How the dominos are falling for the Twins and 9 things you may not know about their new RHP Lance Lynn

The Twins have signed former Cardinals' RHP Lance Lynne.  The free agent was signed to an one-year $12 million contract, with the potential of receiving $2 million more, based on performance.  Because Lynn rejected the Cardinals' qualifying offer (of $17+ million) the Twins will surrender their third round and 95th overall pick in the 2018 amateur draft.  In addition, according to the new CBA, the Twins cannot extend a qualifying offer to him next off-season, since he already had one.

Lynn will round up the Twins rotation of Jose Berrios, Jake Odorizzi, and Kyle Gibson, to which Ervin Santana will be added in early April once his finger is 100%.   Here are how the dominos will likely call for the Twins:

Anibal Sanchez, who has a non-guaranteed contract, will be released,  
Phil Hughes, who has been improving, will start the season in the pen,
The same with Tylor Duffey who has an option and potentially can also start in the minors.
Trevor May who is on the 60-day DL will also head in the pen.
Adalberto Mejia who has one option and Aaron Slegers who has too, along with everyone else without MLB Starting experience will be in Rochester to start the season.

There are lot of things that have been written about Lance Lynn, his comeback from Tommy John surgery, his potential regression based on his 2018 FIP and BABIP, the fact that he only pitched in the NL etc.   I will not repeat those, other than saying that he will be better for the Twins than Bartolo Colon, Hector Santiago, and the other slew of characters he replaces...

Here are things that you many not know about Lance Lynn:

  1. He has never faced the Twins
  2. His little league team made it to the Little League World Series in 1999
  3. He was a High School teammate of Drew Storen.
  4. He jumped 3 levels in his fist full professional season ending up in AAA.
  5. The next season (2010) he broke the Cardinals' franchise strikeout record with 16 in a game in the AAA PCL.
  6. At 6'5" and 280 lbs, he will be the Twins' biggest player, to the relief of Miguel Sano.
  7. He has worn numbers 62 and 31 with the Cardinals.  31 is Jeff Pickler's number and 62 non-roster catcher's Jordan Pacheco.  There are not many numbers available for the Twins these days...
  8. Lynn has effectively one pitch: the fastball.  But he throws is as a 4-seamer, 2-seamer, and cutter and all over the zone, which confuses batters.
  9. Last August he was hit on the head with a comebacker off the bat of Lorenzo Cain.


Twins Spring Training Notes: 3/9/2018

Here are my latest Twins' Spring Training notes:

  • Kyle Gibson was at 37 pitches on Monday (and then threw on the side), Adalberto Mejia at 51 pitches on Tuesday, Jake Odorizzi at 54 pitches on Wednesday, and Jose Berrios at 56 on Friday.  Expect those limits to go up to 70-75 or so by next week. These four pitchers are the most likely at this point to make the Twins' rotation on opening day.
  • Trevor May has started to throw breaking balls now and they are "nasty."
  • Great article about Alan Busenitz, his off-season catcher, and his family business, but Mike Berardino at the PPD. And another one regarding Miguel Sano's titanium rod and potential prognosis based on the experience of a current teammate who faced the same situation a few seasons ago.
  • Speaking of Sano, he hit his first two home runs of the Spring at Port Charlotte off the Rays' Andrew Kittredge and Vidal Nuño today.  He leads the Twins in this category, tied with Ryan LaMarre.  Must be the titanium rods. 
  • Brian Buxton stole his second base of the Spring against the Rays, leading the Twins in this category.  He also ran onto the wall during the 4th inning, leading the Twins yet in another category.
  • Former Twins' RHP Luke Bard who was drafted by the Angels in the Rule 5 draft has pitched 4 innings in 5 games this spring, walking 2, striking out 3, and allowed 8 hits and 5 earned runs.  He has a 11.25 ERA and 1.500 WHIP, and might be on his way to Fort Myers soon.
  • Nick Burdi who was also drafted in the Rule 5 draft, was later traded to the Pirates and was put on the 60-day DL to start the season.  He must be on the 25-man roster for at least 90 days this season and/or next, not to be returned to the Twins.
  • The Twins' minor league camp is in full swing.  This means that the second round of the Twins' cuts this Spring will be likely coming this weekend.  There are 53 players in the major league camp at this point, 26 pitchers and 27 position players.  With the bullpen battles the most important at this point, I anticipate more starters and position players (12 of which are non-roster invitees) to be cut.
  • Not quite Spring Training-related, but the Twins' are linked to 15 year old speedy Venezuelan CF, Misael Urbina, for the upcoming international free agent signing period.  Flame throwing Venezuelan RHP Richard Gallardo, Dominican RHP Starlyn Castillo, and Cuban RHP Osiel Rodriguez will be the pitching gems of this class, but none is yet linked to the Twins.
  • Some betting place has the Twins leading the odds for signing both Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb, and even has them as dark horses for Jake Arietta.
  • The New York Times has the thoughts of the person who will sing the National Anthem at the Twins' home opener on that subject.
  • Horrible news regarding some Twins' fans from Minnesota at Fort Myers.
  • MLB vs the State of Florida in Spring Training of 1961 regarding human rights and segregation: A great read
  • When Ron Gardenhire threatened to tackle Dave Winfield.
 I will be making more such notes in somewhat regular intervals few times a week and daily when I am at Fort Myers. To see all the notes and coverage of the 2018 Twins' Spring Training, including live reports from Fort Myers in the second half of March, please visit here


Twins Spring Training Notes: 3/8/2018

Here are my latest Twins' Spring Training notes:

  • Kyle Gibson leads Twins starters with 5.40 pitches per inning pitched (newcomer Jake Odorizzi is second with 5.68, Adalberto Mejia follows with 5.75,  Fernando Romero with 6.00, Aaron Slegers with 6.57, Jose Berrios with 6.60, Phil Hughes with 6.92, Stephen Gonsalves with 7.36 and Aaron Sanchez ends the list with 9.00.)  Last season Gibson had 16.5 pitches per inning pitched, right at his career aveage of 16.4.  His career Spring Training average is 6.8.  Yes batter swing more during Spring Training, but this is a significant positive difference for Gibson. 
  • As far as relievers go, Gabriel Moya who has had a great Spring leads the list with 5.60 whereas Trevor Hildenberger whose spring is not exactly great tails with 10.91.  As I previously indicated, I believe that the bullpen battle for spots behind Fernando Rodney, Addison Reed, and Zack Duke is wide open.  This might mean that Moya and Hildenberger go opposite directions come April.
  • Robbie Grossman and Kennys Vargas appeared in exactly the same games (8) and have exactly the same at-bats (20) this Spring, but not quite the same results:  Grossman in hitting .100/.250/.100 and Vargas .300/.417/.450.  Both are fighting for a spot on the Twins' bench this season.  A reminder that Grossman's contact (1yr /$2M) is not guaranteed; both players are out of options as well.  
  • None of the remaining catchers in the Twins' camp has an OPS higher than .649.  This number belongs to Mitch Garver who is hitting .091/.286/.364.
  • Twins starters should be hitting 4 to 5 innings per appearance next week.
  • Their number 8 overall prospect, Zack Littell, was among the Twins' first cuts, but he impressed the Twins' management in his brief stay with the big club.
  • Interesting story about Twins' number 28 prospect Charlies Barnes, in his home town newspaper.
  • Former Twins' old-school manager is already budding heads with his new-school pitching coach, about how to run a bullpen.  Thankfully, it is not the Twins' bullpen.

I will be making more such notes in somewhat regular intervals few times a week and daily when I am at Fort Myers. To see all the notes and coverage of the 2018 Twins' Spring Training, including live reports from Fort Myers in the second half of March, please visit here.


Twins Spring Training Notes: 3/7/2018

Here are my latest Twins' Spring Training notes:

  • It was pitchers and catchers reporting to the minor league camp for the first cuts of the spring:  Pitchers Dietrich Enns, Felix Jorge, Zack Littell, and Lewis Thorpe and catchers Brian Navarreto and Wynston Sawyer were re-assigned to the minor league camp.   
  • Sawyer had 2 singles and a walk in 5 AB, and Navarreto was hitless in 6. Jorge pitched 3 innings allowing a run and striking out 3, Enns 3-2/3 innings allowing 4 runs and striking out 1, Thopre 2-1/3 innings allowing 3 runs with no strikeouts, and Littell was impressive pitching 5 innings striking out 8 and allowing one run.  
  • All of the pitchers are on the 40-man roster, neither of the catchers is. All the cut pitchers should be stretched out as starters in the minor league camp.  This leaves 53 players competing for 25 jobs, most of which are spoken for.
  • Speaking of starters Ervin Santana removed his cast and will be starting physical therapy and will be looking for a late April to early May return
  • Eddie Rosario has tricep tendinitis and cannot throw.  There seem to be no concerns about him being ready for the season.
  • From the pitchers on the Spring roster only Fernando Romero (5 IP) and Jake Odorizzi (2-2/3 IP) have not allowed a hit
  • OF Ryan LaMarre (1.342 OPS, 16 AB), 1B Brock Stassi (1.111 , 9 ), 3B Taylor Featherston (1.000, 17), and OF LaMonte Wade (1.000, 16) are the only 4 hitters with OPS equal or higher than 1.000.  None is likely to make the team; however with Robbie Grossman (.190 OPS, 17 AB) and Zach Granite (.427 OPS, 20 AB) both struggling, the two OF might have outside chances.
  • AP has an interesting article on Jeff Pickler and his "protegees"

I will be making more such notes in somewhat regular intervals few times a week and daily when I am at Fort Myers. To see all the notes and coverage of the 2018 Twins' Spring Training, including live reports from Fort Myers in the second half of March, please visit here.