Live from Fort Myers: Twins Spring Training Notes: 3/15/2019

As always you can find all the entries in this series in reverse chronological order here.

Here are my notes from the last couple days of Twins' Spring Training games:

  • The home games yesterday and today could not be any dissimilar other than the attendance.  It sucked both days with about 1/3 of the ballpark empty and about 6,000some tickets sold only.  The abbreviated Spring Training and the pushing up of the opening day really made fans from all teams less reluctant to come down South because it effectively took a whole week away.  I hope that MLB will reconsider that next season.
  • Martin Perez and Michael Pineda yesterday and today were at different stages of readiness:  Perez was all over the place with his command, even though his fastball hit 97 at the Hammond Stadium radar, whereas Pineda had pinpoint control and a no-hitter into 4 until Ehire Adrianza's unfortunately wide throw at first allowed a Pirate hitter today.  Pineda's fastball was at 93/94 all day long.
  • I think that the Twins' bench is done:  Lucas Duda will opt out as soon as he can and Ehire Adrianza, Tyler Austin, and Willians Astrudillo will be the Twins' bench to start the season.  They all homered today btw.  Astrudillo played at LF and was more surehanded out there than several of other Twins I have seen play the position (Josh Willingham, Delmon Young, Oswaldo Arcia, etc) in the recent memory.
  • Mark my words: Preston Guilmet is not making the Twins and will be hard pressed to make the Rochester team.  Pretty horrible presence all over today.
  • SS prospect Wander Javier (who left today's game with a hamstring tightness) started both home games at shortstop and showed why he is a top prospect with both his bat and glove.  Same with Trevor Larnach who homered last night and Brent Rooker who held on his own today.  Javier after missing all season with a non-throwing shoulder surgery looks like he is finally filling up and popped up a few inches.  He looks a lot like Miguel Sano did that age (20)
  • Addison Reed had yet another horrible appearance yesterday. I would have said that he is done before I saw Blake Parker pitch pretty awfully today.  This pen is for sure concerning.


Live from Fort Myers: Twins Spring Training Notes: 3/13/2019

As always you can find all the entries in this series in reverse chronological order here.

Today was my first full day at Fort Myers and I did not make the trip across the highway to see the Twins play the Red Sox, but instead I went to the back fields where the Twins' high A and A squads faced the equivalent Rays' teams.   Here are my notes from the day:

  • Zack Littell started the high A game for the Twins and pitched for an inning.  Before the game he was working on the pen with the Twins' assistant pitching coach Jeremy Hefner and the Twins' minor league catching coordinator Tanner Swanson on two things: Tweaking his delivery so he uses more of his hips than his shoulders and targeting the lower part of the zone (Swanson emphatically was pointing that the target should be the groin area.)  His catcher, 20 year old Kidany Salva, was working on framing the low pitches as strikes, as is the direction throughout the organization.  The approach worked in the game, since he got 3 ground ball outs, but let's not forget the competition level.
  • In the game for the Twins there were high rated prospects, shortstops Royce Lewis and Wander Javier; however one prospect who is not a household name, had an eye opening performance: RHP Edwar (Eddie) Colina.  The 21 year old Venezuelan who was signed as an 18 year old International Free Agent, put himself on the radar last season after pitching a no-hitter at Cedar Rapids.  This spring, he ticked it up a few notches:  His fastball that was plus, is now plus plus with a 97-99 mph velocity and wicked movement.  His 84-85 mph changeup is a plus pitch and his 88-90 mph slider is average but flashes higher.  All of his pitches have swing and miss potential and at this point he has two major league quality pitches.  He made it as high as Fort Myers for two starts last season and he will likely start 2019 there as well, but keep an eye on him, he might finish the season in the majors.  He was groomed as a starter and the Twins will keep him starting for as long as they can; however I believe that his future is at the end of the pen.  He got a bit tired the 3rd inning of pitching (he pitched innings 2,3 and 4), loosing a couple of notches of his FB (down to 95-97) and some command.  Have to remember that this was the first minor league game of Spring Training.
  • The aforementioned Lewis and Javier, both coming from ailments of different severity squared at the ball well, and the looked pretty healthy.  Lewis had a double and took a violent cut at a swing and miss without flinching, which makes me think that the oblique is healed.
  • There were several interesting pitchers in the game: Undrafted free agent from 2017 big (6-7/245) 24-year old lefty Kevin Marnon showed some promise, but has to tighten his delivery.  He is pretty deceptive and can be effective, especially against lefties.  RHP Jared Finkel, the Twins' 17th round pick in 2017, is a side thrower with a 84-87 mph fastball, a 77-80 mph changeup and severe command issues.  RHP Calvin Foucher, the 10th round pick in the same draft, throws overead and has a close to plus 77-81 mph hammer curve, but his fastball is flat one at 90-91 mph, and he has command issues, which is not a good combination.  From the other field, which I did not pay much attention, RHP Andrew Cabezas, the 18th round pick of last year's draft, has a plus changeup that I absolutely have to see again, and LHP Zach Neff, the Twins' 31st round pick last season has a very deceptive delivery.  A couple names that made my notebook.
  • As far as position players went, in addition to the aforementioned, Lewis and Javier, there were a few other top ranked prospects: Yunior Severino has a really free swing and a couple of times lost the bat, once over the "dugout" cage.  The 19 year old looks like an athlete, but is very raw and lacks discipline.  Andrew Bechtold looks more like the tentative one from 2018 and not like the very good hitter of 2017.  Tentativeness is the issue here.  He just needs to be more aggressive.  Not sure what to think of Trey Cabbage anymore.  He is a first baseman now and has a hard time making contact.  He will be 22 in two months and had an average season finally last year when he repeated Cedar Rapids, but I am afraid that the road is uphill for him.  Trevor Casanova, the Twins 13th round pick last year had a very good presence as a catcher, but he made 2 bad throws at second base that should have been easy outs.  First baseman Chris Williams, 8th round pick last season, was all business with the bat, hitting a bases clearing double.  One to watch.
  • In other news C Ben Rortvedt and another player I did not recognize in civvies, were carrying their equipment to the minor league locker rooms.  They seem to be the next cuts from the big camp.
  • Tomorrow I will be watching the Twins against the Nationals and will have additional insight on the major league club.


Option situation of the Twins Spring Training Players

Here is the option situation of the Twins' Spring Training players:

40-man roster:

Adrianza, Castro, Cron, Cruz, Gonzalez, Kepler, Magill, Parker, Perez, Pineda, Polanco, A. Reed
Austin, Berrios, Gibson, Mejia, M. Reed, Rosario
Buxton, Duffey, Garver, Odorizzi, Romero, Rogers, Sano, Schoop, Stewart, Thorpe, Vasquez
Arraez, Astudillo, Cave, Gordon, Gonsalves, Hildenberger, Littell, Moya, Stewart, Thorpe, Vasquez, Wade

Non-roster invitees:

All non-roster invitees who were signed as Minor League free agents are out of options other than Dario Alvarez (1), and Zack Weiss (3.)  So if they make the roster sometime during the season, they will need to go through the waiver process to go to the minors.

Twins Spring Training Notes and Thoughts: 3/8/2019

This season's abbreviated Spring Training has really snicked up, and the Opening Day of the 2019 season is just 3 weeks away.  I will be spending the biggest part of the next two weeks in site at Fort Myers and will be able to provide daily eyewitness reports of the Twins.  Another different thing for this site this season is that I have waited to see the various Twins prospects before I create my annual prospect list.   Way too many new faces and very little video relatively. 

A few things has become pretty clear so far this Spring Training:

  • The absence of Miguel Sano from the opening day Twins' roster will likely open up two (or even three if they decide to go with 12 pitchers) spots on the Twins bench besides Mitch Garver (Marwin Gonzalez will replace Miguel Sano at 3B.)  Gonzalez's positional flexibility will allow the Twins to chose a potentially variable mix of position players for that spot.  Infielders Adam Rosales (35, 1.526 OPS, 19 PA, RHH) and Ehire Adrianza (29, 1.056 OPS, 18 PA, SHH) and first baseman/ designated hitter Lucas Duda (33, .840 OPS, 25 PA, LHH) have been very good with their bats.  Infielder Ronald Torreyes (26, .777 OPS, 25PA, RHH), and outfielders Jake Cave (26, .763 OPS, 25PA, LHH), LaMonte Wade (25, .760 OPS, 22PA, LHH), and Luke Raley (24, .750 OPS, .18 PA, LHH) have not hurt themselves at the plate.  Superutility catcher Willians Astrudillio (27, .673 OPS, 20 PA, RHH) and first baseman Tyler Austin (27, .474 OPS, 19 PA, RHH) have been lagging.  Duda, Raley, and Rosales would need a 40-man spot to make the team.  Only Adrianza is out of options (Duda and Rosales as well if they make the team;) Austin has an option left.  Michal Reed who would have have a chance in making the team has not played this spring because of back issues and he is unlikely to make the team.  If I were to guess, the 3 most likely players to make the team are Adrianza, Cave, and Duda, in this order, with Astrudillo next, but it is still early.
  • The rotation is pretty much set pending injury:  Righties Jose Berrios, Kyle Gibson, Jake Odorizzi, Michael Pineda and lefty Martin Perez (in that order,) will be the Twins' five starters.  Perez will likely make pen appearances if a fifth starter is not needed.  All the starters but the opening day starter, Berrios, have been excellent to very good this Spring.
  • As far as the bullpen goes, RHPs Trevor May (29, 1.80 ERA, 0.20 WHIP, 5 IP,) and Blake Parker (33, 0.00 ERA, 0.33 WHIP, 3 IP), and LHP Taylor Rogers (28, 0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 3 IP) are pretty much certain to make the trip North.  There are several pitchers fighting for the 4 spots behind them in three categories:  Well performing starters who may make the team in the pen or start the season in the AAA rotation to provide future depth LHP Adalberto Mejia (25, 2.25 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 4 IP, 1 option left) and RHP Fernando Romero (24, 1.80 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 5 IP, 2 options left).  Former pen members who are underperforming in various degrees or had mixed results: RHPs Trevor Hildenberger (28, 4.50 ERA, 0.750 WHIP, 4 IP, 3 options left,) Tyler Duffey (28, 6.35 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 5-2/3 IP, 2 options left,) Matt Magill (29, 7.36 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 3-2/3 IP, no options left,) and LHP Andrew Vasquez (25, 0.00 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 5 IP, 3 options left). The third category are overperforming dark horse RHPs not on the 40-man roster: Mike Morin (27, 0.00 ERA, 0.50 WHIP, 4 IP), former Twins' second round pick Ryan Eades (27, 0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 3 IP,) and Ryne Harper (29, 0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 4 IP).  LHP Gabriel Moya (3 options left) who have pitched only one inning and allowed 3 ER, is dealing with back and shoulder issues and is unlikely to make the team.  With Magill the only pitcher out of options and potentially 4 open spots left, the Twins have plenty of different ways of filling them and plenty of time to figure it out.  RHP Addison Reed, normally a lock, has been horrible this Spring (27.00 ERA, 3.00 WHIP, 2-1/3 IP), his velocity has been down and just does not look right. I predict that he will start the season in the Injury List, thus is not a part in the discussion.
  • The Twins' prospects with the big team have been a mixed bag this Spring but mostly underperforming: Alex Kirilloff (.375 OPS, 16 PA,) Luis Arraez (.436 OPS, 16 PA,)  Louis Thorpe (11.57 ERA, 1.93 WHIP, 4-2/3 IP,) Nick Gordon (.690 OPS, 15 PA), Jake Reed (4.91 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, 3-2/3 IP), look overmatched in various degrees, whereas Luke Raley (.750 OPS, 18 PA), and LaMonte Wade (.760 OPS, 22 PA) held their own, and Brent Rooker (923 OPS, 16 PA) has been outperforming. Top prospect Royce Lewis has been out with an oblique injury.  Certain Twins' fans have been superhopeful to see Kirilloff, Thorpe, Arraez, and Lewis this season in the majors, but the first three are clearly overmatched even for Spring Training level of competition.   Nevertheless it has been an excellent learning experience for everyone involved (including the fans.)


Ten facts about Twins' DH Nelson Cruz that you might not know

The Twins have signed DH Nelson Cruz to an 1 yr $14 million contract with a $12 million option for a second year that is buyable for $300,000. The signing has not yet announced.  The Twins roster is full and a corresponding move has to be done to open space.

There has been a lot of pro or con discussion regarding Cruz, but here are ten facts about him you might not know:

  1. Both of his parents were professors.  
  2. As a teenager he was more of a basketball player than a baseball player
  3. He was mechanic's apprentice at a tractor repair factory, as well as a cobbler; not of the sweet kind.  
  4. Nelson Cruz was signed as an International Free Agent by the New York Mets in 1996, traded to the Athletics in 2000, and to the Brewers in 2004, because he became a full time major leaguer for the Rangers, after his trade in 2006, a full ten years after he signed as a professional with the Mets.
  5. He his his first home run off Willie Eyre of the Minnesota Twins at the Metrodome on July 31st 2006 leading the top of the 9th inning, with the Twins leading 15-1. 
  6. Nelson Cruz was suspended for 50 days for his involvement with Biogenesis on August of 2013, and he took full responsibility, accepting that he did wrong.
  7. He is a career .325/.355/.667 hitter in 124 PAs at Target Field 
  8. He wore uniform numbers 8 with the Brewers, 17 with the Rangers, and 23 with the Mariners. One of Zach Granite (if not DFA'd to make a 40-man spot for Cruz), Jose Berrios, or Mitch Garver might end up with a nice present for his number.
  9. The Dominican native became an American Citizen last October (2018,) and has been a New York City resident.
  10. Cruz is very active with charity work in the Dominican and his home town of Las Matas de Santa Cruz


The Newest Twins' pitcher Mike Morin has a truly plus pitch (video)

The Minnesota Twins have announced that they have signed 27 year old Andover, MN journeyman pitcher to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training.

Moran can throw a 91-92 mph fastball and a mid to high 80s slider, but his best pitch is his changeup that is a real plus plus pitch.  The pitch looks like a palmball and has excellent action.



However no matter how good someone's changeup is,  one cannot be a major league pitcher unless he can set it with his fastball.  Will the Twins be able to tweak Morin's fastball in a way that he might be an asset to them?  We will find out in a few months, but this is an intriguing low risk signing for the Twins.


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.


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...


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...


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...


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
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
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.


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


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)


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.  


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)


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.


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)


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.


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)


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.


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.