12/5/18

All 36 Twins players exposed to the 2018 Rule 5 draft, and the six most likely to be selected

The 2018 Rule 5 draft is next week at the final day of the Winter Meetings.   Here is all the Twins players exposed to it:

P Austin Adams
P Yancarlos Baez
P Jose Bermudez
P Adam Bray
P Sam Clay
P Andro Cutura
P Miguel De Jesus
P Ryan Eades
P Moises Gomez
P Preston Guilmet
P Ryne Harper
P Tyler Jay
P Randy LeBlanc
P Hector Lujan
P Jose Martinez
P Anthony Marzi
P Johan Quezada
P Williams Ramirez
P Jake Reed
P Alex Robinson
P Cody Stashak
P Zack Weiss
P Lachlan Wells
C Brian Navarreto
C Yeison Perez
C Wynston Sawyer
INF Randy Cesar
INF Lewin Diaz
INF Chris Paul
INF Alex Perez
INF Brian Schales
INF Zander Wiel
OF Jean Carlos Arias
OF Jaylin Davis
OF Tanner English
OF Jon Kemmer

As far as position players go, soon to be 26 year old Zander Wiel who can play 1B or a corner OF position and had a break through season in Chatanooga is likely the biggest liability here. 22 year old 1B/DH Lewin Diaz is the best prospect, but still is fairly raw.  24 year old OF Jaylin Davis is a possibility but is not MLB-ready yet and his ceiling is not that high.

Former high 1st round draft pick, 24 year old lefty Tyler Jay, even though has not impressed, will likely be selected by a team who remember him as a top College closer.  26 year old righty, Jake Reed has had substantial success in the minors, even though battled through injuries.  He is caught in the numbers game in the Twins organization, but someone might give him a shot.  26 year old Dominican Williams Ramirez who made the transition from a starter to a reliever might interest a team because of this potential.  He took a step back in AA last season, but he has been untouchable in 12 games (0 ER, 3 H , 6 BB, 17 K) in the Dominican Winter League this off-season.

Schizophrenia or hypocrisy? The MLB needs consistency regarding the rules of the game.

For the last several years, there have been many voices from MLB officials, pundits, and fans, regarding the "pace of the game", which, among other things,  resulted in a set of new rules on play and threads about addition of even more rules and even more discussion regarding shortening games.  The motivation has to do with data indicating that the average game these days is about 3 hours and 8 minutes, up a full 23 minutes (or 14%) than it was in 2005.

Baseball games, unlike basketball, football, and soccer, do not have timed play.  The play lasts for 9 innings, each inning being 3 outs for each team, unless there is a tie.  In that situation, teams play extra full innings, until the tie is ended.

The last few seasons, with the increased data obtained about tenancies of  hitters and probability of paths of a batted ball, a new phenomenon has appeared, that of defensive shifts.  It is actually not new; even in little league and softball, the outfield has traditionally been shifted towards the "pull" side of the hitter (that is the opposite side, right field for lefties and left field for righties), just because of the same increased probability of the ball landing there.  What has happened recently is infield shifts where teams move 3 players on one side of the infield, instead of the customary 2.

Defensive shifts have been under a lot of scrutiny by pundits, fans, players, managers, etc. because it is hard to hit against them and they result in outs.  Apparently now "support is building within the game" to eliminate shifts or change the rules around shifts to make them less ineffective.  Because the make outs.

Defensive shifts make outs.  Outs shorten games.  If indeed MLB's concern was the length of the games, shifts should be a godsend present towards that goal.   By trying to eliminate something that shortens games, the MLB is giving at least inconsistent messages. 

Are shorter games good or bad for the MLB? That is a question that the MLB needs to answer and be consistent with it, otherwise it will appear that what is "good" for the MLB is what they deem to be "good", regardless consistency. 

Maybe what they really do not like is that shifting a middle infielder who is payed $500K makes their $25 million a year superstar slugger look bad...

At some point, schizophrenia becomes hypocrisy and people in power should be held accountable.

11/20/18

The Twins should trade for this Ace who is flying under the radar

Last week, I discussed the need for the Twins to acquire starting pitching, if they intended to compete in the postseason in 2019.  My argument is that they needed two pitchers better than Berrios in order to be able to counter the top of the rotations of Boston, Houston, and Cleveland in a short series.  I suggested that they acquire the top available lefty free agent, who will slot in the second spot of the rotation, since no team was won the World Series without a lefty starter since divisional play, other than the 2004 curse busting Red Sox.

The New York Mets' starting pitching has been receiving a lot of attention, esp. Cy Young award winner Jacob DeGrom who is in his final arbitration year and phenom Noah Syndergaard who is  under team control for three more seasons.   Either of them would be an instant ace in many teams, including the Twins, but the Mets' best pitcher later last season is flying under the radar.  With yet more time removed from surgeries and injuries, 28 year old righty Zack Wheeler put the following numbers in the second half: 1.68 ERA, 2.53 FIP, 0.810 WHIP/.229 BABIP, 25.7 K%, 20.4 K-BB%, arguably bettering both his teammates.

Wheeler is in the middle of the Mets' starting pitching depth, some might even say 4th after oft-injured lefty Steven Matz, and has only one year of team control, but will be on top of the Twins' rotation in 2019, if the Twins were to trade for him.  What would it take to get Zack Wheeler from the Mets?  The Mets are on record saying that they want to be competitive in 2019 and will not be looking for prospect that are far away, but for major leaguers and close to be major leaguers in any trade.  The Twins have a great match for the Mets' needs in Jake Odorizzi, who is also 28 and in his last arbitration season, and also 28, and even though he has had mixed results against AL teams, he has been punishing NL teams (career 9-4 with a 3.21 ERA and 1.109 WHIP in 23 games against the NL; 3-1, 2.84 ERA, 1.263 WHIP in six games in 2018).   

The Mets with Cespedes likely out of the season could use another OF, and LaMonte Wade is available an knocking at the MLB door.  Wade, yet another lefty hitting and throwing OF, hit .298/.393/.444 in AA Chatanooga last season, but only .229/.337/.336 in AAA Rochester, bring with him good plate discipline, a solid glove in all 3 spots, and a deadly bat against RHPs (.281/.391/.409 in both AA and AAA in 2018).  He will be an asset in the Mets' bench and occasionally in their lineup in 2019.

Here you have it:  RHP Zack Wheeler and an empty spot on the Twins' 40-man roster for RHP Jake Odorizzi and OF LaMonte Wade.

With this proposed trade as well as the previously proposed free agent signing , the Twins rotation in 2019 will look like:

RHP Zack Wheeler
LHP Patrick Corbin
RHP Jose Berrios
RHP Kyle Gibson
RHP Michael Pineda/LHP Adalberto Mejia

On paper, this is a rotation that can match up with any team in the league, which is the goal...

11/12/18

Willians Astrudillo might be the second coming of an equally unheralded catcher that won the Twins a championship

12/13/1988:  The MLB transactions for the Minnesota Twins had one line:  The Twins signed free agent catcher Brian Harper to an one year contract worth $90,000.   The Twins were the sixth franchise for Harper who was drafted by the California Angels in the 4th round of the 1977 MLB June Amateur Draft, traded to the Pirates and then the Cardinals who released him on April Fool's 1986, and then signed and released by the Tigers and A's in single year assignments.

Harper was an intriguing guy.  He hit .353/.403/.653 as a 28 year old in AAA Portland before the Twins brought him up to finish the season with the big club, hitting .295/.344/.428 with 10 walks and 12 strikeouts in 184 plate appearances.    Harper became the Twins starting catcher in 1989 and held that post until 1993.  His tenure with the Twins included an otherworldly .381/.435/.476   slash line in 26 World Series plate appearances in 1991, the best World Series ever.

Fast forward about 30 years: November 25, 2017: The Twins sign 26 year old Willians Astrudillo as a minor league free agent.  After a stint in AAA, like Harper, Astrudillo made it to the bigs, where there were a lot of accolades, regarding his low walking and strikeout percentage, and about his lack of being a "three outcome guy".   Astudillo's line last season ended up being .355/.371/.516 with a 2.1 BB% and a 3.1 K%.  In 1991 Brian Harper ended the season with a 3.0 BB % and a  4.7 K%.  Both were about his career average for the Twins.

After 1993 strike Harper moved on and ended up his career with a .295/.329/.419 major league line with a 3.9 BB% and a 5.6 K%.  Both Harper and Astudillo have had questions about their defensive ability, and like Astudillo Harper had to play other positions (OF, 1B and 3B) before he was established.

Harper was an integral part of the Twins 1991 team.  Might be the time to let Astudillo be the "Harp" for these Twins...

11/8/18

The Twins' need for left hand starting pitching, J.A. Happ's doppelgänger, and the guy who they should really target

One of the areas that the Twins must improve this off-season is starting pitching.  In order to be able to dream about being competitive in the post-season they need to have 3 top pitchers that at least on paper are a match for the top 3 of the Indians, the Astros, and the Red Sox.  This will mean that they need at least two starters better than Jose Berrios, at least on paper.

Given the fact that no team other than the 2004 Red Sox has won a World Series in the wild card era (that's since 1995) without a lefty starter, one of the two pitchers the Twins should target, better be a lefty.

There have been indications that the Twins are interested in 36 year old free agent LHP J.A. Happ.  Will he fit the bill for one of the two Twins' SP openings?

Here is what J.A. Happ did the last 2 seasons:

323 IP, 9.3 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 1.25 WHIP/.286 BABIP, 3.59 ERA, 3.88 FIP, 6.0 fWAR

His line is eerily similar to the aforementioned Berrios's, who is 11.5 years his junior:

336-2/3 IP, 9.1 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 1.07 WHIP/.278 BABIP, 3.88 ERA, 3.89 FIP, 6.1 fWAR 

Will Happ be better than Berrios in 2019 (and beyond, since he will likely require a multi-season contract?)  Based on the fact that Berrios is moving towards his peak and Happ away, the likelihood of surpassing or even matching Berrios's performance in 2019 is small.

Unless the Twins are willing to make small steps and not hit the 2019 opening day with a team that looks like a post-season contender, the Twins should pass on Happ.  On the other hand, if they are planning on making gradual improvements to get them closer to Cleveland and make themselves post-season competitive at the deadline, Happ could be part of the plan.

Personally, since the division is weak, and Cleveland is getting weaker, I think that the Twins should go all out in the off-season adding 2 better starting pitchers.   My lefty target would be 29 year old free agent Patrick Corbin who had the following line in the last 2 seasons:

387 IP, 9.8 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 0.95 WHIP/.315 BABIP, 3.60 ERA, 3.25 FIP, 9.3 fWAR

There is no comparison with the Berrios/Happ lines.  As a matter of fact that 9.3 fWAR was second in the majors, trailing only Chris Sale, as far as lefty starters go that past 2 seasons.  It will likely take a contract the size the Twins rumored to have offered Yu Darvish last off-season to sign Corbin, and, since this off-season have much more money to go around than last, it should a no brainer and a must happen.

Patrick Corbin would fit nicely in the number 2 spot in the Twins' rotation in 2019?  Who should be the ace  I will write about it in a later piece, but as a hind, he is a righty who is not even considered among the top two pitchers in his team, and the Twins would have to trade for him...

10/7/18

The original report of Sano's accident.

Here is the original report of Sano's accident in the Dominican, along with a translation:

Accidentes de tránsito
| 07 OCT 2018, 1:14 PM
|
FRANKLIN CORDERO
Miguel Sanó involucrado en accidente en que salió herido un policía



SAN PEDRO DE MACORÍS. El pelotero Miguel Sanó se vio envuelto en un accidente de tránsito, en el que resultó herido un agente de la policía la madrugada de este domingo.

Sanó fue detenido, pero ya fue puesto en libertad por solicitud de sus abogados con la promesa que este lunes se presentará de nuevo en la Dirección Regional Sureste de la Policía con asiento en San Pedro a las nueve de la mañana.

Según fuentes policiales, el deportista y sus abogados expresaron su disposición de hacer un arreglo y costear los gastos médicos y de recuperación, ya que el raso Ángel Guillandeax Gil fue herido en unas de sus piernas, mientras estaba de servicio y se encuentra ingresado en el hospital del Seguro Social Oliver de esta provincia.

-----------

Traffic accidents
| 07 OCT 2018, 1:14 PM
|
FRANKLIN CORDERO
Miguel Sano involved in an accident in which a policeman was Wounded

SAN PEDRO DE Macoris . The baseball player Miguel Sano  was involved in a traffic accident, where a police officer was injured early this sunday.

Sano was arrested, but he was released at the request of his lawyers with the promise that this Monday will be presented again at the Southeast Regional Police office with seat in San Pedro at nine in the Morning.

According to police sources, the athlete and his lawyers expressed their willingness to make an arrangement and pay for medical and recovery expenses, as Angel Guillandeax Gil was injured in one of his legs, while on duty and is admitted At the Oliver Social Security hospital in this province.

-----------------

Despite the usual Sano haters in the Twin Cities media (and the wannabe media) who for a second season in a row want to pronounce him guilty before proven so,  it was a "traffic accident" and Sano was with his wife when it happened.   I would suggest a bit of decrease in the hype, before the courts make their judgement.



9/5/18

The Twins have 8 Arizona Fall League players this season

The Twins have named the following 8 players to the Arizona Fall League:

IF Travis Blackenhorn
OF Jaylin Davis
RHP Hector Lujan
RHP Griffin Jax
1B/OF Luke Raley 
LHP Alex Robinson
1B/LF Brent Rooker
LHP Devin Smeltzer

8/27/18

Twins Major and Minor League Activity and Transactions: 8/21-8/27 (25 Transactions)

Here is the latest activity from the Twins and their affiliates:
  • 3B Victor Tademo assigned to A Cedar Rapids Kernels from Rookie GCL Twins.(8/26)
  • Single A Cedar Rapids Kernels placed 3B Andrew Bechtold on the 7-day disabled list retroactive to August 25, 2018.(8/26)
  • RHP Prelander Berroa assigned to Advanced Rookie Elizabethton Twins from Rookie GCL Twins. (8/26)
  • RHP Edwar Colina assigned to high A Fort Myers Miracle from A Cedar Rapids Kernels.(8/25)
  • RHP Carlos Suniaga assigned to A Cedar Rapids Kernels from Advanced Rookie Elizabethton Twins.(8/25)
  • LHP Zach Neff assigned to A Cedar Rapids Kernels from Advanced Rookie Elizabethton Twins.(8/25)
  • A Cedar Rapids Kernels placed RHP Jordan Balazovic on the 7-day disabled list retroactive to August 24, 2018.(8/25)
  • RHP Erik Cha assigned to Advanced Rookie Elizabethton Twins from Rookie GCL Twins. (8/25)
  •  RHP Dylan Stowell assigned to Advanced Rookie Elizabethton Twins from Rookie GCL Twins.(8/25)
  • The Twins placed C Bobby Wilson on the 10-day disabled list. Right ankle sprain. (8/24)
  • The Twins recalled C Willians Astudillo from AAA Rochester Red Wings. (8/24)
  • IF Alex Perez assigned to AAA Rochester Red Wings from AA Chattanooga Lookouts. (8/24)
  • SS Joe Cronin assigned to AA Chattanooga Lookouts from high A Fort Myers Miracle.(8/24)
  • High A Fort Myers Miracle placed LHP Bryan Sammons on the 7-day disabled list.(8/24)
  • High A Fort Myers Miracle placed LHP Alex Robinson on the 7-day disabled list with a left shoulder impingement.(8/24) 
  • LHP Andrew Vasquez assigned to AAA Rochester Red Wings from AA Chattanooga Lookouts. (8/23)
  • AA Chattanooga Lookouts activated LHP Casey Crosby from the 7-day disabled list. (8/23)
  • Advanced Rookie Elizabethton Twins activated LHP Matt Jones from the 7-day disabled list. (8/23)
  • The Twins released AAA IF Taylor Motter (8/22)
  • The Twins signed free agent RHP Austin Adams to a minor league contract. (8/21)
  • RHP Austin Adams assigned to Chattanooga Lookouts (8/21)
  • The Twins sent RHP Michael Pineda on a rehab assignment to AAA Rochester Red Wings. (8/21)
  • OF Zander Wiel assigned to AAA Rochester Red Wings from AA Chattanooga Lookouts.(8/21)
  • 1B Andy Wilkins assigned to AA Chattanooga Lookouts from AAA Rochester Red Wings. (8/21)
  • RHP Clark Beeker assigned to AA Chattanooga Lookouts from high A Fort Myers Miracle. (8/21)

8/22/18

The Twins have signed a new former top prospect pitcher

The Twins have signed RHP Austin Adams, lately of Sugar Land Skeeters of the Independent Atlantic league.  The 32 year old Adams was in the Cleveland organization from his draft days (5th round, 2009) until 2016, making it as high as number 4 in the fangraphs Indian's prospect list for 2012.  Unfortunately he blew his shoulder that season and required surgery.  He returned with a high 90s fastball, a move to the pen from the rotation and a bad relationship with command. 

I suspect that Derek Falvey's knowledge of Adams might make him something more than AA depth, which is his current assignment.  

8/20/18

Twins Major and Minor League Activity and Transactions: 8/20

Here is the latest activity and transaction of the Minnesota Twins, including that of their Minor League affiliates:

  • The Twins optioned RHP Tyler Duffey to Rochester Red Wings. (8/20)
  • The Twins recalled LHP Stephen Gonsalves from Rochester Red Wings. (8/20)
  • The Twins optioned RF Johnny Field to Rochester Red Wings. (8/19)
  • The Twins recalled RHP Alan Busenitz from Rochester Red Wings.(8/19)
  • The Twins activated RF Robbie Grossman from the 10-day disabled list.(8/19)
  • The Twins placed RHP Ervin Santana on the 10-day disabled list(8/19) 
  • RHP Johan Quezada assigned to single A Cedar Rapids Kernels from Advanced Rookie Elizabethton Twins. (8/18)
  • Single A Cedar Rapids Kernels placed RHP Calvin Faucher on the 7-day disabled list. (8/17)
  • Twins sent RF Robbie Grossman on a rehab assignment to AAA Rochester Red Wings. (8/16)
  • Twins sent A+ LF Shane Carrier on a rehab assignment to Rookie GCL Twins. (8/16)
  • LHP Lewis Thorpe assigned to AAA Rochester Red Wings from AA Chattanooga Lookouts (8/15) 
  • AAA Rochester Red Wings placed RF Edgar Corcino on the 7-day disabled list. Right hand fracture. (/8/15)
  • AAA Rochester Red Wings activated CF Byron Buxton from the 7-day disabled list (8/14)
  • Single A Cedar Rapids Kernels activated C David Banuelos from the 7-day disabled list (8/14)

8/18/18

Keeping an eye on the minor leaguers the Twins received in the recent trades

In addition to Logan Forsythe (Dozier) and Tyler Austin (Lynn), the Minnesota Twins received several minor leaguers  in the recent trades.  Here is how well they have been doing so far.

Pitchers:

Chase De Long, 24, RHP, AAA, 3 G, 15 IP, 8 BB, 14 K, 8 ER, 4.80 ERA, 1.467 WHIP, 8.4 K/9, 1.8 K/BB (Duke)
Devin Smeltzer, 22, LHP, AA, 4 G, 4-1/3 IP, 2 BB, 5 K, 3 ER, 6.23 ERA, 1.846 WHIO, 10.4 K/9, 2.5 K/BB (Dozier)
Jorge Alcala, 23, RHP, AA, 2 G, 6-2/3 IP, 4 BB, 7 K, 5 ER, 6.75 ERA, 1.350 WHIP, 9.5 K/9, 1.8 K/BB (Pressly)
Jhoan Duran, 20, RHP, A, 3 G, 18-1/3 IP, 4 BB, 22 K, 7 ER, 3.44 ERA, 0.764 WHIP, 10.8 K/9, 5.5 K/BB (Escobar)
Dakota Chalmers 21, RHP, A, DL  (Rodney)
Luis Rijo, 19, RHP, Adv Rookie, 2 G, 10.1 IP, 3 BB, 6 K, 0 ER, 0.00 ERA, 5.2 K/9, 2 K/BB (Lynn)

Hitters:

Luke Raley, 23, OF/1B, AA, .292/.414/.521, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 8 BB, 14 K, 58 PA (Dozier)
Ryan Costello, 22, IF, A+, .280/.379/.420, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 8 BB, 12 K, 58 PA (Duke)
Ernie De La Trinidad, 22, OF, A+, .354/.439/.438, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 8 BB, 8 K, 60 PA (Escobar)
Gabriel Maciel, 19, OF, A, .279/.343/.443, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 4 BB, 10 K, 67 PA (Escobar)
Gilberto Celestino, 19, OF, Adv Rookie, .290/.333/.355,  7 SB, 3 BB, 8 K, 66 PA (Pressly)  

Very small sample size but some impressive performances so far.  Some of the group might have an effect on the 2019 Twins.  Will revisit once the minor league season is over.

8/13/18

Twins Major and Minor League Activity and Transactions: 8/13

Here is the latest activity and transaction of the Minnesota Twins, including that of their Minor League affiliates:
  • The Twins promoted RHP Kohl Stewart from AAA Rochester Red Wings. (8/12)
  • 1B/DH Logan Morrison was placed on the 10-day DL and will undergo a season ending hip surgery (8/11)
  • LHP Anthony Marzi assigned to Chattanooga Lookouts from Fort Myers Miracle.(8/11)
  • RHP Ryan Eades assigned to Rochester Red Wings from Chattanooga Lookouts. (8/11)
  • LHP Kevin Marnon assigned to Fort Myers Miracle from Cedar Rapids Kernels. (8/11)
  • The Twins sent RHP Michael Pineda on a rehab assignment to Fort Myers Miracle (8/11)
  • The Twins placed LHP Adalberto Mejia on the 10-day disabled list. Left wrist strain. (8/10)
  • The Twins recalled RHP Tyler Duffey from Rochester Red Wings.(8/10)
  • The Twins recalled 1B Tyler Austin from Rochester Red Wings.(8/10)
  • AAA Rochester Red Wings activated LF LaMonte Wade from the 7-day disabled list. (8/10)
  • AAA Rochester Red Wings activated RHP D.J. Baxendale from the 7-day disabled list. (8/10)
  • The Twins traded RHP Fernando Rodney to Oakland Athletics for RHP Dakota Chalmers (8/9)
  • LHP J.T. Perez assigned to Advanced Rookie Elizabethton Twins from Rookie GCL Twins. (8/8)
  •  The Twins placed RHP Matt Belisle on the 10-day disabled list with right knee chondromalacia. (8/7)
  • The Twins activated RHP Matt Magill from the paternity list. (8/7)
  • The Twins have released RHP Todd Van Steensel (8/7)
  • AA Chattanooga Lookouts sent LHP Casey Crosby on a rehab assignment to Rookie GCL Twins. (8/7)
  • LF Jean Carlos Arias assigned to Advanced Rookie Elizabethton Twins from A Cedar Rapids Kernels. (8/7)
  • The Twins placed RF Robbie Grossman on the 10-day disabled list. Right hamstring strain. (8/6)
  • The Twins recalled RF Johnny Field from AAA Rochester Red Wings.(8/6)
  • The Twins sent RHP Michael Pineda on a rehab assignment to Rookie GCL Twins.(8/6)
  • 2B Jose Miranda assigned to A+ Fort Myers Miracle from A Cedar Rapids Kernels. (8/6)
  • The Twins released SS Brandon Lopez (8/6)
  • LHP Anthony Marzi assigned to A+ Fort Myers Miracle from AA Chattanooga Lookouts. (8/6)
  • 2B Michael Helman assigned to A Cedar Rapids Kernels from Advanced Rookie Elizabethton Twins. (8/6)
  • A+ Fort Myers Miracle placed RHP Tom Hackimer on the 7-day disabled list retroactive to July 31, 2018. Right shoulder strain (8/2)

8/10/18

Dakota Chalmers is a lottery ticket for the Twins

The Minnesota Twins have traded closer Fernando Rodney to the Oakland Athletics for 21 year old RHP Dakota Chalmers.  Chalmers who underwent Tommy John surgery early this Spring and will miss the rest of the season was assigned to single A Cedar Rapids Kernals.

Looking at this numbers and progression in his professional career, it would appear that the 97th overall pick in the 2015 draft, who signed way over slot to prevent going to college, has been regressing on an annual basis; this is also reflected in his BA position in the Athletics' prospect list, falling from 10th in 2015, to 16th in 2016 and 2017, and 30th in 2018.  Chalmers pitched only 121-1/3 innings, mostly as a starter in 4 seasons from Rookie ball to short season A to single A with a 4.08 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP, hardly the numbers of a potential top of the rotation pitcher. 

However, Chalmers has that potential if one looks at his raw stuff:  Three above average pitches.  A Fastball that sits in the mid 90s and occasionally hits 97-98, a hammer curve with late break, and a change up that flashes plus, and is his best pitch.  The problem is that his delivery is horrible inconsistent resulting in lack of command and control of his pitches.  His career 1.48 WHIP in 121-1/3 innings, is driven by the 91 walks he allowed.  He held his opponents to a .198 batting average, allowing fewer hits than walks, and struck out 137 (10.2 K/9).

Last season he took a leave of absence from baseball for personal reasons in May, after just 10 games.  There is hope that whatever he was dealing with is done now and he can focus 100% on baseball.  That fact, his Tommy John surgery and his mechanical issues pose major questions about Chalmers's likelihood of success in the majors.  However, a potential fix in his mechanics, supplemented with dedication in his craft might turn him to the next Jose Berrios instead of the next Shooter Hunt.

I believe that the Twins traded someone that they did not need (a 41-year old closer) and who was about to leave for nothing as a free agent this off-season, for a lottery ticket.  Time only will show how charming the return from Chalmers will be for the Twins, but it looks good from this point of view.

8/9/18

1000 words: There has to be something wrong with Twins' reliever Addison Reed



This much drop in velocity usually indicates an elbow or shoulder issue, and will explain his ineffectiveness this season.

8/8/18

Twins Trade Activity and Rumors: 8/8

The non-waiver deadline passed .  Since waiver trades can also happen in August I will add to this on a as-needed basis, when news appear.   Hypothetical trades and "good fits" are not in the list, only reports of actual interest by a particular team for a particular player.

Rumors:

1B Joe Mauer and Logan Morrison have cleared waivers according to Mike Berardino (8/6)

John Morosi thinks that  Kyle Gibson might be a target of Brewers, in addition to infielders (7/25) and Ken Rosenthal indicates that the Twins have had talks with several teams about him but the price is high (7/27)

The Yankees spoke to the Twins about Ervin Santana and other pitchers, per Jon Heyman (7/26)


Activity: 



 The Twins placed RHP Matt Belisle on the 10-day disabled list with right knee chondromalacia. (8/7)

The Twins activated RHP Matt Magill from the paternity list. (8/7)

The Twins have released RHP Todd Van Steensel (8/7)

The Twins placed RF Robbie Grossman on the 10-day disabled list. Right hamstring strain. (8/6)

The Twins recalled RF Johnny Field from AAA Rochester Red Wings.(8/6)

The Twins sent RHP Michael Pineda on a rehab assignment to Rookie GCL Twins.(8/6)

The Twins placed RHP Matt Magill on the paternity list. (8/4)

The Twins sent RHP Aaron Slegers on a rehab assignment to AAA Rochester (8/4)

The Twins have acquired off waivers: RHP Oliver Drake from the Blue Jays and OF Johnny Field from the Rays.  They optioned Field to AAA Rochester (8/3)

8/6/18

Twins Trade Activity and Rumors: 8/6

The non-waiver deadline passed .  Since waiver trades can also happen in August I will add to this on a as-needed basis, when news appear.   Hypothetical trades and "good fits" are not in the list, only reports of actual interest by a particular team for a particular player.

Rumors:


John Morosi thinks that  Kyle Gibson might be a target of Brewers, in addition to infielders (7/25) and Ken Rosenthal indicates that the Twins have had talks with several teams about him but the price is high (7/27)

The Yankees spoke to the Twins about Ervin Santana and other pitchers, per Jon Heyman (7/26)


Activity: 

The Twins placed RF Robbie Grossman on the 10-day disabled list. Right hamstring strain. (8/6)

The Twins recalled RF Johnny Field from AAA Rochester Red Wings.(8/6)

The Twins sent RHP Michael Pineda on a rehab assignment to Rookie GCL Twins.(8/6)


The Twins placed RHP Matt Magill on the paternity list. (8/4)

The Twins sent RHP Aaron Slegers on a rehab assignment to AAA Rochester (8/4)

The Twins have acquired off waivers: RHP Oliver Drake from the Blue Jays and OF Johnny Field from the Rays.  They optioned Field to AAA Rochester (8/3)

The Twins have traded 2B Brian Dozier to the Dodgers for IF Logan Forsythe, LHP Devin Smeltzer, and OF Luke Raley. (7/31)

The Twins have recalled RHP Trevor May from AAA Rochester (7/31)

The Twins activated RHP Addison Reed from the 10 day DL. (7/30)

The Twins traded RHP Lance Lynn to the Yankees for 1B  Tyler Austin and RHP Louis Rijo (7/30)


The Twins traded LHP Zack Duke to the Mariners for RHP Chase De Jong and 1B/3B Ryan Costello.  (7/30)


The Twins have traded RHP Ryan Pressly to the Astros for RHP Jorge Alcala and CF Gilberto Celestino  (7/27)

The Twins have traded IF Eduardo Escobar to the Diamondbacks for RHP Jhoan Duran and OFs Ernie De La Trinidad and Gabriel Maciel (7/27)

The Twins have recalled 3B Miguel Sano from AAA Rochester (7/27)

The Twins have recalled LHP Gabriel Moya from AAA Rochester (7/28)

UT Taylor Motter has cleared waivers and will be reporting to AAA Rochester (7/27)


7/31/18

Twins Trade Activity and Rumors: 7/31

The non-waiver deadline passed a few hours ago.  I am listing the activities of the Minnesota Twins during that time. Since waiver trades can also happen in August I will add to this on a as-needed basis, when news appear.   Hypothetical trades and "good fits" are not in the list, only reports of actual interest by a particular team for a particular player.

Rumors:


John Morosi thinks that  Kyle Gibson might be a target of Brewers, in addition to infielders (7/25) and Ken Rosenthal indicates that the Twins have had talks with several teams about him but the price is high (7/27)

The Yankees spoke to the Twins about Ervin Santana and other pitchers, per Jon Heyman (7/26)



Activity:

The Twins have traded 2B Brian Dozier to the Dodgers for IF Logan Forsythe, LHP Devin Smeltzer, and OF Luke Raley. (7/31)

The Twins have recalled RHP Trevor May from AAA Rochester (7/31)

The Twins activated RHP Addison Reed from the 10 day DL. (7/30)

The Twins traded RHP Lance Lynn to the Yankees for 1B  Tyler Austin and RHP Louis Rijo (7/30)


The Twins traded LHP Zack Duke to the Mariners for RHP Chase De Jong and 1B/3B Ryan Costello.  (7/30)


The Twins have traded RHP Ryan Pressly to the Astros for RHP Jorge Alcala and CF Gilberto Celestino  (7/27)

The Twins have traded IF Eduardo Escobar to the Diamondbacks for RHP Jhoan Duran and OFs Ernie De La Trinidad and Gabriel Maciel (7/27)

The Twins have recalled 3B Miguel Sano from AAA Rochester (7/27)

The Twins have recalled LHP Gabriel Moya from AAA Rochester (7/28)

UT Taylor Motter has cleared waivers and will be reporting to AAA Rochester (7/27)


7/30/18

Twins Trade Activity and Rumors: 7/30

Since we are getting close to the deadline, I am keeping track with the various Twins trade rumors and activity to date.  I will add to this on a daily basis, when news appear.   Hypothetical trades and "good fits" are not in the list, only reports of actual interest by a particular team for a particular player.  Another thing not listed will be negations by Twins' officials that they are not shopping anyone.

Rumors:

The Twins are talking to other teams about upcoming free agents Brian Dozier, Lance Lynn, and Zach Duke, per major league sources. (7/29)

Add the Indians and Giants to the list of the teams interested in Brian Dozier, says Mike Berardino (7/28) . The Brewers are also interested in Dozier per Ken Rosenthal.  and "multiple reports" (7/19).

John Morosi thinks that  Kyle Gibson might be a target of Brewers, in addition to infielders (7/25) and Ken Rosenthal indicates that the Twins have had talks with several teams about him but the price is high (7/27)

The Yankees spoke to the Twins about Ervin Santana and other pitchers, per Jon Heyman (7/26)

The Red Sox, Phillies, and Braves have been scouting the Twins' series at Royals, presumably for players in both teams (7/20)

Activity:

The Twins traded LHP Zack Duke to the Mariners for RHP Chase De Jong and 1B/3B Ryan Costello.  (7/30)


The Twins have traded RHP Ryan Pressly to the Astros for RHP Jorge Alcala and CF Gilberto Celestino  (7/27)

The Twins have traded IF Eduardo Escobar to the Diamondbacks for RHP Jhoan Duran and OFs Ernie De La Trinidad and Gabriel Maciel (7/27)

The Twins have recalled 3B Miguel Sano from AAA Rochester (7/27)

The Twins have recalled LHP Gabriel Moya from AAA Rochester (7/28)

UT Taylor Motter has cleared waivers and will be reporting to AAA Rochester (7/27)


7/28/18

Twins Trade Activity and Rumors: 7/28

Since we are getting close to the deadline, I am keeping track with the various Twins trade rumors and activity to date.  I will add to this on a daily basis, when news appear.   Hypothetical trades and "good fits" are not in the list, only reports of actual interest by a particular team for a particular player.  Another thing not listed will be negations by Twins' officials that they are not shopping anyone.

Rumors:


Add the Indians and Giants to the list of the teams interested in Brian Dozier, says Mike Berardino (7/28) . The Brewers are also interested in Dozier per Ken Rosenthal.  and "multiple reports" (7/19).

John Morosi thinks that  Kyle Gibson might be a target of Brewers, in addition to infielders (7/25) and Ken Rosenthal indicates that the Twins have had talks with several teams about him but the price is high (7/27)

The Yankees spoke to the Twins about Ervin Santana and other pitchers, per Jon Heyman (7/26)

The Red Sox, Phillies, and Braves have been scouting the Twins' series at Royals, presumably for players in both teams (7/20)

Activity:

The Twins have traded RHP Ryan Pressly to the Astros for RHP Jorge Alcala and CF Gilberto Celestino  (7/27)

The Twins have traded IF Eduardo Escobar to the Diamondbacks for RHP Jhoan Duran and OFs Ernie De La Trinidad and Gabriel Maciel (7/27)

The Twins have recalled 3B Miguel Sano from AAA Rochester (7/27)

The Twins have recalled LHP Gabriel Moya from AAA Rochester (7/28)

UT Taylor Motter has cleared waivers and will be reporting to AAA Rochester (7/27)

The Twins activated RHP Ervin Santana from the 60-day DL and designated UT Taylor Motter for assignment (7/24)

The Twins optioned RHP Allan Busenitz to AAA Rochester, and recalled LHP Adalberto Mejia (7/22)

7/27/18

Twins Trade Activity and Rumors: 7/27

Since we are getting close to the deadline, I am keeping track with the various Twins trade rumors and activity to date.  I will add to this on a daily basis, when news appear.   Hypothetical trades and "good fits" are not in the list, only reports of actual interest by a particular team for a particular player.  Another thing not listed will be negations by Twins' officials that they are not shopping anyone.

Rumors:

Ken Rosenthal indicates that every contender has expressed interest for Ryan Pressly (7/27)

The Yankees spoke to the Twins about Ervin Santana and other pitchers, per Jon Heyman (7/26)

John Morosi thinks that  Kyle Gibson might be a target of Brewers, in addition to infielders (7/25)

According to Jon Heyman, the Phillies are interested in Eduardo Escobar (7/25)

The Brewers are interested in Brian Dozier per Ken Rosenthal.  and "multiple reports" (7/19).  Also per Ken Rosenthal, a team, likely the Brewers made an offer for both Dozier and Eduardo Escobar (7/22)

The Red Sox, Phillies, and Braves have been scouting the Twins' series at Royals, presumably for players in both teams (7/20)

Activity:

The Twins activated RHP Ervin Santana from the 60-day DL and designated UT Taylor Motter for assignment (7/24)

The Twins optioned RHP Allan Busenitz to AAA Rochester, and recalled LHP Adalberto Mejia (7/22)

Twins LHP Lewis Thorpe has signed with the Brisbane Bandits of the Australian Baseball League for this off-season (7/22)

The Twins have activated Logan Morrison and optioned Willians Astrudillo to AAA Rochester (7/21)

The Twins have acquired OF Jeremy Hazelbaker from the Rays for cash and assigned him to AAA Rochester. (7/19)

Not a trade, but Twins' relievers Ryan Pressly and Trevor Hildenberger were engaged over the All-Star break  (7/19)

7/25/18

Twins Trade Activity and Rumors: 7/25

Since we are getting close to the deadline, I am keeping track with the various Twins trade rumors and activity to date.  I will add to this on a daily basis, when news appear.   Hypothetical trades and "good fits" are not in the list, only reports of actual interest by a particular team for a particular player.  Another thing not listed will be negations by Twins' officials that they are not shopping anyone.

Rumors:

According to Jon Heyman, the Phillies are interested in Eduardo Escobar (7/25)

Per Jeff Passan, teams are planning on scouting Ervin Santana's upcoming first start of the season (7/23)

The Brewers are interested in Brian Dozier per Ken Rosenthal.  and "multiple reports" (7/19).  Also per Ken Rosenthal, a team, likely the Brewers made an offer for both Dozier and Eduardo Escobar (7/22)

The Red Sox, Phillies, and Braves have been scouting the Twins' series at Royals, presumably for players in both teams (7/20)

Activity:

The Twins activated RHP Ervin Santana from the 60-day DL and designated UT Taylor Motter for assignment (7/24)

The Twins optioned RHP Allan Busenitz to AAA Rochester, and recalled LHP Adalberto Mejia (7/22)

Twins LHP Lewis Thorpe has signed with the Brisbane Bandits of the Australian Baseball League for this off-season (7/22)

The Twins have activated Logan Morrison and optioned Willians Astrudillo to AAA Rochester (7/21)

The Twins have acquired OF Jeremy Hazelbaker from the Rays for cash and assigned him to AAA Rochester. (7/19)

Not a trade, but Twins' relievers Ryan Pressly and Trevor Hildenberger were engaged over the All-Star break  (7/19)

7/23/18

Twins Trade Activity and Rumors: 7/23

Since we are getting close to the deadline, I am keeping track with the various Twins trade rumors and activity to date.  I will add to this on a daily basis, when news appear.   Hypothetical trades and "good fits" are not in the list, only reports of actual interest by a particular team for a particular player.  Another thing not listed will be negations by Twins' officials that they are not shopping anyone.

Rumors:

Per Jeff Passan, teams are planning on scouting Ervin Santana's upcoming first start of the season (7/23)

The Brewers are interested in Brian Dozier per Ken Rosenthal.  and "multiple reports" (7/19).  Also per Ken Rosenthal, a team, likely the Brewers made an offer for both Dozier and Eduardo Escobar (7/22)

The Red Sox, Phillies, and Braves have been scouting the Twins' series at Royals, presumably for players in both teams (7/20)

Activity:

The Twins optioned RHP Allan Busenitz to AAA Rochester, and recalled LHP Adalberto Mejia (7/22)

Twins LHP Lewis Thorpe has signed with the Brisbane Bandits of the Australian Baseball League for this off-season (7/22)

The Twins have announced that Ervin Santana will start the coming Wednesday.  A spot on both the 40-man and 25-man is needed. (7/22)

The Twins have activated Logan Morrison and optioned Willians Astrudillo to AAA Rochester (7/21)

The Twins have acquired OF Jeremy Hazelbaker from the Rays for cash and assigned him to AAA Rochester. (7/19)

Not a trade, but Twins' relievers Ryan Pressly and Trevor Hildenberger were engaged over the All-Star break  (7/19)

7/22/18

Twins Trade Activity and Rumors: 7/22

Since we are getting close to the deadline, I am keeping track with the various Twins trade rumors and activity to date.  I will add to this on a daily basis, when news appear.   Hypothetical trades and "good fits" are not in the list, only reports of actual interest by a particular team for a particular player.  Another thing not listed will be negations by Twins' officials that they are not shopping anyone.

Rumors:

The Red Sox, Phillies, and Braves have been scouting the Twins' series at Royals, presumably for players in both teams (7/20)

The Brewers are interested in Brian Dozier per Ken Rosenthal.  and "multiple reports" (7/19)

Activity:

The Twins optioned RHP Allan Busenitz to AAA Rochester, and recalled LHP Adalberto Mejia (7/22)

Twins LHP Lewis Thorpe has signed with the Brisbane Bandits of the Australian Baseball League for this off-season (7/22)

The Twins have announced that Ervin Santana will start the coming Wednesday.  A spot on both the 40-man and 25-man is needed. (7/22)

The Twins have activated Logan Morrison and optioned Willians Astrudillo to AAA Rochester (7/21)

The Twins have acquired OF Jeremy Hazelbaker from the Rays for cash and assigned him to AAA Rochester. (7/19)

Not a trade, but Twins' relievers Ryan Pressly and Trevor Hildenberger were engaged over the All-Star break  (7/19)

7/21/18

Twins Trade Activity and Rumors: 7/21

Since we are getting close to the deadline, I am keeping track with the various Twins trade rumors and activity to date.  I will add to this on a daily basis, when news appear.   Hypothetical trades and "good fits" are not in the list, only reports of actual interest by a particular team for a particular player.  Another thing not listed will be negations by Twins' officials that they are not shopping anyone.

Rumors:

The Red Sox, Phillies, and Braves have been scouting the Twins' series at Royals, presumably for players in both teams (7/20)

The Brewers are interested in Brian Dozier per Ken Rosenthal.  and "multiple reports" (7/19)



Activity:

The Twins have acquired OF Jeremy Hazelbaker from the Rays for cash and assigned him to AAA Rochester. (7/19)

Not a trade, but Twins' relievers Ryan Pressly and Trevor Hildenberger were engaged over the All-Star break  (7/19)

7/16/18

2018 Twins mid-season preliminary prospect list

Now that the 2018 draft signing deadline has passed and a substantial amount of international free agents signed for the Twins, it is time to update my 2018 mid-season prospect list.  As usual my  mid-season lists are preliminary, unlike the off-season lists, and they have minimal commentary and analysis.  Also, unlike other lists, players who made it to the majors have graduated from mine,  also players older than 25 are not included.     As a reminder, here is my off-season 2018 list:

The off-season top 60 list (2017 off-season in parenthesis) and ETA included.

1. Royce Lewis (--), SS/OF, 2020
2. Wander Javier (1), SS, 2020
3. Brusdar Graterol (13), RHP, 2020
4. Brent Rooker (--), 1B/LF, 2018
5. Fernardo Romero (4), RHP, 2018  - graduated
6. Rainis Silva (32), C, 2020 - traded
7. Blayne Enlow (--), RHP, 2020
8. Zack Littell  (--), RHP, 2018 - graduated
9. Stephen Gonsalves (6), LHP, 2018
10. Lewin Diaz (3), 1B, 2020
11. Akil Baddoo (24), OF, 2020
12. Tyler Jay (2), LHP, 2018
13. Alex Kirilloff (8) OF, 2020
14. Luis Arraez (11), IF, 2019
15. Michael Montero (--), RHP, 2021
16. Nick Gordon (5), IF, 2018
17. Tyler Wells (54), RHP, 2020
18. Jose Miranda (--), IF, 2021
19. Jean Carlos Arias (36), CF, 2020
20. Jovani Moran (--), LHP, 2020
21. Lewis Thorpe (30), LHP, 2019
22. LaMonte Wade (22), OF, 2018
23 Yunior Severino (--), IF, 2022
24. Chris Paul (--), UT, 2019
25. Landon Leach (--), RHP, 2021
26. Andrew Bechtold (--), 3B, 2020
27. Travis Blankenhorn (15), 3B/1B/OF, 2020
28. Charlie Barnes (--), LHP, 2020
29. Tyler Watson (--), RHP, 2020
30. David Banuelos (--), C, 2020
31. Ben Rortvedt (16), C, 2021
32. Kohl Stewart (17), RHP, 2018
33. Alberoni Nunez (--), OF, 2021
34. Derek Molina (--), RHP, 2021
35. Bryan Sammons (--) LHP, 2020
36. Bailey Ober (--), RHP, 2020
37. Pedro Garcia (45), RHP, 2021
38. Lachlan Wells (29), LHP, 2020
39. Wander Valdez, (--) 3B, 2021
40. Aaron Whitefield (59), OF, 2020
41. Ricky De La Torre (--) SS, 2021
42. Jake Reed (25) RHP, 2018
43. Jacob Pearson (--), OF, 2022
44. Yeltsin Encarnacion (--) IF, 2022
45. Ryley Widell (--) LHP, 2022
46. Andrew Vasquez (52), LHP, 2019
47. Tom Hackimer (--), RHP, 2019
48. Kerby Camacho (--), C, 2021 - released
49. Hector Lujan (--), RHP, 2020
50. Colton Burns (--), OF, 2021
51. Cody Stashak -(55), RHP, 2019
52. Jaylin Davis, (39), OF 2019
53. Alex Robles, (--), OF, 2022
54. Ruben Santana, (--), IF, 2022
55. Carlos Suniaga, (--), RHP, 2022
56. Sandy Lugo, (--), RHP, 2020
57. Nelson Molina, (47), IF, 2020
58. Ben Rodriguez (--), C/1B, 2022
59. Carson Crites (--), 2B, 2022 - released
60. Jesus Toledo (--), LHP, 2022

Here is my mid-season 2018 list (2018 off-season ranking in parenthesis, followed by ETA) :

1. Brusdar Graterol (3), RHP, 2019
2. Royce Lewis (1), SS/OF, 2020

Same age, played at the same level.  Could have gone either way.  Graterol has ace stuff and his performance at the same team as a pitcher was a bit more impressive than Lewis's as a hitter thus this switch.  17 errors at SS in half a season for Lewis, also a concern. Might not remain the same this off-season.  These two are very close.

3. Wander Javier (2), SS, 2020

Taking a mulligan for surgery in non-throwing, non-hitting shoulder.  Still a true 5 tool player.

4. Brent Rooker (4), 1B/LF, 2018

Heir apparent to Joe Mauer, even as early as this September

5. Trevor Larnach (--), OF, 2020
6. Alex Kirilloff (13) OF, 2020

 Huge jump because he delivered with the stick - fielding still an issue.  Larnach similar player, but better defensively and more of a pure hitter, thus the ranking

7. Luis Arraez (14), IF, 2019

 Could be the heir apparent to Brian Dozier starting in 2019.  Purest hitter in the organization, glove will play fine in the least challenging position in the diamond.

8. Misael Urbina (--) OF, 2023

True five tool talent, he can fly through these rankings if he responds as a pro.  Still 16.

9. Nick Gordon (16), IF, 2018

 Ranking before his injury.  Second half disappearances every season signal endurance/conditioning concern. 150 lb frame does not help

10. DaShawn Keirsey (--) OF, 2022

5 tool player looks a lot like Joe Benson from here.

11. Tyler Wells (17), RHP, 2020

 The most consistent Twins' pitcher for the last two seasons; surprised he has not gained much momentum.

12. Blayne Enlow (7), RHP, 2021
13. Yunior Severino (23), IF, 2022
14. Akil Baddoo (11), OF, 2020
15. Ryan Jeffers (--), C, 2020

If he stays at catcher can be a tremendous asset for the Twins.  60+ power and 50+ contact already.

16. Michael Montero (15), RHP, 2021
17. Stephen Gonsalves (9), LHP, 2018

Disappointing season, esp. since his weakness (quality and command and control of the fastball) became even worse this season.  Still helium in the national lists; sell high candidate.

18. LaMonte Wade (22), OF, 2018
19. Tyler Jay (12), LHP, 2018
20. Jovani Moran (20), LHP, 2019
21. Lewin Diaz (10), 1B, 2020
22. Travis Blankenhorn (27), 3B/1B/OF, 2020

 Tremendous start, not so hot when the temps rose...

23. Lewis Thorpe (21), LHP, 2019

 Might need another season to shake the spider webs.  Pre-injury FB was at 95-97 at close to 70; now down to 92-93 and about 50-55

24. Yeltsin Encarnacion (44) IF, 2022
25. Victor Herredia (--) C/1B, 2023
26. Charlie Barnes (28), LHP, 2020
27. Andrew Vasquez (46), LHP, 2019
28. Jean Carlos Arias (19), CF, 2020
29. Zander Wiel (--), 1B/OF, 2018

Should receive consideration for minor league player of the year honors for the Twins

30. Jimmy Kerrigan (--), OF, 2018
31. Jeferson Morales (--), C, 2023
32. Taylor Grzelakowski (--) C, 2020
33. Jim Caceres (--) SS, 2023
34. Ben Rortvedt (31), C, 2021

Still not much of progress as a hitter, small for a catcher, arm exposed at Fort Myers.

35. Cole Sands (--), RHP, 2021
36. Jordan Balazovic (--), RHP, 2021
37. Landon Leach (25), RHP, 2021
38. Bryan Sammons (35) LHP, 2020
39. Ricky De La Torre (41) SS, 2021
40. Ruben Santana, (54), IF, 2022
41. Charles Mack (--) SS, 2023
42. Andrew Bechtold (26), 3B, 2021

Along with David Banuelos and Jose Miranda, the biggest drops as far as position players go

43. Wander Valdez, (39) 3B, 2021
44. Nomar Urdanetta (--) SS, 2023
45. David Banuelos (30), C, 2021
46. Jacob Pearson (43), OF, 2022
47. Jose Miranda (18), IF, 2021
48. Cody Stashak (51), RHP, 2019
49. Josh Winder (--), RHP, 2021
50. Jake Reed (42) RHP, 2018
51. Alberoni Nunez (33), OF, 2021
52. Pedro Garcia (37), RHP, 2021
53. Mark Contreras (--), OF, 2020
54. Jaylin Davis, (52), OF 2019
55. Lachlan Wells (38), LHP, 2020
56. Carlos Suniaga, (55), RHP, 2022
57. Chris Williams (--) 1B, 2021
58. Griffin Jax (--) RHP, 2020

First time he has been included in my lists; full time pro now with no Air Force responsibilities.  Still lots of work to do.

59. Bailey Ober (36), RHP, 2020
60. Trevor Casanova (--) C, 2021
 - - -

Dropped:

Chris Paul (24), UT, 2019
Tyler Watson (29), RHP, 2020
Kohl Stewart (32), RHP, 2018
Derek Molina (34), RHP, 2021
Aaron Whitefield (40), OF, 2020
Ryley Widell (45) LHP, 2022
Tom Hackimer (47), RHP, 2019
Hector Lujan (49), RHP, 2020
Colton Burns (50), OF, 2021
Alex Robles, (53), OF, 2022
Sandy Lugo, (56), RHP, 2020
Nelson Molina, (57), IF, 2020
Ben Rodriguez (58), C/1B, 2022
Jesus Toledo (60), LHP, 2022


6/22/18

The Twins sign five more 2018 draftees. Here is the updated list of 24.

The Twins have signed 5 more players they drafted in 2018 for a total of 24.  The signing deadline is July 6, so expect more picks to sign.  Also, Chris Williams has officially been listed as a first baseman.

Here is the updated list with the new names in italics:

C Ryan Jeffers (2)
OF DaShawn Keirsey (4)
RHP Josh Winder (7)
1B Chris Williams (8)
OF Joe Garry (9)
RHP Regi Grace (10)
RHP Jon Olsen (12)
C Trevor Casanova (13)
LHP Kody Funderburk (15)
LHP Erik Cha (17)
RHP Andrew Cabezas (18)
RHP Austin Schulfer (19)
RHP Seth Pinkerton (20)
1B Gabe Snyder (21)
RHP Jacob Blank (22)
C Albee Weiss (23)
RHP Brian Rapp (26)
IF Hunter Lee (27)
C Austin Hale (28)
LHP J.T. Perez (29)
LHP Denny Bentley (33)
RHP Dylan Stowell (34)
RHP Tanner Howell (35)
OF Tyler Webb (40)

6/18/18

List of the nineteen 2018 darft picks who have signed with the Twins

Here is the list of the 2018 draft picks who have signed with the Minnesota Twins so far.  The College season is not done yet, and the draft signing deadline is July 6 so expect several more picks, esp. from the top 10 to sign.

The following 19 picks have already signed (draft round in parenthesis.)

C Ryan Jeffers (2)
OF DaShawn Keirsey (4)
C Chris Williams (8)
OF Joe Garry (9)
RHP Regi Grace (10)
C Trevor Casanova (13)
LHP Kody Funderburk (15)
RHP Andrew Cabezas (18)
RHP Austin Schulfer (19)
RHP Seth Pinkerton (20)
1B Gabe Snyder (21)
RHP Jacob Blank (22)
C Albee Weiss (23)
RHP Brian Rapp (26)
IF Hunter Lee (27)
LHP J.T. Perez (29)
LHP Denny Bentley (33)
RHP Tanner Howell (35)
OF Tyler Webb (40)

5/17/18

Assessing all the Twins options at catcher (27 names), now that Jason Castro is out for the season.

Twins' starting catcher Jason Castro is out for the season with surgery to repair his meniscus.  Here are the options that the Twins have in catcher to continue the season:

A. Stay put.  Utilize RHH Mitch Garver (.254/.309/.413) as the starter with RHH  Bobby Wilson (.133/.167/.400) filling in.  Potientially replace Wilson with one of the AAA catchers, RHH Willians Astudillo (.260/.284/.416) and also RHH Wynston Sawyer (.231/.385/.385)

B. Go after established or back up major leaguers and use one of them as the starter with Garver moving to back-up, or split time with Garver.  Options:

Starting catchers:

Marlins' starting C, RHH J.T. Realmuto (.316/.375/.558)
Reds' starting C, SHH, Tucker Barnhart (.274/.370/.444)
Rays' starting C, RHH Wilson Ramos (.289/.333/.430)
Yankees' backup C, RHH Austin Romine (.289/.372/.368)
Giants' backup C, RHH Nick Hundley (.288/.329/.530)

Splitting time with or backing up Garver:

Red Sox' utility bat, SHH Black Swihart (.138/.219/.172)
Blue Jay's backup C, RHH Luke Maile (.324/.403/.500)
Tigers' backup C, RHH John Hicks (.293/.337/.512)   
Angels' backup C, RHH Rene Rivera (.259/.322/.481)
Rangers' backup C, LHH Juan Centeno (.162/.184/.270)
Padres' backup C, LHH Rafael Lopez (.214/.333/.429)

C. Go after minor leaguers to backup Mitch Garver. Options:

Red Sox' AAA C, RHH Mike Ohlman (.259/.359/.537)
Blue Jays' AAA C, RHH Danny Jansen (.301/.400/.462)
Rays' AAA C, RHH, Curt Casali (.323/.375/.538)
Astros' AAA C, RHH, Tim Federowicz (.394/.456/.662)
Angels' AAA C, RHH, Juan Graterol (.361/.385/.426)
Mariners' AAA C, LHH, Chris Herrmann (.255/.435/.394)
Marlins' AAA C, RHH, Austin Nola (.302/.383/.453)
Pirates' AAA C, RHH, Ryan Lavarnway (.235/.350/.412)
Cubs' AAA C, RHH, Chris Gimenez (.229/.319/.271)
Dodgers' AAA C, RHH, Rocky Gale (.326/.344/.517)
DFA'd by the Nats C, LHH Miguel Montero (216/.310/.346 in 2017 with Cubs and Jays)
Sugar Land Skeeters, C, RHH Derrek Norris (.222/.344/.278; .201/.258/.380 in 2017 with the Rays)

A few notes: 

First of all I did not include budding young stars in the minors, because teams will have zero incentive to let them go.  The only one I included is Jay's 23 year old Danny Jansen who is behind his AAA battery mate Reese McGuire in the Toronto depth.  And even Jansen is a long shot.   Also competitive teams will not let go of their starting catchers or even some of their backups if there is no clear replacement in AAA, so very few of those were included.  It is just not realistic.

Looking at the list, it is amazing how many former Twins they are, and also how few lefties or switch hitters.

Realmuto or Barnhart would be the obvious choices on paper, unless one realizes that there is zero incentive for the Marins or the Reds to part with them and they will be too expensive.  Ramos, Romine, and Hundley, are likely the other best choices, but should the Twins part with a top 5 prospect for Ramos or a top 10 for the other two?  I am not sure.

I strongly believe that the Twins should allow Garver to show what he can do as the primary catcher, as well as replace Bobby Wilson, with someone who will give them more opportunities to win, and preferably is left handed.  Three names jump to me from this list: 30 year old journey man  Rafael Lopez, currently with the Padres, 30 year old former Twin Chris Herrmann, currently with the Mariners' AAA squad.  Both of these players can jump in and be definite improvements for the Twins; however there is another player who is the best fit for the Twins right now:  Long time Diamondback, and twice All Star, Miguel Montero who was just designated for assignment by the Nationals.  He hit 216/.310/.346 in 2017 with Cubs and Jays. With the Cubs he hit a very respectable .286/.366/.439 in 44 games before falling apart with the Jays .138/.248/.241 after his trade in 32 games.  He will be able to mentor both Garver and the Twins' pitching staff, might hit a bit, and the price is right.


5/14/18

Back to the future: Twins RHP Kyle Gibson has returned to his roots and quietly has become the pitcher we hoped he would be.

In a cold May evening about 5 years go, give or take a week, I witnessed one of the most dominating pitching performances I have seen in person: Twins' first round draft pick in 2009, righty Kyle Gibson, about a year removed from his return from Tommy John surgery, shut  down the Lehigh Valley IronPigs with a three-hitter, carrying a no-hitter into the eighth inning.  This was when  the Twins were on their way to another season flirting with 100 losses and were conflicting reports regarding Gibson's pitching, so I really wanted to see  what Gibson could do. In person.  Here is how I described his performance 5 years ago:

I was very lucky to be there because this was a magnificent pitching performance by Gibson.  I came in with an open mind and nothing to expect and I left a strong believer in that Gibson is the best starting pitcher the Twins have today.  A bit about his performance, and I am not going to get into things like numbers, which you can read elsewhere:  He had four pitches that he threw when he wanted with a great command.  His fastball was his primary pitch and was sitting from 92-94 all night long.  It spiked to 95 a few times and went to 91 a couple.  It was at 94 in the 9th inning as well.  in the first 5 innings he mostly threw his fastball and his slider, which ran from 84 to 86 and really kept the IronPigs' hitters off balance, causing a lot of swings and misses.  Have to mention that Gibson had impeccable command of the fastball: he would locate it up and down and inside and out.  And throw it at the dirt when he wanted to.  In the latest innings he started throwing more his change up that was running from 81-83 mph with a good late motion; also he featured a tight slow curve (78-80 mph) that I did not realize he had.  He threw that pitch a few times late in the game.  He was totally on top of his game today.  In addition to what he did on the field, a thing that really impressed me was his composure in the dugout, knowing that he was having a no-hitter:  he was sitting there cheering his teammates and clapping when they were batting, instead of being "in his own world" and apathetic about the game.  This was a dominating performance that, I think that won him his first trip to the majors.   Frankly, I thought that I will witness history and it was that close...

After the game ended, Gibson was interviewed in the dugout after the game, and when that was done,  I yelled something like "Great game!  See you in Minnesota soon, Kyle!"  towards him, and he smiled and dismissed the Minnesota part with a hand gesture.  My answer was a "We'll see!".

LENIII penned this about that game the next day:

Class AAA Rochester righthander Kyle Gibson had his best outing of the year on Sunday, taking a no hitter into the eighth inning before finishing with a three-hit complete game shutout as the Red Wings beat Lehigh Valley 11-0. Gibson needed just 93 pitches for his gem – 58 were strikes, 35 were balls. He walked two and struck out eight as his record Improved to 3-5 with a 3.25 ERA

In retrospect nobody noticed the fact that Gibby threw only 62% of his pitches for strikes or noted that it might have been something undesirable, because you cannot argue with the results.

Fast forward a bit over a month.  June 29th.  I was happened to be in the East suburbs of St. Paul that week for work.  A friend of mine who is a season ticket holder treated me to one of his tickets at the Delta sky360 club, so I got to witness, Gibson's first major league start.  In that game, he beat the Royals (who were actually starting Wade Davis) in a six inning, 8 hit, 5 strikeout, 2 run performance.  He threw 91 pitches and 64 for strikes (70%).

The next several years have been up and down for Gibson, until his 3 game demotion to Rochester last season.  He came back and pitched 11 games, of which the Twins won 9,  striking out 8.4 per 9 innings, and walking about 2.1 per nine, while throwing only 63% of his pitches for strikes.  And nobody thought that this was a bad thing.  In 8 games that season, of which the Twins have won 5, he has been striking out 10.1 per nine, walking 4.4 per nine, and throwing 59% of his pitches for strikes (which only some Twins' TV broadcasters think its a bad thing, based on the comments in his Angel's start.)

What happened to that Kyle Gibson of five years ago in my back yard, and what happened for him to slowly appear to be back?

My hypothesis is that Kyle Gibson got Ricked and Neiled out of shape, being forced to be a pitcher he is not.  Both Rick Anderson and Neil Allen, his previous pitching coaches have been stressing "pounding the strike zone" and inducing soft contact either with the sinker or the changeup.  And this approach had been a top to bottom approach in the organization, in the previous Twins' front office.  Change happened and it is a good thing.  The new pitching approach throughout the organization is try to get ahead of the count and then let them chance, either outside, or inside or high.

And this has been working for Kyle Gibson who went back to his roots.  In Saturday's game against the Angels, he even brought back his rarely thrown and ever rarer for strikes curveball when he faces certain batters the second time. That description up there of his performance with Rochester, against Lehigh Valley five years ago, would be pretty close to what he did against the Angels, save a hit or few...  Gibson has been pitching to his strengths and it took an organizational overhaul to allow him (and the rest of the Twins' pitchers) to do that.  Other than Fernando Romero who pitched only two games and will be the Twins' future ace, Gibson leads the Twins' starters in ERA, FIP, K% and K/9, fWAR, and is second only to Berrios in innings pitched per start.

It seems that Gibson is finally the pitcher we all thought that he will be five years ago.  Better late than never, and I hope that it is here to stay.

And a parting food for thought about those who might be bothered by the strike percentage and Gibson's walks:  This season Gibson's K/9 and BB/9 numbers are up there.  The pitcher who struck out the most batters in baseball, has a career 9.5 K/9 and 4.7 BB/9, both worse than Gibson's numbers this season.  Not that Gibson is close to Nolan Ryan; however strikeout pitchers walk hitters as well, and hitters strike out often on balls and hit strikes.  It is ok.  Results are what matters.

5/2/18

How are former Twins' players performing in Korea

Here is how former Minnesota Twins players have been performing so far in the KBO:


Pat Dean LHP, Kia Tigers 3.65 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 37 IP, 27 K, 9 BB
Jason Wheeler  LHP, Hanwha Eagles 5.97 ERA, 1.71 WHIP, 31-2/3 IP,  24 K, 12 BB
Byung-ho Park 1B, Nexen Heroes .288 /.468 /.508, 79 PA, 4 HR, 17 BB, 16 K

Mixed bag of results

4/17/18

Who is hot in the Twins' minors: 4/17/2018

Minimum 15 PA and 10 IP, sorted by level of play and performance within.  These are cumulative year to date numbers.  (Age, handedness, and level of play) indicated.

Catchers:

Sawyer Wynston (26, RHB, AA) .214/.389/.429, 1 HR, 18 PA
Ben Rortvedt (20, LHB, A) .400/.429/.550, 21 PA

Infielders:

Gregorio Petit (33, RHB, AAA) .400/.423/.520, 25 PA
Ryan Walker (26, LHB, AA) .269/.321/.538 2 HR, 28 PA   
Nick Gordon (22, LHB, AA) .361/.395/.500, 2 SB, 38 PA
Travis Blackenhorn (21, LHB, A+) .278/.333/.556, 1 HR, 39 PA
Andrew Bechtold (22, RHB, A) .364/.440/.409 1 HR, 25 PA
Royce Lewis (19, RHB, A) .261/.370/.435, 1 HR, 27 PA

Outfielders:

Jimmy Kerrigan (24, RHB, A+) .389/.463/.639 2 HR, 41 PA
Mark Contreras (23, LHB, A) .444/.474/.556, 20 PA
Alex Kirilloff (20, LHB, A) .257/.381/.571, 3 HR, 31 PA

First basemen and DHs:

Zander Weil (25, RHB, AA) .419/.486/.516, 35 PA
Ben Rodriguez (23, RHB, A) .294/.294/.647, 1 HR, 17 PA 

Starting Pitchers:

Aaron Slegers (25, RHP, AAA) 0.75 ERA, 0.750 WHIP, 4.5 K/9, 0.8 BB/9, 12 IP
Kohl Stewart (23, RHP, AA) 3.48 ERA, 0.677 WHIP, 12.2 K/9, 0.9 BB/9, 10.1 IP

Relief Pitchers:

No relievers pitched the minimum 10 innings yet.