When the Twins rose to prominence after the turn of the millennium, dominating the AL Central for nearly a decade, they always relied on a steady bullpen that protected leads.
During that time, Terry Ryan was extremely adept at plucking overlooked assets from other organizations, which allowed him to build effective relief units on the cheap.
There are many examples. Matt Guerrier was a nondescript Pirates farmhand when the Twins grabbed him off waivers in 2003. Dennys
Every year around this time the talk is about how hope springs eternal; how the slate is wiped clean and every team is 0-0; how every club is tied for first place.
For these 2013 Twins, optimism is noticeably subdued. For most people, a realistic form of “hope” involves approaching a .500 record and avoiding the cellar for a third straight year. The Twins have more question marks dotting their roster than perhaps any other team in the American League.
The odds are against
Over the past two weeks, we've gradually laid out our selections for the Twins organization's top ten prospects. Each day, we took an in-depth look at a different rising star within the system, outlining their strengths and weaknesses while spelling out what each must do to succeed in the majors. Here's how our list came together:
10. Max Kepler, OF
9. Trevor May, RHP
8. J.O. Berrios, RHP
7. Eddie Rosario, 2B
6. Kyle Gibson, RHP
5. Alex Meyer, RHP
Age: 19 (DOB: 5/11/93)
A: .258/.373/.521, 28 HR, 100 RBI, 75 R, 8/11 SB
Since his days crushing baseballs in the Dominican Republic, where he attracted the attention of numerous pro scouts, everything about Miguel Sano has screamed "Superstar."
The 2011 documentary Ballplayer: Pelotero followed a 16-year-old Sano, along with another teenage Dominican prospect, as they sought to impress the right people
Age: 23 (DOB: 10/2/89)
AA: .286/.384/.460, 13 HR, 61 RBI, 100 R, 32/43 SB
When it comes to physical tools, Aaron Hicks is tough to top. A muscular 6'2" outfielder with tremendous speed and an arm so strong that many teams considered drafting him as a pitcher, he's the type of player scouts salivate over.
Will the production match the athleticism? That's a question that has followed him throughout
The hits have just kept on coming for the Twins over the past two seasons, leaving those who believe in karmic balance to wonder just when a spell of good fortune would come along for a change. Apparently we're still not there yet, as La Velle E. Neal III indicated on Friday that reigning No. 1 starter Scott Diamond is "really iffy" to be ready for Opening Day after undergoing offseason elbow surgery.
Diamond is a prime regression candidate, but he's the
Age: 25 (DOB: 10/23/87)
GULF: 14.2 IP, 2.45 ERA, 16/4 K/BB, 0.89 WHIP
A: 7.0 IP, 2.57 ERA, 7/1 K/BB, 1.00 WHIP
AAA: 6.2 IP, 9.45 ERA, 10/1 K/BB, 1.80 WHIP
Turn the calendar back two years. It's spring training 2011 and the Twins are coming off a second straight division championship. Kyle Gibson is an attention magnet in camp. He's coming off a spectacular pro debut that saw him fly through three levels
A thick coat of snow fell upon Target Field over the weekend, transforming the structure into a lifeless, cold and white blob. On Tuesday, temperatures in the Twin Cities rose toward 30 and the clouds dissipated.
Bathed in sun, with green plastic seat-backs peeking through the melting snow, the ballpark started to look like… well, a ballpark. This coming weekend, temperatures in Minnesota will near the 40s while pitchers and catchers unpack their bags in
Age: 19 (DOB: 2/10/93)
APPY: 59 G, .297/.387/.539, 10 HR, 49 RBI, 40 R, 7/7 SB
By the time he's done playing, Max Kepler might be known as one of the greatest major-league hitters ever to come out of Europe.
And he's the tenth-best prospect for the Twins? That seems crazy. But take a look at this all-time European All-Star team that Dave Schoenfield put together a couple years ago. There are some
We’ve reached that time of year, just before camps in Florida and Arizona officially get underway, where many publications release their annual top prospect lists. Since he was recently in town for TwinsFest and his name has appeared near the top of many of these lists, Miguel Sano has been buzzing in local baseball circles.
La Velle E. Neal III recently remarked with some astonishment about Sano’s size when he saw him, noting that the 19-year-old (!) will be listed
Will the Twins’ de facto ace retain his label as the club’s top starter or descend into mediocrity this year? Let us take a deeper look.
Diamond gained little consideration for a big-league job in spring training after going 5-19 with a 5.44 ERA between Triple-A and the majors in his first year with the organization. So, he reported to Rochester and started his season on a tear, going 4-1 with a 2.60 ERA while flashing much improved control
"What in the hell is a Pedro Florimon?" -- professional baseball writer, doing research on projected starting lineups
— Grant Brisbee (@mccoveychron) January 25, 2013
The above tweet from the wise-cracking and hilarious SB Nation scribe Grant Brisbee was undoubtedly written after he glanced over projected starting lineups across the majors and did a triple-take when he came to Minnesota's shortstop position.
He's hardly the first. I've had multiple national
He’s still lurking out there.
As the offseason nears its close and spring training rapidly approaches, Matt Capps remains a free agent. Since the Twins bought out his 2013 option back in October, there has been very little buzz surrounding the right-handed reliever. At this point, one would have to believe that he could easily be signed to a fairly cheap one-year deal.
Should the Twins be the ones to give it to him?
At the beginning
Stability at third base and right-handed power have been in short supply for the Twins over the past decade or so. Trevor Plouffe has developed into one of the team’s most interesting commodities because he has the potential to fill both needs, and could do so at a relatively low cost for the next several years.
As a homegrown talent, Plouffe is precisely the type of player the Twins want to structure their rebuild around, but clearly they still hold reservations