, there will likely be a lot of roster movement in the next few days, so be sure to check out this section moving forward. Outfielder Elijah Greene, who was signed this spring, was released. SAINTS SENTINEL St. Paul 3, Louisville 2 Box Score Taking the mound for the Saints to start the year, was offseason signee Mario Sanchez and he was solid for the first four innings, allowing just one hit, one walk, and striking out one. He threw 59 pitches, with a whopping 42 of them going for strikes (71%). Up to that point he was matched by Bats starter Ben Lively, who had held the St. Paul lineup hitless through the first four frames. Outfielder Derek Fisher changed that with a leadoff double to start the fifth inning and would later score the first run of the season for Twins affiliates on an RBI groundout from catcher David Banuelos. After a nice play at shortstop to end a threat from the Bats in the bottom of the inning, Lewis led off the top of the sixth with a single through the hole into left field. After a Trevor Larnach flyout, Lewis then demonstrated he still has his speed, taking second base for his first steal of the season. He would then come around to score on a Jake Cave single and 2-0 lead for the Saints. Wladimir Pinto was the first reliever for St. Paul, pitching the fifth and sixth innings. He gave up one hit, walked one, and struck out four. Trevor Megill then came on and worked around a leadoff single for a scoreless seventh inning, before serving up a home run to JT Riddle in the bottom of the eighth to make the score 2-1 and before it was said and done Yennier Cano would be summoned to end a two-out threat to tie the score. He got a flyout to keep the Saints out front heading into the ninth. Megill went 1 2/3 innings total, allowing three hits, walking one, and striking out two. In the top of the ninth, catcher David Banuelos added a needed insurance run with the first home run of the 2022 season, a 431-foot blast to left-center: Cano stayed in the game with a chance at his first save of the year, and it got interesting. A check swing led to a leadoff infield single and was followed by a double into the right-field corner that put the tying run in scoring position. An awkward passed ball led to a run (I could swear it was a foul tip, and Cano complained about it…), before he got a big strikeout and a lineout into left field for two outs. With the game on the line, Louisville brought on a pinch hitter, and Jose Miranda proceeded to make a game-saving play diving to his left to get the final out, and secure the first win of the 2022 minor league season! The Saints lineup managed just five hits, were 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position, and left eight men on base for the game. Miranda went 0-for-5 with a pair of strikeouts, Trevor Larnach was 0-for-3 with a walk and one K, and as a team, they struck out twelve times. In his first action since the 2019 season, Royce Lewis finished 1-for-4 with a single, walk, run scored, and a stolen base. He also struck out twice, but what stood out to me was there are no ill-effects from his knee surgery. He made a couple of nice plays in the field, showed his speed on the base paths, and there wasn’t any type of leg kick I’d call even remotely excessive in his swing. Most of all, I am sure it felt great for him to be back in action! Be sure to take a look at the Saints Roster Preview. WIND SURGE WISDOM The Wind Surge will begin their season on Friday at home against the Tulsa Drillers. While the Wind Surge have yet to name their opening day starter, the Tulsa Drillers have a prospect named Gus Varland scheduled for them. This is notable, as he’s the older brother of Twins Daily’s #14 Prospect Louie Varland, who is on the Wind Surge roster to start the year. If Wichita and Twins brass know what’s good for them, they’ll make this brotherly battle happen to start the year! In the meantime, be sure to check out the Wind Surge roster preview. KERNELS NUGGETS The Kernels open their season at home as well, facing off against a former Twins affiliate, the Beloit Snappers. You can also get a look at the Cedar Rapids roster in advance of their opener on Friday. MUSSEL MATTERS Fort Myers hits the road to Clearwater to open their 2022 season against the Threshers on Friday. There should be quite a few of the Twins 2021 draft picks on their roster, which has yet to be officially announced. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Pitcher of the Day - Wladimir Pinto, St. Paul Saints (W, 2 IP, H, BB, 4 K) Hitter of the Day - David Banuelos, St. Paul Saints (1-for-3, HR, 2 RBI, BB) PROSPECT SUMMARY #2 - Royce Lewis (St. Paul) - 1-for-4, R, BB, SB (1), 2 K #3 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 0-for-5, 2 K #4 - Jordan Balazovic (St. Paul) - Injured List (knee strain) #11 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 0-for-2, 2 BB, 2 K WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS St. Paul @ Louisville (5:35 PM CST) - RHP Daniel Gossett Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Tuesday’s game! View full article
  17. The Twins needs to add stability to their bullpen to rebound in 2022. Who are some attractive options to pursue on the free agent market? It was already over by May 1st. The futility of the Twins 2021 season was summed up by the first-half performance of its pitching staff. The Twins hurlers collected a pitifully sad 4.4 fWAR in the first half of the season, good for 29th in MLB. For the sake of comparison, the White Sox, who had the best first half, came in at 16.1 fWAR. The bullpen itself finished 26th. This is one of the occasions where the eye test and the numbers match up. We all remember April, Alexander Colome being sent out night after night, like an unsuspecting contestant in ‘Red Light, Green Light’ from Squid Game. It ended the same on almost every occasion, a sad, predictable massacre. There was an improvement, however. The Twins finished middle of the pack by most metrics in the second half, although their outcomes belied some of the processes, with a cumulative K/9 in the bottom third of the league and vastly better BaBIP, the Twins bullpen is an important area of focus if the team is to compete in 2022. Similarly to last week, when I wrote about starting pitching free-agent options, I’m choosing to make some assumptions for the sake of looking at some targets in this piece. The Twins have some strong pieces in place. Assuming their return, Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, Jorge Alcala, and Caleb Thielbar provide the bullpen with a strong spine. They have some effective pieces in place, a couple of high-leverage arms, and are all set on lefties. The Twins have strong options at AA and AAA. Jovani Moran and his deadly changeup made their major league debut in September. The Twins have additional high-quality, high-velocity arms that performed well at AAA, including Yennier Cano, Ian Hamilton, and Ryan Mason. Those three alone combined for 235 strikeouts in 183 MiLB innings in 2021. In addition to Moran, that’s a group that should be counted on for 1-2 spots in the 2022 season. 2021 will not scare the front office away from waiver wire pickups. The Twins did not show an ability to tweak or develop any waiver-wire pickups in 2021, a la Matt Wisler in 2020. That doesn’t mean that they should, or will, stop looking for value. The Twins need to try and add some stability to the bullpen through free agency. The organization is presented with a difficult challenge, then. Add stability to the solid bullpen foundation already in place with some consistent, reliable free-agent additions. Relief pitchers are notoriously fickle, so fleshing out the bullpen will present a tricky off-season challenge. There is no shortage of options available in the relief pitching market. I counted 92 free agent relief pitchers, with two-thirds of those having positive 2021 seasons. So who are some possibilities the Twins may target? Kendall Graveman Graveman made just $1.25 million in 2021 with the Mariners and Astros, so is due for a solid raise in advance of the 2022 season. He made all kinds of breakthroughs this season with his average fastball velocity climbing from 94.2 mph to 96.5 mph and his K/9 increasing from 7.23 to 9.80. Graveman finished the season with an xERA of 3.65 in 56 innings pitched and was acquired by the Astros at the deadline. Archie Bradley Bradley was a popular addition candidate with Twins fandom in 2020. He signed for Philadelphia on a 1-year, $6 million deal and should get a similar AAV in 2022. Bradley has strong velocity in the mid-90s but did see some concerning drop-offs in 2021. His K/9 fell to 7.1 (from a previous high of 10.9) and his control was inconsistent. It’s also worth noting that Philadelphia seems to be where relief pitching goes to die. Bradley would be a strong possibility for the Twins if the front office sees something they can tweak in his approach, as the stuff and the track record is there. Corey Knebel Knebel rebounded in 2021 after a dreadful 2020. Unsurprisingly, it was the Dodgers who helped him find his best stuff again. Knebel put together a 2.96 xERA in 25 2/3 innings, maintaining a healthy 10.5 K/9. Knebel is a true two-pitch reliever (fastball/curveball) who can run it up into the high 90s. The Dodgers trusted him to open a critical Game 5 of the NLDS against the Giants. Knebel was tied to the Dodgers on a 1-year, $5.25 million deal in 2021. Which of these candidates do you like or not like for the Twins bullpen? Which other free-agent relief pitchers would you like to see the Twins target? View full article
  18. It was already over by May 1st. The futility of the Twins 2021 season was summed up by the first-half performance of its pitching staff. The Twins hurlers collected a pitifully sad 4.4 fWAR in the first half of the season, good for 29th in MLB. For the sake of comparison, the White Sox, who had the best first half, came in at 16.1 fWAR. The bullpen itself finished 26th. This is one of the occasions where the eye test and the numbers match up. We all remember April, Alexander Colome being sent out night after night, like an unsuspecting contestant in ‘Red Light, Green Light’ from Squid Game. It ended the same on almost every occasion, a sad, predictable massacre. There was an improvement, however. The Twins finished middle of the pack by most metrics in the second half, although their outcomes belied some of the processes, with a cumulative K/9 in the bottom third of the league and vastly better BaBIP, the Twins bullpen is an important area of focus if the team is to compete in 2022. Similarly to last week, when I wrote about starting pitching free-agent options, I’m choosing to make some assumptions for the sake of looking at some targets in this piece. The Twins have some strong pieces in place. Assuming their return, Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, Jorge Alcala, and Caleb Thielbar provide the bullpen with a strong spine. They have some effective pieces in place, a couple of high-leverage arms, and are all set on lefties. The Twins have strong options at AA and AAA. Jovani Moran and his deadly changeup made their major league debut in September. The Twins have additional high-quality, high-velocity arms that performed well at AAA, including Yennier Cano, Ian Hamilton, and Ryan Mason. Those three alone combined for 235 strikeouts in 183 MiLB innings in 2021. In addition to Moran, that’s a group that should be counted on for 1-2 spots in the 2022 season. 2021 will not scare the front office away from waiver wire pickups. The Twins did not show an ability to tweak or develop any waiver-wire pickups in 2021, a la Matt Wisler in 2020. That doesn’t mean that they should, or will, stop looking for value. The Twins need to try and add some stability to the bullpen through free agency. The organization is presented with a difficult challenge, then. Add stability to the solid bullpen foundation already in place with some consistent, reliable free-agent additions. Relief pitchers are notoriously fickle, so fleshing out the bullpen will present a tricky off-season challenge. There is no shortage of options available in the relief pitching market. I counted 92 free agent relief pitchers, with two-thirds of those having positive 2021 seasons. So who are some possibilities the Twins may target? Kendall Graveman Graveman made just $1.25 million in 2021 with the Mariners and Astros, so is due for a solid raise in advance of the 2022 season. He made all kinds of breakthroughs this season with his average fastball velocity climbing from 94.2 mph to 96.5 mph and his K/9 increasing from 7.23 to 9.80. Graveman finished the season with an xERA of 3.65 in 56 innings pitched and was acquired by the Astros at the deadline. Archie Bradley Bradley was a popular addition candidate with Twins fandom in 2020. He signed for Philadelphia on a 1-year, $6 million deal and should get a similar AAV in 2022. Bradley has strong velocity in the mid-90s but did see some concerning drop-offs in 2021. His K/9 fell to 7.1 (from a previous high of 10.9) and his control was inconsistent. It’s also worth noting that Philadelphia seems to be where relief pitching goes to die. Bradley would be a strong possibility for the Twins if the front office sees something they can tweak in his approach, as the stuff and the track record is there. Corey Knebel Knebel rebounded in 2021 after a dreadful 2020. Unsurprisingly, it was the Dodgers who helped him find his best stuff again. Knebel put together a 2.96 xERA in 25 2/3 innings, maintaining a healthy 10.5 K/9. Knebel is a true two-pitch reliever (fastball/curveball) who can run it up into the high 90s. The Dodgers trusted him to open a critical Game 5 of the NLDS against the Giants. Knebel was tied to the Dodgers on a 1-year, $5.25 million deal in 2021. Which of these candidates do you like or not like for the Twins bullpen? Which other free-agent relief pitchers would you like to see the Twins target?
  19. 2022 is a critical year for the development of the Twins' deep farm system. Here are 3 critical St. Paul Saints storylines to watch in 2022. Understandably, much of the discourse between Twins fans this offseason has surrounded the lack of pitching upgrades, a frustration compounded by a stagnant lockout. Since Derek Falvey arrived in Minnesota in 2016 the organization has made an enormous commitment to maximizing player development. The Twins were on the front end of hiring college coaches for their MLB staff (Wes Johnson). Additionally, they catapulted their front office staff from near the bottom of the proverbial pile to a modern, sophisticated, and extremely expertly staffed group. While Twins fans spend most of their time sweating the status of the rotation and the potential competitiveness of the MLB roster in 2022, I’d argue that the outcomes of the Wichita Wind Surge and St. Paul Saints will have a greater impact on any retrospective of Falvey’s tenure than anything the MLB club does in 2022. The Twins are completely committed to developing their own pitching pipeline to achieve the ‘sustainable success’ Falvey spoke of when he first arrived in Minnesota. With this in mind, here are three critical St. Paul Saints' storylines to watch closely in 2022. The Development of the Twins’ Starting Pitching Pipeline This has to be the year Twins starting pitching prospects breakthrough and show what they can do at the MLB level. The majority of Joe Ryan’s development should be credited to the Rays. Bailey Ober was an exceptional surprise in 2021 but is likely a mid-back end of the rotation guy. In 2022, the Twins need to see a pitcher breakthrough who shows the potential to start a playoff game at the MLB level. There is certainly no shortage of possibilities! Chris Vallimont, Cole Sands, Simeon Woods-Richardson, and Jordan Balazovic all finished 2021 at Double-A Wichita and should all see time in St. Paul in 2022. Sands is a particularly unheralded Twins prospect, striking out 96 in just 80 1/3 innings in 2021 while producing a 2.46 ERA. Josh Winder and Jhoan Duran spent time in St. Paul in 2021 and should start there in 2022. It will, in particular, be a critical season for Duran who lost the majority of his 2021 to injury. Owner of perhaps the nastiest stuff in the Twins system (along with Chase Petty), Duran needs to stay healthy in order to show some sustained success at Triple-A. Coaching Staff Turnover This storyline goes hand-in-hand with the development of the Twins' incredibly deep farm system. One inevitable price you pay when developing excellent infrastructure is it will constantly be poached. St. Paul Saints Triple-A hitting coach, Matt Borgschulte was hired by the Orioles to be their co-MLB hitting coach this offseason. Additionally, Mike McCarthy, who was gracious enough to interview with me in 2021 for Twins Daily, took a Triple-A pitching coach job with the Padres. It’s unusual to lose both hitting and pitching coaches in one offseason and particularly challenging with such a pivotal developmental season for so many prospects ahead in 2022. I’d argue that these are two absolutely critical hires for 2022 and beyond. This will be worth paying attention to when they are announced. Bullpen Help is on the Way The Twins bullpen was a horror show in the first half of 2021. Despite significant improvement in the second half, Minnesota was already out of contention. There will be a significant turnover in the bullpen in 2022. Jovani Moran made the leap to the MLB level at the end of 2021 (pay attention to his changeup). Additionally, the Twins have three MLB-ready relief prospects in Yennier Cano, Ian Hamilton, and Ryan Mason. In 182 minor-league innings in 2021 (AA and AAA), the three combined for a 3.34 ERA and 235 strikeouts. All three will likely see the majors in 2022. The Twins front office has hitched their wagon to developing their own talent over the last five years. 2022 should be the year when it comes to fruition for the major league team with more consistency. While the Twins MiLB system doesn’t have the same elite-level prospects as some other top systems, they have some of the best depth in baseball. Do yourself a favor and get to CHS Field as often as you can in 2022. 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. Understandably, much of the discourse between Twins fans this offseason has surrounded the lack of pitching upgrades, a frustration compounded by a stagnant lockout. Since Derek Falvey arrived in Minnesota in 2016 the organization has made an enormous commitment to maximizing player development. The Twins were on the front end of hiring college coaches for their MLB staff (Wes Johnson). Additionally, they catapulted their front office staff from near the bottom of the proverbial pile to a modern, sophisticated, and extremely expertly staffed group. While Twins fans spend most of their time sweating the status of the rotation and the potential competitiveness of the MLB roster in 2022, I’d argue that the outcomes of the Wichita Wind Surge and St. Paul Saints will have a greater impact on any retrospective of Falvey’s tenure than anything the MLB club does in 2022. The Twins are completely committed to developing their own pitching pipeline to achieve the ‘sustainable success’ Falvey spoke of when he first arrived in Minnesota. With this in mind, here are three critical St. Paul Saints' storylines to watch closely in 2022. The Development of the Twins’ Starting Pitching Pipeline This has to be the year Twins starting pitching prospects breakthrough and show what they can do at the MLB level. The majority of Joe Ryan’s development should be credited to the Rays. Bailey Ober was an exceptional surprise in 2021 but is likely a mid-back end of the rotation guy. In 2022, the Twins need to see a pitcher breakthrough who shows the potential to start a playoff game at the MLB level. There is certainly no shortage of possibilities! Chris Vallimont, Cole Sands, Simeon Woods-Richardson, and Jordan Balazovic all finished 2021 at Double-A Wichita and should all see time in St. Paul in 2022. Sands is a particularly unheralded Twins prospect, striking out 96 in just 80 1/3 innings in 2021 while producing a 2.46 ERA. Josh Winder and Jhoan Duran spent time in St. Paul in 2021 and should start there in 2022. It will, in particular, be a critical season for Duran who lost the majority of his 2021 to injury. Owner of perhaps the nastiest stuff in the Twins system (along with Chase Petty), Duran needs to stay healthy in order to show some sustained success at Triple-A. Coaching Staff Turnover This storyline goes hand-in-hand with the development of the Twins' incredibly deep farm system. One inevitable price you pay when developing excellent infrastructure is it will constantly be poached. St. Paul Saints Triple-A hitting coach, Matt Borgschulte was hired by the Orioles to be their co-MLB hitting coach this offseason. Additionally, Mike McCarthy, who was gracious enough to interview with me in 2021 for Twins Daily, took a Triple-A pitching coach job with the Padres. It’s unusual to lose both hitting and pitching coaches in one offseason and particularly challenging with such a pivotal developmental season for so many prospects ahead in 2022. I’d argue that these are two absolutely critical hires for 2022 and beyond. This will be worth paying attention to when they are announced. Bullpen Help is on the Way The Twins bullpen was a horror show in the first half of 2021. Despite significant improvement in the second half, Minnesota was already out of contention. There will be a significant turnover in the bullpen in 2022. Jovani Moran made the leap to the MLB level at the end of 2021 (pay attention to his changeup). Additionally, the Twins have three MLB-ready relief prospects in Yennier Cano, Ian Hamilton, and Ryan Mason. In 182 minor-league innings in 2021 (AA and AAA), the three combined for a 3.34 ERA and 235 strikeouts. All three will likely see the majors in 2022. The Twins front office has hitched their wagon to developing their own talent over the last five years. 2022 should be the year when it comes to fruition for the major league team with more consistency. While the Twins MiLB system doesn’t have the same elite-level prospects as some other top systems, they have some of the best depth in baseball. Do yourself a favor and get to CHS Field as often as you can in 2022. 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. We jump into the Top 25 pitching prospects today and find a couple of relievers with unique stories, a couple of intriguing 2019 draft prospects and a 2021 College World Series champion. Get to know these five prospects and then discuss them in the Comments below. #25 - RHP Jordan Gore 2021 STATS: 8-2, 2.39 ERA, 39/0 G/GS, 0.95 WHIP, 88/28 K/BB, 67.2 IP Drafted as a shortstop in 2017 from Coastal Carolina, Jordan Gore worked all the way up to Double-A in 2019 at that position. But then late in the year, the transition began. Gore was blessed with a strong arm, and because of it got an opportunity on the mound. Unfortunately, there was no 2020 season, so no one knew what to expect from him. He began at Cedar Rapids and pitched well. He earned a second-half promotion to Double-A Wichita where he continued to pitch great through the end of the season. While he threw 95 mph, he also had developed a solid change up and slider over the previous year and used all of his pitches. In addition, listen to his Twins Spotlight interview after the season, and he has a great mentality for working late innings. Gore will spend most of the 2022 season at the age of 27. #24 - RHP Cody Laweryson 2021 STATS: 2-5, 4.91 ERA, 15/14 G/GS 1.33 WHIP, 73/19 K/BB, 58.2 IP Cody Laweryson was the Twins 14th round pick in 2019 out of the University of Maine. That summer, he pitched at Elizabethton and was the Twins Daily short-season Minor League Pitcher of the Year. After the missed 2020 season, Laweryson was slowed in spring training by a minor injury. In early June, he joined the Kernels starting rotation. He had ups and downs but ended the season strong. He was able to get extra innings in the Arizona Fall League. He struck out 18 batters in 14 innings. He also represented the Twins in the Fall Stars game. He will turn 23 in May. #23 - RHP Yennier Cano 2021 STATS: 5-3, 3.23 ERA, 42/1 G/GS, 1.38 WHIP, 86/34 K/BB, 69.2 IP After defecting from Cuba, Yennier Cano became an international free agent, and in June 2019, the Twins were able to sign him. That year, he got some time in the GCL and then for the Miracle. He began the 2021 season in Double-A Wichita and went 3-1 with a 1.47 ERA over 18 1/3 innings. He had 28 strikeouts and just five walks. He moved up to St. Paul and posted a 3.86 ERA. In 51 1/3 innings, he struck out 58 batters, but he also walked 29. Cano has a rubber arm and wants to pitch all the time. He has a mid-to-upper ‘90s fastball as well as a good slider. He will turn 28 in March and should debut in 2022. #22 - RHP Sean Mooney 2021 STATS: 0-2, 2.79 ERA, 13/12 G/GS, 1.07 WHIP, 71/23 K/BB, 42.0 IP The New Jersey native headed to St. Johns where he went 19-5 with ERAs of 1.71 and 2.56 over his freshman and sophomore seasons. As a junior in 2019, he went 2-1 with a 2.17 ERA, but after nine starts, he hurt his elbow and needed Tommy John surgery. The Twins really liked him and took him with their 12th round pick in 2019. He rehabbed in 2019 and may not have pitched much in 2020 either. So 2021 was his professional debut. In 10 games (9 starts) with Ft. Myers, he went 0-1 with a 1.24 ERA. In 29 innings, he struck out 52 batters! He moved up to Cedar Rapids and made three starts. He had 19 strikeouts in 13 innings. Mooney has an advanced pitching makeup and four pitches. He profiles as a starter at least for now. 2022 could be a big year if he can stay healthy throughout the season and really get to develop. Mooney will be 23 throughout the 2022 season. #21 - LHP Christian MacLeod 2021 STATS: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1/0 G/GS, 1.80 WHIP, 2/5 K/BB, 1.2 IP 2021 was a big season for MacLeod. He became a weekend starter at Mississippi State. He went to the College World Series and helped the Bulldogs to their first national championship. The Twins drafted him in the fifth round of the 2021 draft. He signed, took some time away from pitching in games and ended the season with one outing in the FCL And after Instructional League, he was a guest on Twins Spotlight. OK, that last one may not be on the same level as the rest, but I know Twins Daily readers enjoyed it. Again, he will get a chance to start the 2022 season, probably in Ft. Myers, and have the opportunity to move up to Cedar Rapids by midseason. MacLeod will turn 22 in April. He’s got a good fastball, has typically shown good control and has secondary pitches that have potential. This is an interesting group. You’ve got a couple of older relief pitchers, though both have circumstances that make it understandable, and both showed well in 2021. There were two 2019 draft picks, both of whom have missed some time with injury, but both have had success to note when healthy. Finally, there is a 2021 draft pick who helped his team to the College World Series championship and is just beginning his career. Discuss... and keep coming back every day throughout the holiday season as we continue to discuss these prospects. Previous Rankings Hitters Part 1: 26-30 Hitters Part 2: 21-25 Pitchers Part 1: 26-30
  22. We continue our Twins prospect series today with my choices for the Twins pitching prospects 21 through 25. It is another interesting and unique group, so get to know these pitchers and then discuss them in the comments. We jump into the Top 25 pitching prospects today and find a couple of relievers with unique stories, a couple of intriguing 2019 draft prospects and a 2021 College World Series champion. Get to know these five prospects and then discuss them in the Comments below. #25 - RHP Jordan Gore 2021 STATS: 8-2, 2.39 ERA, 39/0 G/GS, 0.95 WHIP, 88/28 K/BB, 67.2 IP Drafted as a shortstop in 2017 from Coastal Carolina, Jordan Gore worked all the way up to Double-A in 2019 at that position. But then late in the year, the transition began. Gore was blessed with a strong arm, and because of it got an opportunity on the mound. Unfortunately, there was no 2020 season, so no one knew what to expect from him. He began at Cedar Rapids and pitched well. He earned a second-half promotion to Double-A Wichita where he continued to pitch great through the end of the season. While he threw 95 mph, he also had developed a solid change up and slider over the previous year and used all of his pitches. In addition, listen to his Twins Spotlight interview after the season, and he has a great mentality for working late innings. Gore will spend most of the 2022 season at the age of 27. #24 - RHP Cody Laweryson 2021 STATS: 2-5, 4.91 ERA, 15/14 G/GS 1.33 WHIP, 73/19 K/BB, 58.2 IP Cody Laweryson was the Twins 14th round pick in 2019 out of the University of Maine. That summer, he pitched at Elizabethton and was the Twins Daily short-season Minor League Pitcher of the Year. After the missed 2020 season, Laweryson was slowed in spring training by a minor injury. In early June, he joined the Kernels starting rotation. He had ups and downs but ended the season strong. He was able to get extra innings in the Arizona Fall League. He struck out 18 batters in 14 innings. He also represented the Twins in the Fall Stars game. He will turn 23 in May. #23 - RHP Yennier Cano 2021 STATS: 5-3, 3.23 ERA, 42/1 G/GS, 1.38 WHIP, 86/34 K/BB, 69.2 IP After defecting from Cuba, Yennier Cano became an international free agent, and in June 2019, the Twins were able to sign him. That year, he got some time in the GCL and then for the Miracle. He began the 2021 season in Double-A Wichita and went 3-1 with a 1.47 ERA over 18 1/3 innings. He had 28 strikeouts and just five walks. He moved up to St. Paul and posted a 3.86 ERA. In 51 1/3 innings, he struck out 58 batters, but he also walked 29. Cano has a rubber arm and wants to pitch all the time. He has a mid-to-upper ‘90s fastball as well as a good slider. He will turn 28 in March and should debut in 2022. #22 - RHP Sean Mooney 2021 STATS: 0-2, 2.79 ERA, 13/12 G/GS, 1.07 WHIP, 71/23 K/BB, 42.0 IP The New Jersey native headed to St. Johns where he went 19-5 with ERAs of 1.71 and 2.56 over his freshman and sophomore seasons. As a junior in 2019, he went 2-1 with a 2.17 ERA, but after nine starts, he hurt his elbow and needed Tommy John surgery. The Twins really liked him and took him with their 12th round pick in 2019. He rehabbed in 2019 and may not have pitched much in 2020 either. So 2021 was his professional debut. In 10 games (9 starts) with Ft. Myers, he went 0-1 with a 1.24 ERA. In 29 innings, he struck out 52 batters! He moved up to Cedar Rapids and made three starts. He had 19 strikeouts in 13 innings. Mooney has an advanced pitching makeup and four pitches. He profiles as a starter at least for now. 2022 could be a big year if he can stay healthy throughout the season and really get to develop. Mooney will be 23 throughout the 2022 season. #21 - LHP Christian MacLeod 2021 STATS: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1/0 G/GS, 1.80 WHIP, 2/5 K/BB, 1.2 IP 2021 was a big season for MacLeod. He became a weekend starter at Mississippi State. He went to the College World Series and helped the Bulldogs to their first national championship. The Twins drafted him in the fifth round of the 2021 draft. He signed, took some time away from pitching in games and ended the season with one outing in the FCL And after Instructional League, he was a guest on Twins Spotlight. OK, that last one may not be on the same level as the rest, but I know Twins Daily readers enjoyed it. Again, he will get a chance to start the 2022 season, probably in Ft. Myers, and have the opportunity to move up to Cedar Rapids by midseason. MacLeod will turn 22 in April. He’s got a good fastball, has typically shown good control and has secondary pitches that have potential. This is an interesting group. You’ve got a couple of older relief pitchers, though both have circumstances that make it understandable, and both showed well in 2021. There were two 2019 draft picks, both of whom have missed some time with injury, but both have had success to note when healthy. Finally, there is a 2021 draft pick who helped his team to the College World Series championship and is just beginning his career. Discuss... and keep coming back every day throughout the holiday season as we continue to discuss these prospects. Previous Rankings Hitters Part 1: 26-30 Hitters Part 2: 21-25 Pitchers Part 1: 26-30 View full article
  23. Understandably, much of the early off-season Twins conjecture has surrounded trades and free-agent additions the Twins can make to boost their beleaguered pitching staff. The promotion of Jovani Moran and his dynamic changeup is indicative of another direction the organization will have to succeed at if they are to compete in 2022, promoting from within. Twins fans have bemoaned the organization's poor returns on developing its own pitching for as long as I can remember. 2022 will be the year that narrative begins to change. It’s well known that the Twins have a stable (sorry PETA) of young arms in AA and above, with Josh Winder, Jhoan Duran, Cole Sands, Chris Vallimont, Jordan Balazovic approaching major league consideration. What about bullpen options? Here are three names Twins fans should be familiar with who will likely feature in the major league bullpen during the 2022 season. Ian Hamilton Ian Hamilton is perhaps the best known of the trio to Twins fans. A former White Sox top prospect, Hamilton has made a remarkable recovery from a minor car accident and being struck in the face by a batted ball in 2019. Hamilton struck out 33.5% of hitters he faced in 2021 (13.1 K/9) and has enough velocity to be a high-leverage arm. Control was Hamilton’s issue in 2021, with a 15.2% BB%. Hamilton spoke of the challenges of regaining confidence in his mechanics after his injuries. If he can return to the type of command he showed in the 2018 season 5.1% BB%, he could be a huge boon to the Twins bullpen in 2022. Ryan Mason Conversely, Ryan Mason is the name on this list least well known by Twins fans. It’s time to pay attention. Mason was drafted in the 13th round of the 2016 draft out of UC-Berkley. The 6’6 California native was promoted to the Saints at the end of July, after impressing at AA Wichita. Mason combined for 54 innings across two minor-league levels with the Twins and got better when he was promoted to St. Paul. He struck out 29.4% of the batters he faced at AAA (12.1 K/9) and managed a 3.47 FIP. Similarly to Hamilton, it’s control that will be a decisive factor for Mason. At AAA in 2021, he walked 11.8% of hitters (4.8 BB/9). Also like Hamilton, he has a history of good control prior to a pandemic-lost 2020 season (1.6 BB/9 in 92 2/3 innings between 2018-2019). Mason is another MLB-caliber arm to watch out for in 2022. Yennier Cano Cano is an unusual bullpen prospect. The 27-year-old out of Cuba throws in the mid-to-upper 90s and offers a fastball, slider, splitter combination which he executed to great effect in St. Paul in 2021. Cano’s ascent through the Twins MiLB ranks is impressive. He has moved from Rookie ball to AAA in just two seasons, with a season off in-between due to the pandemic. Cano struck out 25.7% of hitters he faced in 51 AAA innings (10.2 K/9). Cano struggled with his control at AAA with a 12.8% BB%, compared to just 6.2% at AA. Similar to Hamilton and Mason, Cano has shown the stuff and performance to be a high-leverage arm, if he can arrive at a greater level of consistency. These three internal options for the Twins bullpen have striking similarities. Excellent arms, excellent stuff, and a need to develop more consistent control. Whether that need arose through injury, or simply missed development time, it’s critical the Twins begin to show the type of success developing their own relievers as many have predicted for their starters in forthcoming seasons. While there is work to be done for all three, make no mistake. Help for the major-league arm barn is on the way from St. Paul.
  24. The Twins have an increasing number of intriguing options to help their major-league bullpen in 2022. Here are three names you need to know for next season. Understandably, much of the early off-season Twins conjecture has surrounded trades and free-agent additions the Twins can make to boost their beleaguered pitching staff. The promotion of Jovani Moran and his dynamic changeup is indicative of another direction the organization will have to succeed at if they are to compete in 2022, promoting from within. Twins fans have bemoaned the organization's poor returns on developing its own pitching for as long as I can remember. 2022 will be the year that narrative begins to change. It’s well known that the Twins have a stable (sorry PETA) of young arms in AA and above, with Josh Winder, Jhoan Duran, Cole Sands, Chris Vallimont, Jordan Balazovic approaching major league consideration. What about bullpen options? Here are three names Twins fans should be familiar with who will likely feature in the major league bullpen during the 2022 season. Ian Hamilton Ian Hamilton is perhaps the best known of the trio to Twins fans. A former White Sox top prospect, Hamilton has made a remarkable recovery from a minor car accident and being struck in the face by a batted ball in 2019. Hamilton struck out 33.5% of hitters he faced in 2021 (13.1 K/9) and has enough velocity to be a high-leverage arm. Control was Hamilton’s issue in 2021, with a 15.2% BB%. Hamilton spoke of the challenges of regaining confidence in his mechanics after his injuries. If he can return to the type of command he showed in the 2018 season 5.1% BB%, he could be a huge boon to the Twins bullpen in 2022. Ryan Mason Conversely, Ryan Mason is the name on this list least well known by Twins fans. It’s time to pay attention. Mason was drafted in the 13th round of the 2016 draft out of UC-Berkley. The 6’6 California native was promoted to the Saints at the end of July, after impressing at AA Wichita. Mason combined for 54 innings across two minor-league levels with the Twins and got better when he was promoted to St. Paul. He struck out 29.4% of the batters he faced at AAA (12.1 K/9) and managed a 3.47 FIP. Similarly to Hamilton, it’s control that will be a decisive factor for Mason. At AAA in 2021, he walked 11.8% of hitters (4.8 BB/9). Also like Hamilton, he has a history of good control prior to a pandemic-lost 2020 season (1.6 BB/9 in 92 2/3 innings between 2018-2019). Mason is another MLB-caliber arm to watch out for in 2022. Yennier Cano Cano is an unusual bullpen prospect. The 27-year-old out of Cuba throws in the mid-to-upper 90s and offers a fastball, slider, splitter combination which he executed to great effect in St. Paul in 2021. Cano’s ascent through the Twins MiLB ranks is impressive. He has moved from Rookie ball to AAA in just two seasons, with a season off in-between due to the pandemic. Cano struck out 25.7% of hitters he faced in 51 AAA innings (10.2 K/9). Cano struggled with his control at AAA with a 12.8% BB%, compared to just 6.2% at AA. Similar to Hamilton and Mason, Cano has shown the stuff and performance to be a high-leverage arm, if he can arrive at a greater level of consistency. These three internal options for the Twins bullpen have striking similarities. Excellent arms, excellent stuff, and a need to develop more consistent control. Whether that need arose through injury, or simply missed development time, it’s critical the Twins begin to show the type of success developing their own relievers as many have predicted for their starters in forthcoming seasons. While there is work to be done for all three, make no mistake. Help for the major-league arm barn is on the way from St. Paul. View full article
  25. MINOR LEAGUE END OF THE YEAR AWARDS There have been quite a few bright spots around the Twins' farm system throughout the 2021 season. Yet through all the ups, downs, wins, and losses there were a number of players who distinguished themselves as crowned jewels. Congrats to all of our 2021 Minor League Award winners! Twins Daily 2021 Minor League Hitter of the Year: Jose Miranda Twins Daily 2021 Starting Pitching of the Year: Louie Varland Twins Daily 2021 Relief Pitcher of the Year: Jovani Moran Short Season Awards Twins Daily 2021 Short Season Hitter of the Year: Kala'i Rosario Twins Daily 2021 Short Season Pitcher of the Year: Samuel Perez TRANSACTIONS The Saints placed catcher Ben Rortvedt on the IL with a concussion. SAINTS SENTINAL St. Paul 2, Toledo 0 Box Score A late-inning blast and dominant pitching led to a gutsy win for the Saints on Thursday night at Fifth Third Field. After six innings of a stalemate, the Saints struck the scoreboard in the top of the seventh. Leadoff man Jose Miranda reached on a hit by pitch and eventually moved his way to third on a groundout and wild pitch. He may as well stayed at first. Moments later, Mark Contreras launched a 1-0 pitch over the right field wall to give the Saints a 2-0 lead. The blast was Contreras' 18th on the year and fifth in September. Starting pitcher Derek Law was rock solid on the night, tossing three innings of scoreless ball. Law allowed three hits and two walks while striking out four. And while Law kicked off the party, the guest of honor title belonged to the St. Paul bullpen. The duo of Chandler Shepherd and Yennier Cano rattled off six innings of scoreless ball to hold the lead for the Saints. Shepherd was nearly perfect through four innings, giving up one hit, zero walks, and striking out three. Cano entered in the eighth and put the nail in the coffin for St. Paul. After a smooth eighth, Cano gave up a one-out double to Mud Hen shortstop Ryan Kreidler. It didn't matter. Cano regained the momentum and struck out the next two batters to seal the deal for the Saints. The Mud Hens outhit St. Paul 5-2, with a Jose Miranda single playing as the only other hit for the Saints in addition to Contreras' blast. Yet when it came to crunch time, Toledo couldn't convert, going 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position. The Saints are now 5-2 in the Final Stretch of the season. TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY Hitter of the Day: Mark Contreras (St. Paul)- 1-for-3, HR, R, 2 RBI, K Pitcher of the Day: Chandler Shepherd (St. Paul)- W, 4.0 IP, 0 R, 0 ER, H, 5 K PROSPECT SUMMARY #6- Jose Miranda (St. Paul)- 1-for-3, R #7- Joe Ryan (Minnesota)- Game in progress #13- Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul)- 0-for-4, K #16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota)- Game in progress FRIDAY'S PROBABLE STARTER St. Paul @ Toledo (6:05PM CST) RHP Beau Burrows (4-5, 5.16 ERA)
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