Monday's Mail (3.8.21): Prospects, Tacos and WCW
Welcome to the first of what’s going to be a weekly edition at Access Twins called “Monday’s Mail.” 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
if Twitter isn’t your thing, email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Monday Mailbag”
Watch for sporadic Facebook posts asking for questions
Should be pretty easy, right? Let’s dive right in:
It sure feels like it. He was nasty in Sunday’s Grapefruit League action, striking out two of the three batters he faced with some funky-looking stuff.
If you want to watch him work, go to about 1:25 of this video:
Canterino touched 99 and showed off a delivery that, at least to me, looks like one that would thrive in short relief. He has a strong four-pitch mix according to MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo — which would indicate a strong chance of at least getting the chance to start in the future — but with how the team is constructed right now, his best bet would be in relief later on in the year.
A couple of reasons to be optimistic about Canterino debuting this season are that he’s already 23, and he turned heads when he reported to the alternate training site late last season with his velocity and aforementioned pitch mix.
Also, the Twins will be operating with a bit of a shallower pool of established relievers this season. This doesn’t mean the bullpen will be worse than last year necessarily, but the leap to the big leagues won’t involve jumping over established big leaguers like Sergio Romo and Tyler Clippard, but rather other talented youngsters like Edwar Colina, Bailey Ober and Dakota Chalmers or intriguing journeymen like Luke Farrell, Glenn Sparkman, Derek Law and others.
I’d say Canterino has a good chance.
OK, so first, a couple of things here:
First, I said Ryan Jeffers for this question last year, so I’m patting myself on the back (just a little!) about that.
But secondly, this would have been Akil Baddoo if he hadn’t been snapped up in the Rule 5 draft. I love the skill set and potential to hang in center, and I highly doubt the Detroit Tigers — who are still pretty firmly in the throes of a rebuild — will return him at the end of spring training.
For me, the answer to this is Gilberto Celestino. Not only can he really pick it defensively…
But I think he can be more than adequate offensively from the right side as well. Celestino hit .276/.350/.409 at Low-A in 2019, which included walking almost 10 percent of the time and fanning just 16.1 percent of the time. That slash line might seem good but not necessarily great, but it was good for a 122 wRC+.
Celestino has shown the ability at times to take walks while limiting strikeouts, and there’s potential for double-digit steals and homers every year as well. With his defensive profile, that’s a really, really nice player.
I’m really conflicted about this. He’s not on the 40-man roster, and it’s hard to say the Twins definitely need a backup who can handle center when Max Kepler is on the roster as well as Jake Cave.
Also, Kyle Garlick is off to a strong start this spring and is on the 40-man roster, so he has to be considered ahead of Broxton, by definition, in that race. He definitely wouldn’t play center but would bring some right-handed thump off the bench.
But it surely wouldn’t hurt to have a guy who has some speed, is a good defender in center and — as seen in the clip above — can run into one every now and then.
My sense is that he’s going to be on the Triple-A roster to start the season — pending an opt-out clause in his deal, which I’m not sure about as of this writing — but on the shortlist for a call-up if a situation arose.
I mean, he could opt out of a job arises, but he’s a career .209/.297/.388 hitter who is five years removed from his only big-league season with a wRC+ over 100. The physical skills are there, but he’s nearly 31 and didn’t play in the big leagues at all last year.
It’s Maeda for me. I know for sentimental reasons it might make sense to go with Berrios, but Maeda was easily the best pitcher on the team and even simply just as a function to guarantee him the most starts this season — barring injury, etc — I’d have him start on Opening Day.
Having Berrios start game No. 2 would also line him up to start the Home Opener against the Mariners on April 8 — and that would probably be a better way to handle any sort of sentimentality, if that’s even a word?
As weird as it sounds, it might hinge on Byron Buxton. No, really. If Buxton isn’t signed past 2022, Lewis’ future might be in center. But I wouldn’t be surprised one way or the other if the Twins were heavily involved in next winter’s free-agent market at short — be it bringing Simmons back or looking at someone like Marcus Semien, if not the big-ticket guys like Francisco Lindor, Corey Seager, Carlos Correa, Javy Baez or Trevor Story.
I suspect at least one of those guys will sign an extension — the smart money is on Lindor, I’d say — but if the Twins don’t feel they have a long-term answer at short, they could easily craft a big deal for one of those shortstops with money that ramps up to coincide with the end of Josh Donaldson’s contract.
I’m just one man, but seeing Story as a Twin would be a huge boon in my opinion. With that said, any of those six — or even Simmons on a new deal — would make a lot of sense. What I don’t think is going to, in any way, happen is Lewis on the Opening Day roster in 2022. He was already at least a half-season or more away even before getting hurt. Now, it’ll be two full years since he’s played actual in-game baseball. That’s not ideal!
Warmed-up soft tortilla with beef or chicken, shredded cheese, sour cream, lettuce, tomato, jalapenos or banana peppers and one of the following sauces: chipotle tabasco, Ortega taco sauce or Pace Picante. I’ll add guacamole if we have it.
So I think what Cory is referring to is the abomination I make that a friend from Twitter (Ryan Boser) introduced me to:
Pickles (I prefer bread and butter, but dill works too)
It’s really good — I promise!
Beyond that, I make a glaze for wings that is half honey/half Sriracha that is also dynamite. If I think of more, I’ll add them in future mail calls.
Gotta be Kirill Kirilloff doesn’t it? I think the mirroring of letters to start both words plus the alliteration makes it the way to go.
He can really mash. I know he told David Laurila of Fangraphs recently that he doesn’t see himself as strictly a designated hitter, but regardless of if he lands as a 1B/OF/DH-type in fantasy baseball, I think he’s likely to produce similar value either way.
I think the fact that he was taken as a college player last year, didn’t play at all in 2020 and still won’t turn 22 until this June is strongly in his favor in terms of having enough time to cook down on the farm before the Twins bring him up for his first taste.
That’s something that was less true for Brent Rooker, who is already 26 and has only played in seven big-league games.
But as much as fans have been excited about Rooker’s potential since he was drafted, the people I’ve talked to think the future is far brighter for Sabato, whom Fangraphs rated the team’s No. 8 prospect heading into this season. Rooker, for reference, is 12th, and they had Sabato ahead of some really intriguing guys like Celestino and Keoni Cavaco.
I think you were justified in picking him up in a deep league.
It would have been Diamond Dallas Page at Starrcade. Starrcade, to me, was WCW’s Wrestlemania and DDP could get a good match out of anyone — even a green Bill Goldberg. If anyone was going to make me look good, it would be DDP.
Probably not, but I really like it! I think between Cain and Garcia there’s a really good chance one of them has a solid year — Cain isn’t particularly young and Garcia really struggled last year — but I really like Bradley as a fit for them and Yelich is an MVP candidate who had a weird 60-game run last year.
Yelich was 1-for-July last year — not as bad as it sounds, but still a .037 average — and then hit .231/.393/.474 over his final 219 plate appearances. He’s going to be just fine.
I think they’ll possibly be among the top-five outfields, though that’ll largely be factoring in defense. They’ll really be able to go get it.
From Josh Yocom: “WWF or WCW? I was always a WWF guy. But Sting was on WCW so I flipped back and forth the last 20 mins.”
As weird as it sounds, I was always a WCW guy. In fact, I have the episode from Dec. 22, 1997 playing in the background as I type this. That’s the go-home episode for the Starrcade where Sting and Hogan met.
Sting’s entrance at that Starrcade still gives me the chills:
WWE/F stands up much better upon re-watch for that era — which isn’t much to say when considering how badly WCW crashed and burnt — but the era that I’m watching now was peak WCW and it was really, really good.
With that said, it’s important to watch with the idea that times were different back then. The internet wasn’t nearly as prominent as it is now. Watching things with hindsight re-frames things significantly. WCW in 1997 was the best they ever became, but WWE/F, in general, looks better in history books, I think.