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.

4/12/18

By the Numbers: The 2018 Doppelgänger Minnesota Twins 25-man Roster

A doppelgänger (/ˈdɒpəlˌɡɛŋər/ or /-ˌɡæŋər/; German: [ˈdɔpl̩ˌɡɛŋɐ], literally "double-goer") is a look-alike or double of a living person, sometimes portrayed as a ghostly or paranormal phenomenon and usually seen as a harbinger of bad luck. Other traditions and stories equate a doppelgänger with an evil twin. In modern times, the term twin stranger is occasionally used.[1][2] The word "doppelgänger" is often used in a more general and neutral sense to describe any person who physically or behaviorally resembles another person. (Wikipedia)

Who are the Twins' players' doppelgänger's? 

Using the age-based player Similarity Scores (a Bill James invention) at Baseball Reference with an additional positional restriction for the position players, which means that the doppelgänger has to be a player who played that position in the majors.  He might not be the most similar batter overall, but he will be the most similar batter in the position for that age.   A few players do not have statistically significant similarities so they are represented by themselves on the list.  Interesting list with a few former Twins.  Wonder how many wins this team would have had on paper.

Here is the 2018 Minnesota Twins Doppelgänger 25-man Roster:

C: Steve Yeager (Jason Castro)
1B: Michael Young (Joe Mauer)
2B: Dan Uggla (Brian Dozier)
SS: Vance Law (Eduardo Escobar)
3B: Harmon Killebrew (Miguel Sano)
LF: George Bell (Eddie Rosario)
CF: Larry Hisle (Byron Buxton)
RF: Dave Henderson (Max Kepler)
DH: John Milner (Logan Morrison)
OF: Carl Warwick (Robbie Grossman)
UT: Ehire Adrianza (Ehire Adrianza)
C: Mitch Garver (Mitch Garver)
OF: Ryan LaMarre (Ryan LaMarre)

SP: Jeremy Hellickson (Jake Odorizzi)
SP: Al Nipper (Kyle Gibson)
SP: Scott Bankhead (José Berríos)
SP: Jake Arrieta (Lance Lynn)
RP: Todd Jones (Fernando Rodney)
RP: Chris Perez (Addison Reed)
RP: Mitchell Boggs (Ryan Pressly)
RP: Kent Mercker (Zach Duke)
RP: Mike Venafro (Taylor Rogers)
RP: Gabriel Moya (Gabriel Moya)
RP: Tyler Kinley (Tyler Kinley)
RP: Trevor Hildenberger (Trevor Hildenberger)

4/10/18

By the Numbers: The single move the Twins need to make right now to fix their bullpen.

It is a very young season, but the Twins' bullpen, albeit new, did not look as improved as it should for a team that aspires to contend in the post-season before the season started, and it has started to look so on the field so far.   The Twins' pen ranks 18th in the MLB in ERA, 22nd in the MLB in FIP, and 23rd in K-BB%.

Using three modern measurements, it is fairly clear who are the players who are lagging in the pen.  Here are the Twins' relievers' rankings by:

Win Probability Added (WPA) that is probably the single best overall measurement of reliever performance:

Addison Reed 0.30
Taylor Rogers 0.19
Gabriel Moya 0.02
Tyler Kinley 0.00

Ryan Pressly -0.03
Fernando Rodney -0.04
Trevor Hildenberger -0.07
Zach Duke -0.11

A couple more measurements that refine WPA:

RE24 or Situational Run Expectancy.  For more information look here, but in one sentence (from that link,) pitchers with positive numbers are preventing more runs than average given the situations in which they have been placed.

Taylor Rogers 2.69
Addison Reed 2.61
Ryan Pressly 1.48
Fernando Rodney 1.00

Tyler Kinley -0.45
Gabriel Moya -0.67
Zach Duke -1.25
Trevor Hildenberger -2.34

and Fangraphs Clutch. which is (WPA / pLI) – WPA/LI (where LI is a particular player's leverage index and pLI his average leverage index) which measures how much better or worse a player does in high leverage situations than he would have done in a context neutral environment.

Fernando Rodney 0.10
Gabriel Moya 0.10
Zach Duke 0.03
Adisson Reed 0.01
Taylor Rogers 0.01

Tyler Kinley -0.05
Trevor Hildenberger -0.16
Ryan Pressly -0.17

What do the data show?  Clearly there is a single pitcher who lags the rest in all categories, Trevor Hildenberger.  One can argue that Zach Duke does so as well, which is a correct statement; however he does not in high leverage situations, as shown in the Clutch measure.  The Twins should start using him more in high leverage situations.  On the other hand, Hildenberger really has ho business being with the Twins right now and since he has an option, he should be the one demoted for a fifth starter, when the Twins need one, or even before they need one.

Who should that fifth starter be?  Fernando Romero.  About time the Twins get the guy with the highest potential, who has proven that he is ready in Spring Training, playing in games that matter.  In the bigs.

Optioning Hildenberger and recalling Romero will go long ways to fixing the Twins' pen (and rotation) as well...


4/4/18

Twins Notes: 4/4/2018

Here is the latest installment of Twins Notes:

  • The Twins are coming into their home opener on top of the AL Central (albeit tied with the pesky White Sox) and a game and a half ahead of Cleveland, which is a nice place to be.
  • RHP Lance Lynn started his last tune up game at Fort Myers with the Rochester squad against the Red Sox' AAA team five days ago and gave 5 runs in the first inning.  He repeated the feat with the Twins at the Pirates' home opener on Monday.   Lynn indicated that he was a bit behind in his preparation due to late signing.
  • Despite the efforts for a comeback, which are great to see, the Twins fell short, like at the Baltimore Opener by one run losing 4-5.  Again, great to see the Twins not going belly up for the second time this season, but good teams win some of the close games.  The Twins are 0-2 under these circumstances this season.
  • C Mitch Garver who was hit on the head with Manny Machado's bat, thankfully seems ok and will not need to go to the concussion DL.
  • On Tuesday the Twins beat the last undefeated team in the majors, the Pirates, in a snowstorm, mainly due to Miguel Sano's,  bat, base running and defense.  He went 3 for 5, blew threw a stop sign to score the tying run and made some serious defensive plays, including the last play of the game.   The final score was 7-3.
  • This was an ultra cold game and neither of the two starters could get comfortable; so other than Sano, no names need to be named.  Or maybe two:  Logan Morrison got his first hit of the season, and I thin that he does not deserve the Lo Mo moniker.  It is more like Slo Mo.  And if Molitor has not brought Rule 5 pick Tyler Kinley yet in the blow outs, I am not sure when he will do so.  Competing teams cannot afford to hold players they will not play.
  • Sam Miller at ESPN writes that Brian Dozier "whining about a bunt is all about trying to gain an edge"
  • The Twins have traded their number 6 prospect, C Rainis Silva to the Mariners for cash considerations.   Not a move I am a fan of...
  • The Twins unveiled a whole bunch of new foods at Target Field.
  • The MLB pipeline published their list of the biggest breakthrough prospect candidates from the AL Central organizations, and the Twins' is their number 45th ranked prospect LHP Ryley Widdell.
  • The Fort Myers Miracle published their 2018 roster.
  •  Dave Paschall at the Chattanooga Times Free Press writes that Twins number 1 prospect, Royce Lewis, may be coming to the Lookouts in 2019.
  • The USA today did a ranking of all MLB mascots.  The Twins' TC Bear did not fare very well.
  • JJ Cooper has an article at Baseball America indicating that Independent Leagues may be in verge of extinction, based on whether the US Congress passed the Save America’s Pastime Act.  Kris Dugan has more on the subject at the Observer-Reporter.
  • The parting shot tonight is of the snow yesterday at Pittsburgh: 

 


You can find all the installments of the 2018 Twins Notes series here.  As always feedback is more than welcome.

4/2/18

Twins Notes: 4/2/2018

Here is the latest installment of Twins Notes:
  • In order for the Twins to compete, they need to win series, and they did that at Baltimore, winning 2-1.  They are second in the AL Central, trailing the White Sox (the only undefeated team in the AL) by half a game.  They are one game ahead of their main competition for the division, Cleveland, which lost their series at the Mariners 1-2.
  • RHP Kyle Gibson pitched like a first round draft pick against Baltimore on Saturday.  He mixed his fastball that he threw up to 94 mph, with a pretty nasty mid 80s changeup and a high 70s slurvy breaking ball to keep the Baltimore hitters off balance and induce strikeouts.  He struck out 6 Orioles in 6 no-hit innings; he walked 5. 
  • RHP Ryan Pressly and LHP Gabriel Moya were serviceable behind him to preserve the win.
  • The long ball helped in that game with Miguel Sano, Jason Castro, and Max Kepler hitting one each.
  • If Gibson pitched like a top of the rotation pitcher on Saturday, RHP Jose Berrios pitched like a true ace on Sunday, completing a shutout allowing only 3 hits and one walk and striking out 6.  All of the sudden, the Twins rotation seems like a strength of the club.  But it is a long season.
  • On Sunday, the Twins hit another whole bunch of home runs:  a couple by Brian Dozier including one in the first pitch of that game, and one each by Sano, and Eduardo Escobar.   Only 1B/DH Logan Morrison who played in all 3 games and C Mitch Garver who appeared only in the Sunday game are hitless, as far as position players go.  Morrison walked twice.
  • The Twins' players were unhappy that on top of the 9th and with Berrios having an one-hitter going, Orioles' catcher Chase Sisco bunted for a hit beating the shift.  Well, if you shift, you better not be unhappy if someone bunts, because you caused it.  If the Twins thought that it were a blow out game, they had no business shifting...
  • The Twins' minor league Spring Training ended last Saturday.  RHP Phil Hughes threw 50 pitches for the AAA Twins' squad in the final day and could pitch again next Thursday in the Fort Myers Miracle opener, with the idea that he will be available to pitch next April 11th when the Twins need a fifth starter.
  • RHP Ervin Santana started playing catch.
  • Twenty nine percent of the players on the MLB Open Day rosters are foreign-born. The Twins are tied for fourth in the MLB with 11 players or 44% of their roster.
  • The Twins, along with the Athletics, Brewers, Marlins, Rays, and Reds, will have the highest 2018-2019 international free agent bonus pool with $6,025,400 allowance. 
  • Mike Berardino has a great piece on the impact of new Twins' pitching analyst Josh Kalk, at the Saint Paul Pioneer Press.
  • Phil Miller has an article in Baseball America regarding last winter's creativity by the Twins' Front Office with their international pool money.
  • If you are planning on driving to a game at Target Field, you might want to check this new Twins' partner, as far as finding and paying for parking goes.
  • John Sickels published his AL Central sleeper prospects list.
  • The Twins' A league affiliate Cedar Rapids Kernels' roster is full of talent.
  • Former Twins' prospect  AJ Pettersen's brother, Luke, is one of the top hitters of the University of Minnesota.  Also a middle infield, he might be drafted by the Twins, like his older brother.
  • If you were ever wondering what were MLB's Qualifications for an MLB Scout, you need to wonder no more.
  • Is the ball "juiced"?  A record thirty three home runs were hit on Opening Day.
  • The parting video today is the highlight video of the Twins' game at Orioles last Saturday:


You can find all the installments of the 2018 Twins Notes series here.  As always feedback is more than welcome.

3/29/18

Twins Notes: 3/29/2018

It is Opening Day today and based on feedback, I have decided to continue the note posts I started this Spring (you can find them all here), during the season as well.  The last time I seriously attempted something like that was 5 years ago, with the once weekly and unfortunately named Random Tuesday Twins Thoughts and Tidbits (you can find all the posts of that series here).  These notes will be at irregular intervals, since I would like them to be somewhat substantial in content; however hopefully frequent, pretty much like the Spring Training ones were.  I would love to hear feedback and whether there are certain things you would like to see or not see.

Here is the latest installment of Twins Notes:
  • The 2018 season started with a bang, when Cubs' lead off hitter Ian Happ hit the first pitch of the season from Marlins' starting pitcher Jose Urena for a home run to the right field (video link.) Last time that happened was in 1986 when Boston's Dwight Evans hit a home run off then Detroit (and in 1991 Twins') starter Jack Morris in 1986
  • The MLB celebrated Opening Day (which was the earliest ever and the only one that all 30 teams had scheduled games; the ones in Cincinnati and Detroit were rained out) with special bases
  • Opening Day Twins Trivia: This was be the 118th Opening Day for the Twins franchise. The first one ever was also against the Orioles on 4/29/1901 in a game the Senators won 5-2.  The Twins franchise Opening Day record against the Orioles after today's game is 5-2, 2-1 since the move to Minnesota.  The only AL team that the Twins franchise teams have not faced on an Opening Day is the Houston Astros. On the other hand they faced the Athletics (both Philadelphia and Oakland) a record 28 times (won 18).  The Twins franchise record on Opening Day is 63-55 after today.
  • The Twins needed extra innings in their 2018 Opening Day at Baltimore.  The last time the Twins had an extra inning game in their season opener was in 2004 when they beat Cleveland 7-4.
  • Starting RHP Jake Odorizzi struck out 7 Orioles in 6 scoreless innings.  Refreshing to see a Twins pitcher induce swinging strikes by throwing pitches outside the zone and throwing high fastballs, after years of futility with having everyone in the organization force-throwing sinkers and pitching to contact.
  • LHP Zach Duke struck out 4 men in the 7th inning, but allowed 2 runs, moving runners with wild pitches (including one who struck out), a walk and a hit that scored both.   RHP Addison Reed, probably the best pitcher in the Twins' pen, pitched a perfect 8th and 9th, striking out 2.
  •  If you cannot throw strikes against little leaguers, minor leaguers or in Spring Training, there is no reason to believe that you can throw strikes in the majors when games matter. RHP Trevor Hildenberger who came in the bottom of the tenth and walked two hitters is hurting the Twins and needs to be demoted until he can find the strike zone.
  • Thankfully RHP Fernando Rodney and brilliance by manager Paul Molitor to play with 5 infielders (having Eddie Rosario as an extra) paid off with a double play after the bases were loaded in the 10th.  Unfortunately Rodney was the goat today, allowing the losing HR to the Orioles' Adam Jones with his first pitch, a 92 mph fastball in the middle of the plate, on the bottom of the 11th.
  • The Twins bats were silent in the first 8 innings, having the Orioles with 96.3% probability of winning the game in the top of the 8th when Molitor's moves having PR Ryan LaMarre in place of DH Logan Morrison and having OF Robbie Grossman pinch hit for CF Byron Buxton, and drive two runs to tie the game, proven also brilliant.  Molitor was definitely on a roll today, other than trusting Hildenberger.
  • 1B Joe Mauer has just passed Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew for most Opening Day starts in Twins history with 14.
  • The Minneapolis Star Tribune had a live Twins' Opening Day blog with live Twitter input here during the whole day.  I hope that they continue this at least on special occasions throughout the season.
  • Here is a picture of all the Twins' players on the Opening Day 25-man roster.  Can you name them all?   
  • Also the best pictures of each of the Twins' 25-man roster players from Spring Training by Twins' team photographer Brace Hemmelgarn is here.  A must see.
  • RHP Lance Lynn finished his last Spring Training tune up in a AAA game against the Red Sox' AAA team with mixed results.
  • The Twins are admitting that unfortunately RHP Ervin Santana is behind schedule on his rehab from a finger surgery.  
  • On the other hand, RHP Phil Hughes is "making enough progress" to be available to potentially start the April 11th game against the World Champions Houston Astros.  This would likely mean that either one of the Twins' relief pitchers with options will get demoted or Rule 5 draft pick Tyler Kinley will be returned to the Miami Marlins.
  • The Twins had not published extension talks with 2B Brian Dozier, which seem to broke down very recently.
  • OF Byron Buxton revealed that he is facing a continuous struggle with migraine headaches
  • One Twins player made it to number 25,  and a surprise another one to number 95 in the mlb.com list of the 100 people who will influence the 2018 season the most.  
  • The second player mentioned above, who is not currently on the Twins' 40-man roster, was also picked as the 2018 breakout player (need to scroll down) by Ryan O'Hanlon, Senior Editor of The Ringer.  
  • Three Twins' players made Jon Heyman's list of Top 60 MLB 2018 breakout stars.
  • In case you missed it, here is my analysis of the team and prediction for the Twins in their 2018 season.
  •  There were a couple of rounds of minor league cuts last week. Links to the two stories here and here.
  • You probably did not know (I did not) that fifty years ago the Twins' opening day game, a few miles south of where they are today, at Washington was postponed due to Martin Luther Kings' assassination.
  • Edward McClelland of the Slate, has a great article on fans who root for franchises that left their hometowns, partially based on his dad, a Washingtonian Twins' fan.
  • Nicole Russell wrote an interesting Twins-centered article on baseball and politics in the Washington Examiner.
  • Alexandra Desanctis of National Review wrote a piece on Baseball Season's Opening Day that always feels like a homecoming.  
  • There was an emergency at Rays' Tropicana Field that required firefighter intervention today. 
  • Today's parting video is a video by the American Heart Association, regarding Twins' great Rod Carew's return to the 2018 Spring Training:


You can find all the installments of the 2018 Twins Notes series here.  As always feedback is more than welcome.