Royce Lewis and Carlos Correa – Too many shortstops on the Minnesota Twins 

By: Abby Altman

Image taken from: justbaseball.com

*Note: This article was originally written May 20th, so obviously things have happened since

In 2021, the starting shortstop for the Minnesota Twins was Andrelton Simmons. Simmons was a previous gold glove winner, but his bat was nothing exciting, and he often brought down the Twins lineup in important games. 

In 2022, the Twins now face a complete opposite issue. 

After the MLB lockout, the Twins signed All-Star shortstop Carlos Correa from the Houston Astros for 3 years, with an opt-out option after each year. Correa, excluding a brief stint on the 10 day-IL (as of mid May), was batting .255, with a .721 OPS. Correa’s glove has been exceptional at shortstop, and he has been a very valuable addition to the team. 

While Correa was on the IL, someone needed to fill in at the shortstop position. This is where the Twins brought in rookie shortstop Royce Lewis from AAA. Lewis was the number 1 overall draft pick in 2017. In the 11 games Lewis played with the Twins, he hit .308, with 4 doubles, 2 home runs, one of which was a grand slam, 11 RBI, and 12 runs scored. 

Lewis still has a lot to learn in the big leagues, and that showed in the few mistakes he made at shortstop in his big league appearance. 

Many fans are upset, however, that the Twins sent Lewis back to St. Paul and AAA upon the return of Correa. 

The Twins organization stated that Lewis would be spending time at other positions, as well as shortstop while he was in AAA, to see where Lewis would fit in the Twins lineup, without having to bench Correa. 

“We’re going to move him around the field a little bit, to get him a little bit of exposure at some different spots,” Baldelli said, via The Athletic. “The last thing we would want to do is start sending him all around the field to play in places where he’s literally never played a game…But he was fantastic for us.”

In his professional baseball career, Lewis has played 308 games at shortstop, 13 games at third base, 6 games in center field, and 5 games at second base. 

There are not many places where the Twins are looking to replace the current fielder. Jorge Polanco has been heating up at the plate and holding second base steady. 

Luis Arraez is in the most similar situation as Lewis defensively. Arraez has played third base, first base, second base, shortstop and left field since he joined the Twins. Lewis replacing Arraez is not a solution on anybody’s roster, however, as Arraez has been batting .354, with only 7 strikeouts in 113 at bats. 

In his first at bat back in AAA, Lewis blasted a home run, showing once again that he does belong in the major leagues. 

Since Correas’ return from the IL, he has batted .300 in the 6 games he played in. Lewis down in AAA has been batting .346 in his last 7 games. 

After an apparent leg injury for right fielder Max Kepler, Lewis was once again called up to the big leagues, this time as a center fielder.  Lewis played just 1 game at center field in his time in Saint Paul. 

This center field debut did not last long. In the top of the 3rd inning, Emmanuel Rivera flew out sharply to deep center field. Lewis made the leaping catch at the wall, but this resulted in Lewis crashing into the wall, and leaving the game early with apparent “right knee soreness”. 

The last 2 years, Lewis has been plagued with injuries, most prominent including an ACL tear on the same knee he was experiencing soreness in. More tests will be run to evaluate the degree of Lewis’s condition. 

Less worrisome, but still concerning, Carlos Correa has contracted COVID and finds himself on the COVID IL. 

Sports schedule for: May 23-28

 ATHLETIC EVENTS SCHEDULE: MAY 23 – MAY 28
MONDAYMAY 23 
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
9:00am Boys Varsity Golf MatchGoodrich Golf Course
4:30pm / 4:30pm Baseball vs. St. AnthonyHOME
TUESDAYMAY 24
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
4:00pm2:15pm / 7:00pmTrack and Field Conference PrelimsHarding High School
4:00pm Softball vs. Holy AngelsLincoln Field
4:30pm JV Baseball vs. Como ParkHOME
5:30pm / 7:00pm Girls Lacrosse vs. St. Croix PrepSt. Croix Prep Academy
5:30pm / 7:00pm Boys Lacrosse vs. HopkinsCentral High School
WEDNESDAYMAY 25
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
9:00am Girls Varsity Golf MatchOneka Ridge GC
4:15pm / 4:15pm 4:15pm Baseball vs. Two RiversTwo Rivers High School
4:30pm Girls Lacrosse vs. CooperCentral High School
THURSDAYMAY 26
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
4:00pm2:15pm / 7:45pmTrack and Field Conference FinalsHarding High School
4:30pm Softball SectionsTBD
FRIDAYMAY 27
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
5:45pm / 7:30pm Boys Lacrosse vs. RosemountRosemount High School
SATURDAYMAY 28
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
    

Top two 2023 NFL draft prospects

By: Toby Martin-Kohls

With the 2022 NFL Draft in the rearview, I’ll be taking a way-too-early look at the top two draft prospects for the 2023 draft.

This year’s draft was considered a poor class for quarterbacks by many experts and analysts. Only 1 QB was taken in the first round, which is rare in today’s pro game. QB is considered the most valuable position, so many are picked early.

In next year’s prospective draft class, two quarterbacks are expected to be the first two picks of the NFL draft. 

C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Stroud is a sophomore QB for Ohio State, a football powerhouse that plays in the Big 10 conference. He is expected to go pro after this upcoming season. 

He was a 4-star prospect coming out of Rancho Cucamonga, CA in the class of 2020. He had a mesmerizing senior season throwing for 3,878 yards and 47 touchdowns in just 13 games under Coach Mark Verti. He was the 42nd best prospect in the class and had other offers from other major programs such as: Michigan, Georgia, Oregon, and USC. 

Stroud possesses all the intangibles NFL evaluators are looking for in a pro QB. Ohio State head coach Ryan Day has praised his work ethic and professionalism. He is capable of making throws all over the field but struggled a small bit with accuracy his freshman year. 

Another thing to watch for is his injury history. Stroud suffered a separated joint in his throwing shoulder during the first week of the 2021 season. While this might be a small concern, QB is so valuable to NFL scouts that his talent should overrule his injury history in this case.

Stroud set an Ohio State and Rose Bowl single-game record with 573 passing yards in a come from behind victory over Utah and finished the season with 4,435 passing yards, along with 44 touchdowns and just six interceptions. 

Bryce Young, QB, Alabama

Young is a sophomore QB for Alabama, which is currently the best dynasty in college football. Like Stroud, he is expected to go pro after this upcoming season.

According to the 24/7 Sports Composite rankings, Young was a 5-star prospect and No. 2 nationally, coming out of Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, CA. He chose Alabama over offers from a variety of other big programs such as: USC, Auburn, Georgia, Miami, Ohio State, Oregon, and Texas. 

Young won the Heisman Trophy for best QB in college football in 2021 and also won the Maxwell Award, given to the all-around most outstanding player. He earned the starting job after sitting behind, now pro QB, Mac Jones (New England Patriots). 

He set the Alabama single-season marks for passing yards with 4,872 and 47 touchdowns. Evaluators say he is a smart, athletic passer that has a great arm and has the intangibles. He served as team captain for Alabama last season. He has a natural feel for the pocket, has scrambling ability, and doesn’t make many mistakes. His leadership combined with his football knowledge is a great combination to get picked early, especially at a premium position.

The knock on Young will most likely be his size. He is not the size of a prototypical QB. He stands at 6’ 0” and 194lbs. However, NFL execs and scouts say his athleticism and competitiveness outshine this physical attribute. This size and combo have worked in the NFL before at a high level, with the likes of 9-time Pro Bowler Russell Wilson and 2020 NFL Rookie of the Year Kyler Murray.

It will be interesting to see how mock drafts change over the course of this next season, and which teams will pick these two talented signal-callers. 

Sports schedule for: May 16-21

A 1 month look into the Minnesota Twins season

By: Abby Altman

Image taken from: Startribune.com

In 2021, the Minnesota Twins defined “disappointing”. They went from being back to back division champs, the league leader in home runs, and one of the best teams in baseball, to taking last place in the AL Central in 2021. The 2021 Twins were plagued with injuries, pitching problems, and an offense that seemed to have lost its power. 

In preseason power rankings for 2022, the Twins were consistently found in the lower 20’s. That has quickly changed.

Just 1 month since the lockout ended, and the season began, the Twins now find themselves at #10 in the MLB Power Rankings. 

The Twins started off the first few games in rough shape, but quickly turned it around. 

Beginning the season in a 4 game series against the Mariners, the Twins started 0-2, but came back to split the series 2-2. The 2 game series against the Dodgers was a well expected sweep by the Dodgers, potentially the best team in baseball. 

There were 2 more series before the Twins took their first series win. Minnesota split the series with the Red Sox, and then lost the 3 game series to the Royals 1-2. 

It was the mid April homestand when the Twins got hot. The Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers traveled to Minnesota, where the Twins won 6 games in a row, sweeping 2 division rivals back to back. 

The Twins then traveled to Tampa Bay, where they won the series 2-1 against the Rays, landing a 7 game winning streak. 

In the most recent games, the Twins split a 4 game series with the Orioles and swept the Athletics. The Houston Astros swept the Twins in a 3 game series in Minnesota last week. The Guardians came to Minnesota to end the Twins longest home stand of the year, and the Twins took a 2-1 series victory. 

The Twins are now traveling to Oakland to take on the Athletics for the 2nd time this season. In game 1, the Twins took a 3-1 victory with Chris Archer pitching 4 innings, allowing only 1 run, and the bullpen shutting the A’s down the remainder of the game. 

The Twins .583 record has not come without any injuries or difficulties. Many Twins players have found themselves benched due to injury or COVID, or placed on the IL. 

Players like Carlos Correa, Byron Buxton, Miguel Sanó, Luis Arraez, and many others have missed significant amounts of time due to injury and illness. Because of this, the Twins lineup is often full of young players. 

MLB veterans like Max Kepler, Jorge Polanco, Gio Urshela, and Gary Sanchez are essential parts of the Twins nearly every game, with the amount of young players in the lineup.

Alex Kirriloff, Royce Lewis, Gilberto Celestino, and Jose Miranda are just a few names who are found in the starting lineup more often than you would expect. 

Alex Kirrilof played in 59 games last season, before undergoing a season ending wrist surgery. Before the surgery, Kirilloff was batting .251 with 8 home runs. This season, he is batting just .172 in only 10 games. 

Royce Lewis and Jose Miranda are 2 players the Twins recently called up from AAA. Both infielders, Lewis has been playing shortstop while Correa heals his hand on the 10-day IL. Miranda has been making appearances at 1st base and 3rd base, with Miguel Sano on the IL as well. 

The Twins bats have been slower this year than in previous years, so a large part of the Twins success is provided by the pitching. The Twins have the 5th lowest overall ERA in the MLB, 10th in starting pitchers, and 6th in relief pitchers. 

The Twins have a fairly new pitching staff, acquiring Sonny Gray, Joe Ryan, Chris Archer, Chris Paddack, and Dylan Bundy, all just before the 2022 season. For the majority of the time, these pitchers make up the Twins starting rotation, who have held opponents to 4 or less runs in 70% of this season’s games. 

The AL Central is perhaps one of the worst divisions in the MLB. Because of this, the Twins find themselves in 1st place in the division, 3 games ahead of the White Sox. The Twins have the 5th best record in the AL, and the 9th best record in the MLB. 

Sports schedule for: May 9-14

The “Joe Ryan experience” in full swing 

By: Abby Altman

Image taken from: Startribune.com

In recent history, very few teams have struggled with pitching as much as the Minnesota Twins. In 2021, the Twins were 26th in combined ERA, and 25th for starting pitchers. But nearly 1 month into the 2022 season, as of April 28th, the Twins are 9th in ERA, with a 3.21 average, and their starting pitchers rank 2nd in ERA with a 2.36 average, just behind the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

This new pitching success is propelled by rookie Joe Ryan. The Twins acquired Ryan from the Tampa Bay Rays in 2021, in a trade for Nelson Cruz. 

Joe Ryan was the starting pitcher in game 1 for team USA in the 2020 Olympics (held in 2021). Ryan pitched 10 innings in the Olympics, allowing 9 hits and just 2 runs, accompanied by 8 strikeouts. He finished his time in Tokyo with a 1.74 ERA. 

Ryan’s Olympic success is just one reason that the Twins announced Joe Ryan as the 2022 opening day starter, a week before game 1 against the Mariners. 

Ryan had just 5 career major league starts before this season, where his pitching was nearly untouchable. 

“I think the big leagues is a little bit different than other levels, so there’s probably going to be more pressure in certain situations,” Ryan said. “But at the end of the day, I think last year I just learned it’s still the same game. There’s great hitters up there. Don’t make mistakes. Execute your pitches and it’s still baseball. I’m there for a reason, too.”

There certainly was a good reason that manager Rocco Baldelli chose Ryan to open the season, being the first rookie to do so for the Twins since 1969. 

Ryan held the Mariners to 2 runs, earned off of a 2 run home run in the 1st inning. The Twins offense was unable to provide run security, facing the reigning Cy Young winner Robbie Ray, handing Joe Ryan his 1st loss, 2-1. 

Ryan and the Twins offense rebounded quickly. Ryan came back to pitch again against the Red Sox at Fenway Park a week later. Ryan pitched 6 innings, giving up 4 hits and only 1 run. Ryan also recorded 7 strikeouts in his first win. 

Starting last week for his 3rd game, Joe Ryan has only improved. Ryan was the starting pitcher in game 2 against the Tigers, where the Twins took a 5-0 victory, in Joe Ryan’s first shutout game. 

Backed by an excellent Twins defense, Ryan pitched 7 solid innings, allowing only 1 hit and 0 runs. Ryan recorded 9 strikeouts in his best game of the season. 

Ryan’s most recent appearance on the mound was in game 2 against the Orioles. He pitched 4.2 innings, giving up 6 hits, 2 earned runs, and had 3 strikeouts. 

Joe Ryan currently has a 1.63 ERA, which is the 10th lowest for pitchers in the MLB this season. 

The “Joe Ryan Experience” as the Minnesota Twins call it, is exactly that. An experience. His pitches are located beautifully, his fastball ranges around 95 MPH, and he has his average exit velocity at just 68 MPH. 

Joe Ryan’s rookie season is off to an excellent start, and the Twins and Minnesota fans are all hoping to see how Ryan progresses in his career.

Ryan will pitch again on Tuesday against the Astros.  

Basketball’s ongoing NBA GOAT debate

By: Toby Martin-Khols

Ask any casual basketball fan, diehard NBA fan, or network analyst, who is the Greatest of All-Time (GOAT) and you will probably only hear two names surface. 

The first would be Michael Jordan, also known as MJ, who played 15 professional seasons and won 6 championships with the Chicago Bulls in the 80s and 90s. 

The second would be LeBron James, who is currently playing in his 19th professional season for the Los Angeles Lakers. He formerly played for the Miami Heat for 2 seasons and the Cleveland Cavaliers for 11 seasons.

These two players are the consensus debate on who is the GOAT in NBA history. We can use some stats to try and determine who is better, or who will end up being better. Many analysts say the numbers and stats don’t lie. Which I think is partly true, but always know that statistics can pretty much be used to prove any points, even very very bad ones. 

In the professional sports world, playoff success, or lack thereof, can make a huge difference in their respective legacies. For NFL fans, let’s use Calvin Johnson as an example. He was a HOF WR for the Detroit Lions but only played in two playoff games over a very short 9-year career. He is most likely a consensus top 10 or 15 receiver, but if he had any sort of playoff success he most certainly would have climbed spots.

The stats presented in this article can show who is the better player, but whoever is the greatest player factors in accolades as well.

The question facing everybody today is how far LeBron must go to become the majority GOAT. If he stopped his career when Jordan did and only played 15 seasons, MJ would certainly still be the pick among experts. 

The thing that is tricky about this debate is that LeBron is still playing. Not just playing, but playing at a truly elite level, and at such an older age past his prime. He still has time to further cement his legacy as the GOAT.

Image taken from: JxmyHighroller

First, if you know little about basketball, here are some basic stat comparisons. Looking at this graphic, you would think LeBron obviously trumps MJ in almost every aspect of the game. This actually represents LeBron’s impressive longevity. These statistics don’t prove LeBron is a better shooter or defender than MJ, just that he has had sustained success. But is he still the better player?

Next, let’s look at career averages. Has your mind changed at all? Still, at a glance, LeBron seems to have more advantages than MJ.

Image taken from: JxmyHighroller

Let’s take a look at some advanced metrics. 

Image taken from: JxmyHighroller

Without knowing anything about these wacky abbreviated stats but knowing they are more in-depth than the basic stats, who do you think is a better player now? If we are talking about who is a better player, these metrics tell you the story, taking all the accolades, playoff successes, influence on the game, and opinions out of the conversation. I will break down what all these categories mean.

PER stands for Player Efficiency Rating. It was developed by ESPN columnist John Hollinger. John says, “The PER sums up all a player’s positive accomplishments, subtracts the negative accomplishments, and returns a per-minute rating of a player’s performance.” 

WS/48 stands for win share per 48 minutes and was invented by Justin Kubatko. He says, “A win share is worth one-third of a team win. If a team wins 60 games, there are 180 ‘Win Shares’ to distribute among the players.”

OBPM stands for Offensive Box +/- and DBPM stands for Defensive Box +/-. The plus/minus statistic is a measure of the point differential when players are in and out of a game. It is calculated by taking the difference in the score when the player enters the game and subtracting it from the score when the player exits the game.

VORP stands for Value over Replacement Player. According to ‘Basketball Reference’s’ glossary, VORP is a box score estimate of the points per 100 TEAM possessions that a player contributed above a replacement-level player, translated to an average team, and prorated to an 82-game season.

TS% stands for Total Shooting percentage, which is pretty self-explanatory. The percentage of all their made shots. 

The advanced numbers are close. LeBron is reaching a point in his career where the majority of people and experts could consider him the new GOAT. 

Now, just raw, crazy, and eye-popping numbers are one thing, but what gets you exposure and reputation is accolades. The numbers compliment the accolades, not the other way around. 

Image taken from: JxmyHighroller

Keep in mind MJ played 4 fewer seasons than LeBron, as of 2022. LeBron leads in All-NBA selections but that can also be argued as just a factor of his longevity. 

Eventually, LeBron may very well reach a point where his sheer numbers, consistency, and longevity past his prime, will vault him over the top among experts for the NBA GOAT title. The question is: when does the longevity of LeBron’s brilliance simply outmatch the slightly greater (opinion, based on the stats provided), but much shorter brilliance (career) of MJ?

Note: All statistics in the article can be found on https://www.basketball-reference.com/

Sports schedule for May 2-7

Sports schedule for: Apr 25-30

  ATHLETIC EVENTS SCHEDULE: APRIL 25TH – APRIL 30TH
MONDAYAPRIL 25TH 
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
4:00pm / 4:00pmV: 3:15pm / 5:30pmTennis vs. HumboldtV: Humboldt High School JV: HOME
4:00pm Badminton vs. CentralHOME
4:30pm / 4:30pm Varsity/JV Baseball vs. JohnsonV: HOME JV: Phalen Fields
4:00pm2:45pmSoftball vs. HardingHarding High School
TUESDAYAPRIL 26TH
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
4:00pm2:45pm / 5:30pmBadminton vs. Edina and BurnsvilleBurnsville High School
5:00pm / 6:30pm Girls Lacrosse vs. Columbia HeightsCentral High School
WEDNESDAYAPRIL 27TH
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
1:00pm Boys Varsity Golf TournamentComo Golf Course
1:30pm12:00pm / 5:00pmGirls Varsity Golf 9-Hole TournamentOneka GC
3:30pm Boys JV Golf MatchHighland Nine
4:00pm / 4:00pmV: 3:15pm / 5:30pmTennis vs. JohnsonV: Eastview Park JV: HOME
4:00pm Boys / Girls Track and Field Meet vs.  Como / East Ridge / HardingHOME
4:30pm Softball vs. MPLS WashburnHOME
4:30pm / 4:30pm Varsity/JV Baseball vs. JohnsonV: Arlington and Arkwright JV: HOME
5:30pm / 7:00pm Boys Lacrosse vs. BlakeCentral High School
THURSDAYAPRIL 28TH
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
1:00pm Boys Varsity Golf 9-Hole TournamentPhalen Golf Course
3:30pm Girls JV Golf MatchCedarholm Golf Course
4:00pm Badminton vs. Eden PrairieHOME
4:30pm / 4:30pm  Varsity/C Baseball vs. KennedyV: HOME C: Kennedy High School
5:30pm Girls JV Lacrosse vs.  Southwest ChristianSouthwest Christian
FRIDAYAPRIL 29TH
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
4:00pm Badminton vs. Como ParkHOME
3:30pm / 3:30pmV: 3:15pm / 5:30pmTennis vs. Cretin-Derham HallV: CDH JV: HOME
4:30pm / 4:30pm 4:30pm Baseball vs. Harding  V/C: HOME JV: Harding High School
5:30pm / 7:00pm Boys Lacrosse vs. DenfeldCentral High School
6:30pm5:00pm / 8:00pmSoftball vs. DeLaSalleJane Sage Cowles Stadium
SATURDAYAPRIL 30TH
TIMEBUS TIMESEVENTLOCATION
10:30am / 12:30pm9:30am / 3:30pmTennis Triangular vs. Park and Two RiversPark High School
10:00am / 12:00pm Softball Tournament vs. St. Agnes and MPLS SouthwestHOME
11:00am / 11:00am 1:00pm Baseball vs. SimleySimley High School
12:00pm / 1:30pm Girls Lacrosse vs. Duluth EastDuluth East High School