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  1. The Twins have completed a sweep of the KC Royals and increased their lead in the AL Central to two games. Just to show they are impartial, the Royals play Cleveland next and send out the worst starting pitcher in MLB (Jordan Lyles) to face the Guardians tonight. The Twins have an off day today and face the Baltimore Orioles for the second weekend in a row, this time at Target Field. The Orioles are a team on the rise. After being the only bad team for years in the AL East, they have become respectable and have a much better record than the Twins. They have been given many top draft choices this decade and those draft choices are bearing fruit. Adley Rutschman, Gunnar Hendrickson, Jordan Westburg and Colton Couser have all been added in the last two years with more premium prospects in the system. Their pitching staff has been built mostly by trial and error--keep churning guys through the system and some will work out--including Jorge López who was flipped to the Twins at last year's trade deadline. On the pitching staff, the '23 Orioles have four pitchers who at one time were property of the Twins, including probably the number one loss on a Rule V claim in recent history. Here's a look at four pitchers who have gone from the Twins directly or indirectly to the Orioles. #4--Kyle Gibson. Kyle Gibson was a #1 draft pick by the Twins. A college pitcher, he debuted midseason in 2013 and gave the Twins six and a half years of starts. Gibson was promoted as a sinkerballer who threw hard enough to get strikeouts and I suspect his stuff would have played better in another era. His body of work is middle of the road, but he has been better than that for stretches, including an All-Star selection in 2021. I have met Kyle and he is one of my favorite ballplayers. Since his time with the Twins, Gibson pitched for Texas and Philadelphia before signing as a free agent with the Orioles. #3--Danny Coulombe. Coulombe pitched parts of three seasons with the Twins. He is a left handed middle reliever and in his time with the Twins he was mostly effective. For the third year in a row, he signed a minor league contract with the Twins. Now 33 years of age, this year's contract had an opt-out clause in the contract. If another club wanted to offer a major league roster spot Coulombe could opt out of his contract with the Twins. The Orioles offered and the Twins had to let him go. Given his history, and the fact that Coulombe signed three straight minor league contracts with the Twins, I think it is defensible that the Twins didn't put him on the major league roster solely to keep him in the organization. On the other hand, did they really need to keep a long reliever (Cole Sands) and Emilio Pagán? Coulombe has performed very well for the Os. His ERA is under 3 and he is averaging over 11 Ks per nine innings. #2--Yennier Cano. Cano was signed by the Twins in 2019 as a 25-year old. He put up excellent strikeout numbers, but displayed command issues. Regardless, Cano advanced through the Twins upper minors and made his debut last year. He got hit hard. The pattern would be some outstanding pitches followed by non-competitive waste pitches and then a grooved fastball or breaking ball. Too many walks, too many pitches out of the strike zone and too many homers. Cano was included in the trade that landed Jorge López and few (including me) thought much about him being added as a throw-in, especially since he was already 28 years old. Baltimore kept him in the majors to close out the year and he continued to be ineffective. However, in 2023, soOmething has clicked. Cano was unscored on in April, allowed no hits and no walks in 11 innings. He pitched very well in May, as well, but has appeared a bit more vulnerable as time has gone on. He's going to the All-Star game and is a great story. #1-Tyler Wells. There's been a lot of angst that Danny Coulombe and Yennier Cano have been important bullpen pieces for the Orioles this year. Less has been said about probably the O's best starter Tyler Wells. Wells was a 2016 draftee for the Twins who had advanced through their organization. During the 2020 COVID year, he didn't compete and was left unprotected in the Rule V draft. The Orioles picked him and he stuck with the club in 2021. He pitched out of the (bad) Orioles bullpen in 2021 and posted okay numbers for a guy who had only pitched 32 innings above A ball. Pitching around injuries, Wells stayed on the major league roster in 2022 and joined the rotation. in 2022. Wells was pretty good last year (7-7 4.25 ERA) and this year has been much better than that. He leads all qualified MLB pitchers in WHIP (Joe Ryan is second) and is 6-4 with a 3.19 ERA. The only thing keeping Wells from being a Cy Yound contender is that he has yielded 21 homers this year while having a pitcher-friendly home park. IMHO, this is the current one that got away for the Twins.
  2. The Minnesota Twins came into the 2023 season largely unchanged in the bullpen. In fact, the front office made no moves to create big-league depth, and they were relying heavily on Jorge Lopez regaining his All-Star form. He did in April, but May was a mess. So what’s going on? Image courtesy of Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports For the first month of the season, Jorge Lopez was getting the results he needed. Through 13 games and 12 innings, Lopez had allowed just a single unearned run. He only gave up six hits, and the former Baltimore Orioles All-Star posted a 10/1 K/BB ratio. By all surface statistics, he was every bit the guy Minnesota flipped Cade Povich and Yennier Cano for. Even with a 2.12 FIP, the underlying numbers didn’t suggest the boogeyman was coming. While Cano continued to dazzle for the Orioles in Baltimore, Lopez then imploded over the past month. Across his last 14 games, which have come out to 12 innings as well, the Twins high-leverage arm has posted a 9.00 ERA along with an even worse 11.20 FIP. His 11/9 K/BB ratio suggests he can’t get the ball by anyone, and batters have a whopping 1.236 OPS against him during that stretch. His numbers year-to-date now look borderline-ugly, and he’s back to the same pumpkin he has been since being dealt to the Twins. You have to stretch out the run of plate appearances against relatively far to find any sustained level of success. So, what happened? Without speaking in definites, and especially considering the 24-inning sample size, this is what we can glean from 2023 alone. To start the year, Lopez was throwing his fastball 43% of the time. He paired that with his curveball and slider nearly 20% each, with the changeup slotting in behind that. Contact rates were high, and whiff rates were low, but he was inducing chases over 36% of the time. Although batters were putting the ball in play, they often were doing so without much of a base resulting in an extremely impressive 15% hard-hit rate. With 33 batted ball events in those outings, he allowed zero barreled balls. Fast forward to the last 12 innings and changes have come with the pitch mix. Velocity has remained constant, but Lopez is now throwing the fastball over 50% of the time, while both the curveball and changeup have seen their opportunities slashed. He’s getting more swings and misses, but batters are spitting on pitches off the plate more often. It has allowed opposing hitters to square up swings and put balls in play with a 50% hard-hit rate and 17.5% barrel rate (7/40). Let’s key in on the fastball. Its usage has jumped the most. In looking at the quality of the offering, it appears that it’s less about the fastball itself and more about the location of the pitch. That’s not a surprising take by any means, but Lopez doesn’t benefit by throwing that pitch up in the zone. Looking at his pitch heat maps from his successful start, the ball was often down in the zone. As he’s been beaten with it, opposing batters have sat on the velocity coming at the top of the strike zone. By wOBA (weighted on-base average), we see how drastic the success rate is for opposing batters as well. When Lopez was throwing his heater down in the zone the opposition posted just a .161 wOBA. Since he’s moved it to the top third of the zone, the pitch is generating a ridiculous .672 wOBA. Lopez has actually thrown for a slightly higher average velocity this season with Minnesota than he did as an All-Star last year. He’s also throwing his fastball roughly as often. A key problem has been the location of it. For whatever reason Lopez has gone with more four-seam fastballs than sinkers this season, and he has drastically upped the slider usage. It seems the offspeed stuff still plays just fine, but pairing his fastball, and the kind in which he utilizes, at the top of the zone should be a no-fly area. With Jhoan Duran as a lockdown reliever for Minnesota, and Griffin Jax working his way back there, Rocco Baldelli desperately needs another leverage option. That was supposed to be Lopez, and until he can figure this out, the bullpen will be in a nightly struggle to piece it together. View full article
  3. For the first month of the season, Jorge Lopez was getting the results he needed. Through 13 games and 12 innings, Lopez had allowed just a single unearned run. He only gave up six hits, and the former Baltimore Orioles All-Star posted a 10/1 K/BB ratio. By all surface statistics, he was every bit the guy Minnesota flipped Cade Povich and Yennier Cano for. Even with a 2.12 FIP, the underlying numbers didn’t suggest the boogeyman was coming. While Cano continued to dazzle for the Orioles in Baltimore, Lopez then imploded over the past month. Across his last 14 games, which have come out to 12 innings as well, the Twins high-leverage arm has posted a 9.00 ERA along with an even worse 11.20 FIP. His 11/9 K/BB ratio suggests he can’t get the ball by anyone, and batters have a whopping 1.236 OPS against him during that stretch. His numbers year-to-date now look borderline-ugly, and he’s back to the same pumpkin he has been since being dealt to the Twins. You have to stretch out the run of plate appearances against relatively far to find any sustained level of success. So, what happened? Without speaking in definites, and especially considering the 24-inning sample size, this is what we can glean from 2023 alone. To start the year, Lopez was throwing his fastball 43% of the time. He paired that with his curveball and slider nearly 20% each, with the changeup slotting in behind that. Contact rates were high, and whiff rates were low, but he was inducing chases over 36% of the time. Although batters were putting the ball in play, they often were doing so without much of a base resulting in an extremely impressive 15% hard-hit rate. With 33 batted ball events in those outings, he allowed zero barreled balls. Fast forward to the last 12 innings and changes have come with the pitch mix. Velocity has remained constant, but Lopez is now throwing the fastball over 50% of the time, while both the curveball and changeup have seen their opportunities slashed. He’s getting more swings and misses, but batters are spitting on pitches off the plate more often. It has allowed opposing hitters to square up swings and put balls in play with a 50% hard-hit rate and 17.5% barrel rate (7/40). Let’s key in on the fastball. Its usage has jumped the most. In looking at the quality of the offering, it appears that it’s less about the fastball itself and more about the location of the pitch. That’s not a surprising take by any means, but Lopez doesn’t benefit by throwing that pitch up in the zone. Looking at his pitch heat maps from his successful start, the ball was often down in the zone. As he’s been beaten with it, opposing batters have sat on the velocity coming at the top of the strike zone. By wOBA (weighted on-base average), we see how drastic the success rate is for opposing batters as well. When Lopez was throwing his heater down in the zone the opposition posted just a .161 wOBA. Since he’s moved it to the top third of the zone, the pitch is generating a ridiculous .672 wOBA. Lopez has actually thrown for a slightly higher average velocity this season with Minnesota than he did as an All-Star last year. He’s also throwing his fastball roughly as often. A key problem has been the location of it. For whatever reason Lopez has gone with more four-seam fastballs than sinkers this season, and he has drastically upped the slider usage. It seems the offspeed stuff still plays just fine, but pairing his fastball, and the kind in which he utilizes, at the top of the zone should be a no-fly area. With Jhoan Duran as a lockdown reliever for Minnesota, and Griffin Jax working his way back there, Rocco Baldelli desperately needs another leverage option. That was supposed to be Lopez, and until he can figure this out, the bullpen will be in a nightly struggle to piece it together.
  4. Or, when the ecstasy of the deal wears off, what are you left with? Image courtesy of Brent Skeen-USA TODAY Sports Typically, analyzing deals less than a year after they occur is bad process. Players often make massive, gigantic strides in their game, and performance fluctuates—lagging before suddenly clicking, perhaps. But the outcomes of two of the trades are already mostly apparent, allowing us to play anthropologist and unearth what happened on August 2nd, 2022. But first: the historical context. It’s always easy to admonish trades long after the fact, but with some exceptions (hello, Pirates and Chris Archer), every trade makes sense at the time. Front office executives aren’t fools; they may be desperate to varying degrees, but the heat of the moment will always justify whatever eventual poor trade they make. And so we must travel back in time a little to where the Twins were at the trade deadline. Sitting six games above .500—comfortable, perhaps not cozy—Minnesota could easily command the AL Central crown over yet another tepid division. Things weren’t perfect, but they were good, and sometimes that’s all one can get in baseball. Still, the duel swear words “Dylan Bundy” and “Chris Archer” (there he is again!) made up 40% of the starting rotation, and Emilio Pagán was Emilio Pagán-ing, leaving the Twins hungry for upgrades to the pitching staff. Traded by the Baltimore Orioles with cash to the Minnesota Twins for Juan Nunez (minors), Cade Povich (minors), Juan Rojas (minors), and Yennier Cano. The Jorge López deal was the first to break that day. I was still sleeping when news hit Twitter—I’m on the West Coast; not lazy, mind you—so waking up to a sudden All-Star influx of closing ability was more pungent and invigorating than the first cup of coffee. The deal hurt, given that Cade Povich was a tremendous talent laying waste to minor-league hitters, but that’s the price the devil extracts when you don’t plan your bullpen well. And López would be worth it, right? This was a blatant breaking of a very serious rule the A’s have known about for decades: closers are built, not bought. High-octane relievers are alluring, but like a sports car purchased to flaunt opulence, they can break easily. López’s ERA has jumped almost two runs since his half-season of elite play in Baltimore, while Yennier Cano currently leads MLB in reliever fWAR. That’s the kind of swindle that appears in documentaries with Very Smart people wondering how the hell a team could get duped that badly. For your health, don’t look up Povich’s peripherals at AA this year. Traded by the Cincinnati Reds to the Minnesota Twins for Christian Encarnacion-Strand (minors), Steve Hajjar (minors), and Spencer Steer. The monkey’s paw curled once more before the day ended, and suddenly the common troubles of a talented and underperforming starter became Minnesota’s problem to figure out. They didn’t. Or, rather, they never got the chance to: Tyler Mahle’s Twins career lasted 42 innings (less than Gabriel Moya’s), and he will likely spend 2024 on a different team—one fine with eating a few months of Tommy John recovery in the hopes that he can be an effective pitcher in the nebulous sometime future. As tragic as this deal was as well, it had to be done, sort of. The value of a competent starter has never been higher than now; the vast dearth of arms capable of eating five, six innings with any consistency has created a market of desperation where teams are taking risks on players in the hopes that the low odds of them breaking out turn favorable. They have to; there’s no other choice. It’s why Minnesota stirred up all the hoopla over acquiring Chris Paddack; it’s why Toronto sends Yusei Kikuchi out to the mound every handful of days. The Twins were burned—obviously—but so were the Yankees when they signed Carlos Rodón and traded for Frankie Montas. And I think if you ask any team with a similar situation, they would say that they remain fine with the chance they took. Ironically, the depth Minnesota sought to avoid and protect now appears to be the answer in front of their face: Bailey Ober and Louie Varland are solid rotation fixtures. So let this be the lesson: risks are good and necessary, but the Twins may best avoid future disasters if they choose to trust themselves. They’ve proven excellent off-season identifiers of pitching talent, but their nervous in-season trade decisions have almost always bitten themselves, save for one awesome Sergio Romo addition. Hopefully, they realize this before it’s too late this season. View full article
  5. Typically, analyzing deals less than a year after they occur is bad process. Players often make massive, gigantic strides in their game, and performance fluctuates—lagging before suddenly clicking, perhaps. But the outcomes of two of the trades are already mostly apparent, allowing us to play anthropologist and unearth what happened on August 2nd, 2022. But first: the historical context. It’s always easy to admonish trades long after the fact, but with some exceptions (hello, Pirates and Chris Archer), every trade makes sense at the time. Front office executives aren’t fools; they may be desperate to varying degrees, but the heat of the moment will always justify whatever eventual poor trade they make. And so we must travel back in time a little to where the Twins were at the trade deadline. Sitting six games above .500—comfortable, perhaps not cozy—Minnesota could easily command the AL Central crown over yet another tepid division. Things weren’t perfect, but they were good, and sometimes that’s all one can get in baseball. Still, the duel swear words “Dylan Bundy” and “Chris Archer” (there he is again!) made up 40% of the starting rotation, and Emilio Pagán was Emilio Pagán-ing, leaving the Twins hungry for upgrades to the pitching staff. Traded by the Baltimore Orioles with cash to the Minnesota Twins for Juan Nunez (minors), Cade Povich (minors), Juan Rojas (minors), and Yennier Cano. The Jorge López deal was the first to break that day. I was still sleeping when news hit Twitter—I’m on the West Coast; not lazy, mind you—so waking up to a sudden All-Star influx of closing ability was more pungent and invigorating than the first cup of coffee. The deal hurt, given that Cade Povich was a tremendous talent laying waste to minor-league hitters, but that’s the price the devil extracts when you don’t plan your bullpen well. And López would be worth it, right? This was a blatant breaking of a very serious rule the A’s have known about for decades: closers are built, not bought. High-octane relievers are alluring, but like a sports car purchased to flaunt opulence, they can break easily. López’s ERA has jumped almost two runs since his half-season of elite play in Baltimore, while Yennier Cano currently leads MLB in reliever fWAR. That’s the kind of swindle that appears in documentaries with Very Smart people wondering how the hell a team could get duped that badly. For your health, don’t look up Povich’s peripherals at AA this year. Traded by the Cincinnati Reds to the Minnesota Twins for Christian Encarnacion-Strand (minors), Steve Hajjar (minors), and Spencer Steer. The monkey’s paw curled once more before the day ended, and suddenly the common troubles of a talented and underperforming starter became Minnesota’s problem to figure out. They didn’t. Or, rather, they never got the chance to: Tyler Mahle’s Twins career lasted 42 innings (less than Gabriel Moya’s), and he will likely spend 2024 on a different team—one fine with eating a few months of Tommy John recovery in the hopes that he can be an effective pitcher in the nebulous sometime future. As tragic as this deal was as well, it had to be done, sort of. The value of a competent starter has never been higher than now; the vast dearth of arms capable of eating five, six innings with any consistency has created a market of desperation where teams are taking risks on players in the hopes that the low odds of them breaking out turn favorable. They have to; there’s no other choice. It’s why Minnesota stirred up all the hoopla over acquiring Chris Paddack; it’s why Toronto sends Yusei Kikuchi out to the mound every handful of days. The Twins were burned—obviously—but so were the Yankees when they signed Carlos Rodón and traded for Frankie Montas. And I think if you ask any team with a similar situation, they would say that they remain fine with the chance they took. Ironically, the depth Minnesota sought to avoid and protect now appears to be the answer in front of their face: Bailey Ober and Louie Varland are solid rotation fixtures. So let this be the lesson: risks are good and necessary, but the Twins may best avoid future disasters if they choose to trust themselves. They’ve proven excellent off-season identifiers of pitching talent, but their nervous in-season trade decisions have almost always bitten themselves, save for one awesome Sergio Romo addition. Hopefully, they realize this before it’s too late this season.
  6. Yennier Cano, an afterthought in the trade that brought Jorge López to Minnesota, has been pitching like an All-Star in Baltimore. Why couldn’t the Twins unlock his stuff? Image courtesy of © Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports The first two months of 2023 may or may not be a fluke for Yennier Cano and Baltimore, but even if they are a fluke, he’s already produced far more than most would have expected over an entire year back when he was a Twin. He’s allowed three runs in 29 innings and carries a 0.59 WHIP. Losing guys like that is an unfortunate part of the game, and it hurts to watch your team’s castaways find success elsewhere. Look no further than other Orioles: Kyle Gibson, Tyler Wells, and Danny Coulombe, for more examples. The Twins have also been the beneficiaries of such processes playing out. Caleb Thielbar was out of baseball before getting a shot in 2020, and he’s been one of their top relievers for four years. Willi Castro, Brock Stewart, and José De León are each off to promising starts in 2023 after not securing MLB contracts this offseason. However, identifying and molding talent into MLB value isn’t an exact science. Let’s use Cano as an example and then tie in some notable other instances of this process in practice. The Yennier Cano Situation No one will, at any point, deny that Yennier Cano had stuff. However, he struggled with his control mightily, even in the minors. His stuff was good enough to succeed, even with an alarming walk rate. When he got his shot with the Twins as a 28-year-old rookie, he did not impress. He gave up 17 hits, 11 walks, and 14 runs in under 14 innings. It’s unfair to judge a pitcher off of 14 innings. Still, a performance like that put him squarely on the St. Paul shuttle with arms like Juan Minaya and Jharel Cotton—guys who would come up to eat meaningless relief innings before returning to AAA. Those shuttle guys weren’t nobodies. They all had fans within the organization who believed they were a tweak away from being a solid bullpen piece. Come the 2022 trade deadline, the Twins brought in three MLB players (Tyler Mahle, Jorge López, Michael Fulmer) and also traded for Sandy León, who was likely to make the big league team. 40-man roster cuts were coming. A handful of guys had to be waived to accommodate the newcomers. When Baltimore showed interest in one of the guys on the chopping block, it made all the sense in the world to include him in the trade. Upon arriving in Baltimore, he still wasn’t impressive, allowing nine runs in 4 1/3 innings. It seemed like a nothing burger. But then, 2023 happened. The primary reason for Cano’s newfound success has been adjusting his arm slot. With this change, the match between the release point and the movement on the pitches is immaculate, and he can better locate from that angle, too. The question that Twins fans likely ask, then, is why he never changed his arm slot with Minnesota. Surely a competent player development system could have done that, right? Player Development As stated earlier, player development isn’t an exact science. It’s pretty chaotic. In any organization, there are dozens of minor leaguers who can feasibly become MLB contributors. Even some who never reached AA at one point had the potential to play on the biggest stage. Sometimes players merely need to refine their skills on their ascent through the system. For others, it’s not so cut and dry. Most players who are talented enough to make AAA can have success in MLB. However, many of those guys don’t need more experience to reach that level; they need adjustments. For Cano, that adjustment was a change in his arm slot. Hindsight is 20-20. Now, we can sit here and say, “Obviously, he needed a change in his arm slot. Why didn’t the Twins try that?” First, they may have tried to change the arm slot but didn’t get it perfect. Second, in the moment, it’s challenging to identify what the issue is. Player development departments are faced with the nigh-on impossible task of correctly identifying each player’s mystery tweak that can vault them into being a major league contributor. Then there’s the challenge of actually implementing that tweak. There’s a good deal of guess-and-check in the process, and it can take weeks or months to determine whether each tweak is successful. Beyond that, there are finite resources in each system. There are only so many hours in a day and so many instructors or coaches at each level. Every player is equal, but some are more equal than others. As a 28-year-old minor league reliever, even with the potential everyone can see, a player like Cano won’t get as much instructional attention as teammates on prospect lists like Jordan Balazovic or Ronny Henriquez, rightly or wrongly. Not only are resources finite in terms of time but each coach or instructor only has so much expertise. Just like no one expects Luis Arraez to hit 40 home runs and maintain a .350 batting average, we can’t expect every coach to be proficient in identifying and implementing every possible tweak. Let’s look at two notorious examples of this in Twins history. Johan Santana We all know of Johan’s greatness, and most of us have heard of the tweak he made in AAA. Edmonton Trappers pitching coach Bobby Cuellar personally taught Johan the circle change that catapulted him to the top pitcher in baseball with the best changeup in baseball. In this case, the player-player development pairing worked as well as anyone could dream. However, we know that Cuellar never again had the same effect on a player. No other player was able to take this specific instruction, make the tweak, and become a legend for it. If it were simply the quality of the coach and instruction that determined the player’s success, the entire organization would have had unhittable changeups. David Ortiz We all also know of Ortiz’s greatness, and we will go to our graves filled with regret that he didn’t have that career in a Twins uniform. After signing with the Red Sox for $1,250,000 in 2003 following his release from Minnesota, he became a superstar. Surely the Twins could have kept him, and he would have been Big Papi in the Metrodome, right? It’s debatable. The version of Papi that became a Bostonian legend was not what the Twins envisioned for him. In his own words, the Twins wanted Ortiz to hit to the other field “like a little b****.” Did the Twins have someone on their staff who could work with Ortiz to hit like he preferred? It’s unlikely, as that hitting style was out of line with organizational philosophy. The hard truth is he probably would have never become all-caps DAVID ORTIZ in Twins pinstripes. Is all of this to say that the Twins should be excused for missing on Cano? Not necessarily. In a vacuum, it’s looking like an ugly miss (though there is plenty of season left for that to change). It’s incredibly frustrating to know he was one tweak from potentially being a bullpen fixture. In the grand scheme of things, though, there are players like Cano that enter and exit organizations constantly. A good organization is able to mold those guys into more Caleb Thielbars than Shaun Andersons, but it’s not an exact science. It takes skill, luck, and timing to identify the right changes and implement them, and it will never be one-size-fits-all. View full article
  7. The first two months of 2023 may or may not be a fluke for Yennier Cano and Baltimore, but even if they are a fluke, he’s already produced far more than most would have expected over an entire year back when he was a Twin. He’s allowed three runs in 29 innings and carries a 0.59 WHIP. Losing guys like that is an unfortunate part of the game, and it hurts to watch your team’s castaways find success elsewhere. Look no further than other Orioles: Kyle Gibson, Tyler Wells, and Danny Coulombe, for more examples. The Twins have also been the beneficiaries of such processes playing out. Caleb Thielbar was out of baseball before getting a shot in 2020, and he’s been one of their top relievers for four years. Willi Castro, Brock Stewart, and José De León are each off to promising starts in 2023 after not securing MLB contracts this offseason. However, identifying and molding talent into MLB value isn’t an exact science. Let’s use Cano as an example and then tie in some notable other instances of this process in practice. The Yennier Cano Situation No one will, at any point, deny that Yennier Cano had stuff. However, he struggled with his control mightily, even in the minors. His stuff was good enough to succeed, even with an alarming walk rate. When he got his shot with the Twins as a 28-year-old rookie, he did not impress. He gave up 17 hits, 11 walks, and 14 runs in under 14 innings. It’s unfair to judge a pitcher off of 14 innings. Still, a performance like that put him squarely on the St. Paul shuttle with arms like Juan Minaya and Jharel Cotton—guys who would come up to eat meaningless relief innings before returning to AAA. Those shuttle guys weren’t nobodies. They all had fans within the organization who believed they were a tweak away from being a solid bullpen piece. Come the 2022 trade deadline, the Twins brought in three MLB players (Tyler Mahle, Jorge López, Michael Fulmer) and also traded for Sandy León, who was likely to make the big league team. 40-man roster cuts were coming. A handful of guys had to be waived to accommodate the newcomers. When Baltimore showed interest in one of the guys on the chopping block, it made all the sense in the world to include him in the trade. Upon arriving in Baltimore, he still wasn’t impressive, allowing nine runs in 4 1/3 innings. It seemed like a nothing burger. But then, 2023 happened. The primary reason for Cano’s newfound success has been adjusting his arm slot. With this change, the match between the release point and the movement on the pitches is immaculate, and he can better locate from that angle, too. The question that Twins fans likely ask, then, is why he never changed his arm slot with Minnesota. Surely a competent player development system could have done that, right? Player Development As stated earlier, player development isn’t an exact science. It’s pretty chaotic. In any organization, there are dozens of minor leaguers who can feasibly become MLB contributors. Even some who never reached AA at one point had the potential to play on the biggest stage. Sometimes players merely need to refine their skills on their ascent through the system. For others, it’s not so cut and dry. Most players who are talented enough to make AAA can have success in MLB. However, many of those guys don’t need more experience to reach that level; they need adjustments. For Cano, that adjustment was a change in his arm slot. Hindsight is 20-20. Now, we can sit here and say, “Obviously, he needed a change in his arm slot. Why didn’t the Twins try that?” First, they may have tried to change the arm slot but didn’t get it perfect. Second, in the moment, it’s challenging to identify what the issue is. Player development departments are faced with the nigh-on impossible task of correctly identifying each player’s mystery tweak that can vault them into being a major league contributor. Then there’s the challenge of actually implementing that tweak. There’s a good deal of guess-and-check in the process, and it can take weeks or months to determine whether each tweak is successful. Beyond that, there are finite resources in each system. There are only so many hours in a day and so many instructors or coaches at each level. Every player is equal, but some are more equal than others. As a 28-year-old minor league reliever, even with the potential everyone can see, a player like Cano won’t get as much instructional attention as teammates on prospect lists like Jordan Balazovic or Ronny Henriquez, rightly or wrongly. Not only are resources finite in terms of time but each coach or instructor only has so much expertise. Just like no one expects Luis Arraez to hit 40 home runs and maintain a .350 batting average, we can’t expect every coach to be proficient in identifying and implementing every possible tweak. Let’s look at two notorious examples of this in Twins history. Johan Santana We all know of Johan’s greatness, and most of us have heard of the tweak he made in AAA. Edmonton Trappers pitching coach Bobby Cuellar personally taught Johan the circle change that catapulted him to the top pitcher in baseball with the best changeup in baseball. In this case, the player-player development pairing worked as well as anyone could dream. However, we know that Cuellar never again had the same effect on a player. No other player was able to take this specific instruction, make the tweak, and become a legend for it. If it were simply the quality of the coach and instruction that determined the player’s success, the entire organization would have had unhittable changeups. David Ortiz We all also know of Ortiz’s greatness, and we will go to our graves filled with regret that he didn’t have that career in a Twins uniform. After signing with the Red Sox for $1,250,000 in 2003 following his release from Minnesota, he became a superstar. Surely the Twins could have kept him, and he would have been Big Papi in the Metrodome, right? It’s debatable. The version of Papi that became a Bostonian legend was not what the Twins envisioned for him. In his own words, the Twins wanted Ortiz to hit to the other field “like a little b****.” Did the Twins have someone on their staff who could work with Ortiz to hit like he preferred? It’s unlikely, as that hitting style was out of line with organizational philosophy. The hard truth is he probably would have never become all-caps DAVID ORTIZ in Twins pinstripes. Is all of this to say that the Twins should be excused for missing on Cano? Not necessarily. In a vacuum, it’s looking like an ugly miss (though there is plenty of season left for that to change). It’s incredibly frustrating to know he was one tweak from potentially being a bullpen fixture. In the grand scheme of things, though, there are players like Cano that enter and exit organizations constantly. A good organization is able to mold those guys into more Caleb Thielbars than Shaun Andersons, but it’s not an exact science. It takes skill, luck, and timing to identify the right changes and implement them, and it will never be one-size-fits-all.
  8. When the Twins and Orioles got together last year for their deal, it took some time for the pieces to settle in, but things are looking good for all involved at this point. Derek Falvey thought Rocco Baldelli needed high-leverage bullpen help alongside Jhoan Duran and Griffin Jax. Emilio Pagan wasn’t cutting it, and Taylor Rogers was long gone. Jorge Lopez was brought in having made his first All-Star game, and he looked like one of the best closers in baseball through the first half. Needing to part with talent to acquire him (and the 2+ seasons remaining of team control), the Twins opted to send third-round draft pick Cade Povich along with interesting relief prospect, 28-year-old Yennier Cano. Povich was certainly seen as a prized arm in the Minnesota system, and he has fared well at Double-A for Baltimore thus far. Cano dominated in Double-A and Triple-A but struggled in his very brief big-league debut. He was seen, by some fans, as something of a throw-in. Fast-forward to 2023, and it’s Cano that is immediately paying dividends for a good Orioles team. Through his first 17 games, Cano has yet to allow a single run or walk while striking out 25 batters and giving up just four hits. The early-season run has been nothing short of exceptional, and his dominance is a large part of why the Orioles have been able to hang onto games late. For the Twins, the re-emergence of Lopez has helped to substantiate their position on the deal as well. After joining Minnesota last year, things fell off for Lopez. He lost his opportunity to work in the closer role after generating just four saves, and he posted a 4.37 ERA across 22 2/3 innings. The walks were up and the strikeouts were down. As a whole, it was a perfect storm of imperfect results. Coming into 2023 as a late-inning reliever that would see his teammate Duran get most of the 9th inning work, Lopez has settled in. Through 20 games and 19 2/3 innings this year, Lopez owns a 1.37 ERA and has a 17/7 K/BB. It isn’t ideal that the strikeouts aren’t where they were last year with the Orioles, but he has allowed only 11 hits during his work thus far, and keeping traffic off the base paths has allowed a much more straightforward path to success. Because Lopez toiled as a starter for so long, the Twins acquired him knowing they could use him for a good amount of time. Wanting to overhaul both the rotation and the bullpen, creating a stable of solid and competitive arms was a must. Making just over $3.5 million this season, Lopez shouldn’t get expensive in 2024 either, and he’ll remain under team control up until he’s a free agent after the 2024 season. The Twins gave away a significant amount of future value in the form of Cano and Povich. That could have been disastrous should Lopez’s brief amount of work last season been reflective of his future. Instead, the Orioles have made it work with a guy on his way out of Minnesota, and Lopez helping the team win now is something they needed more than future potential contributions from a prospect. Minnesota has built the start of their 2023 success on the back of their pitching staff, and the hope is that it would continue due to the front office building in high-quality depth in both the rotation and bullpen. Lopez has been a key part of the equation, and seeing him contribute in more than just the months immediately following his acquisition is something everyone can get behind.
  9. Last season the Minnesota Twins were looking for bullpen help at the trade deadline, and they found it by acquiring All Star Jorge Lopez from the Baltimore Orioles. Now with Yennier Cano dominating in 2023, did both organizations come out looking rosy? Image courtesy of Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports When the Twins and Orioles got together last year for their deal, it took some time for the pieces to settle in, but things are looking good for all involved at this point. Derek Falvey thought Rocco Baldelli needed high-leverage bullpen help alongside Jhoan Duran and Griffin Jax. Emilio Pagan wasn’t cutting it, and Taylor Rogers was long gone. Jorge Lopez was brought in having made his first All-Star game, and he looked like one of the best closers in baseball through the first half. Needing to part with talent to acquire him (and the 2+ seasons remaining of team control), the Twins opted to send third-round draft pick Cade Povich along with interesting relief prospect, 28-year-old Yennier Cano. Povich was certainly seen as a prized arm in the Minnesota system, and he has fared well at Double-A for Baltimore thus far. Cano dominated in Double-A and Triple-A but struggled in his very brief big-league debut. He was seen, by some fans, as something of a throw-in. Fast-forward to 2023, and it’s Cano that is immediately paying dividends for a good Orioles team. Through his first 17 games, Cano has yet to allow a single run or walk while striking out 25 batters and giving up just four hits. The early-season run has been nothing short of exceptional, and his dominance is a large part of why the Orioles have been able to hang onto games late. For the Twins, the re-emergence of Lopez has helped to substantiate their position on the deal as well. After joining Minnesota last year, things fell off for Lopez. He lost his opportunity to work in the closer role after generating just four saves, and he posted a 4.37 ERA across 22 2/3 innings. The walks were up and the strikeouts were down. As a whole, it was a perfect storm of imperfect results. Coming into 2023 as a late-inning reliever that would see his teammate Duran get most of the 9th inning work, Lopez has settled in. Through 20 games and 19 2/3 innings this year, Lopez owns a 1.37 ERA and has a 17/7 K/BB. It isn’t ideal that the strikeouts aren’t where they were last year with the Orioles, but he has allowed only 11 hits during his work thus far, and keeping traffic off the base paths has allowed a much more straightforward path to success. Because Lopez toiled as a starter for so long, the Twins acquired him knowing they could use him for a good amount of time. Wanting to overhaul both the rotation and the bullpen, creating a stable of solid and competitive arms was a must. Making just over $3.5 million this season, Lopez shouldn’t get expensive in 2024 either, and he’ll remain under team control up until he’s a free agent after the 2024 season. The Twins gave away a significant amount of future value in the form of Cano and Povich. That could have been disastrous should Lopez’s brief amount of work last season been reflective of his future. Instead, the Orioles have made it work with a guy on his way out of Minnesota, and Lopez helping the team win now is something they needed more than future potential contributions from a prospect. Minnesota has built the start of their 2023 success on the back of their pitching staff, and the hope is that it would continue due to the front office building in high-quality depth in both the rotation and bullpen. Lopez has been a key part of the equation, and seeing him contribute in more than just the months immediately following his acquisition is something everyone can get behind. View full article
  10. 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.
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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?
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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.
  21. 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
  22. 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
  23. 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.
  24. 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
  25. 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!
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