Monday's Mail (12.27.21): Drafting and Development, Ice Fishing & World Series Formulas
Welcome back to a weekly edition at Access Twins called “Monday’s Mail.” This week, the mail was delayed by the holiday weekend.
If you’d like to be involved, there are a few ways you can do so:
Tweet @brandon_warne or @accesstwins with the hashtag #askBW
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Should be pretty easy, right? Let’s talk to it:
I think you have to go with developing elite pitching — through the draft, international free agency or whatever means outside of free agency. Not only is that the most efficient, sustainable way to do it, but it appears to be the M.O. of this front office.
The COVID abbreviated MLB season — and canceled MiLB season — in 2020 threw a wrench into the mix, but we’re verging on a period where quite a few pitching prospects could be on the cusp of making their debut.
Joe Ryan looks like a back-end fixture already, with perhaps potential to be more. Bailey Ober was a pleasant surprise. Who knows if Griffin Jax can find another level?
From the team’s top 30 on MLB Pipeline, Jordan Balazovic, Simeon Woods Richardson Joe Ryan, Josh Winder and maybe even Matt Canterino aren’t terribly far off (Canterino further than the others, but already 24 years old too).
How will Blayne Enlow recover? What can Drew Stroman give them? Could Cole Sands or Chris Vallimont break through? Or Louie Varland?
This is a pivotal year for Derek Falvey and Thad Levine to let their propensity for developing pitching shine through. If they struggle through a tough 2022 season after the 2021 debacle, the fan base is going to get increasingly more restless.
It has to be Caleb Thielbar, doesn’t it? But let’s say we aren’t talking about Minnesota natives — I’m taking Wisconsin native Ben Rortvedt, with Mitch Garver or Taylor Rogers as wild cards.
Invest up the middle. Pay your catchers, shortstops and center fielders. You can mix and match in the corners, but you need to develop pitching and a strong core up the middle — and frankly, the Twins aren’t far off with that.
They really need to find that shortstop though. He might be in the organization already (Royce Lewis or Austin Martin), or he might be someone we aren’t even thinking about, or maybe, just maybe, the Twins fire a huge salvo in free agency and surprise everyone by signing Trevor Story.
Yes, pitching is a need — but I would do my best to develop that internally while supplementing through free agency on the offensive side.
Hmm. Just a stab in the dark:
Starting Lineup (9)
C- Mitch Garver
1B- Miguel Sano
2B- Jorge Polanco
3B- Josh Donaldson
SS- Paul DeJong
LF- Alex Kirilloff
CF- Byron Buxton
RF- Max Kepler
DH- Jorge Soler
C- Ryan Jeffers
IF- Luis Arraez
IF/OF- Jonathan Villar
IF/OF- Nick Gordon
Joe Ryan or Bailey Ober
Lewis Thorpe (out of options)
From a personal standpoint, my wife started her own business and I started a new podcast and re-booted another. Our daughter started full-day preschool and karate and we got a dog.
Sports-wise? I guess the Wild are decent?
It’s a fun profile, but he’s going to be 28 once the season starts (assuming it does on time). I think there’s fourth outfielder potential here, assuming some team doesn’t grab him in the Rule 5 draft (assuming it actually happens).
He’s got some pop and is apparently a really, really strong defender. He hits from the right side, has a little speed and is pretty much what you’d look for in a fourth. He’s probably the kind of guy who could beat out Jake Cave for a roster spot if the Twins are looking for a fourth outfielder not named Gilberto Celestino this spring.