No one said that winning in baseball is easy, and for the Minnesota Twins, the biggest obstacle to the team’s success has been injuries. So far this year, the team has seen fifteen players miss time with injury, with most going on the injured list. Today, the Twins announced that two more players would join them:
The Carlos Correa news is unsurprising. While the team got lucky with his finger injury only being a contusion, he clearly needed more time. Seeing more Royce Lewis isn’t a bad thing for a short time. Chris Paddack’s injury is more concerning.
Chris Paddack was the centerpiece of the trade sending Taylor Rogers to San Diego ahead of the season, and he’s been dominant to start the year, with a 20-2 K-BB ratio and a 1.69 FIP indicating how well he’s pitched. Unfortunately now there’s the possibility we’ll be without him for the rest of the year and well into 2023.
The Minnesota Twins have placed Carlos Correa and Chris Paddack on the IL and called up Mark Contreras.
Losing Paddack would mean the Twins would need to lean heavily on a their surprisingly good but very unproven rotation. Joe Ryan, Josh Winder, Sonny Gray, Dylan Bundy, Chris Archer, and eventually Bailey Ober have talent, but it’s a big ask for the Twins to rely on that group to keep them moving through the year.
If Paddack is out for the year and Bundy and Archer turn back into pumpkins, they’re leaning EXTREMELY hard on two rookies and a second year starter. Things are fine for now, but they’re an injury away from disaster in the rotation. With that being said, let’s focus on the silver lining of today’s transactions: the call-up of Mark Contreras.
Contreras had his contract purchased with the Twins along with reliever Jharrel Cotton. Neither player is on the 40-man roster, but the move was made with both Bundy and Luis Arraez on the Covid injured list (neither player counts toward the 40-man).
A ninth round pick in 2017, Contreras struggled in the minors in 2018 and 2019, rarely hitting the ball with any consistency and struggling to hit for any power at all. In the time off in 2020, he worked a great deal on his game, and the results were excellent in 2021.
Contreras posted a .251/.338/.485 slash line with 53 extra base hits (20 homers) and a career high 15 stolen bases across Double-AA and Triple-AAA. He was one of the breakout stars of the minor leagues, but he had to prove he was for real in 2022. He’s done exactly that.
His batting average has slipped slightly, but his .239/.350/.489 slash line over the first 26 games of 2022 have shown last year’s breakout was legitimate. He already has 11 XBH (5 homers) and 17 RBI to couple with 5 stolen bases and a career-high walk rate.
The 27-year-old can play all three outfield positions with his decent speed and solid arm, so there’s a very real chance he makes his big-league debut while the Twins have Luis Arraez on the shelf.
It seems unlikely Contreras is a major part of the team’s future, but any time a player like Contreras reaches the big leagues, it’s exciting and fun to see. Hopefully we get to see him play soon!