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Friday Four: Liriano, Top Prospects, International Signings, and Some Dongs

Detroit Tigers v Minnesota Twins Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Welcome back to another edition of the Friday Four! I normally like to open these with a funny anecdote, but I’ve been in a bit of a slump recently. I tried using my wife’s keyboard, made some tweaks to my typing stance, even tried out Jason Giambi’s gold thong for good measure, but no luck. Please enjoy this video of the 1991 Twins behaving in the most 1991 way possible instead.

Liriano Hangs ‘Em Up

On Monday, Francisco Liriano officially announced his retirement, to which many responded, “he was still playing?”

While the last time Liriano was on a major league mound was in 2019 with Pittsburgh, more recently, he was also in spring training with Toronto this past March, but was unable to break camp. This week, he decided to make his retirement official.

Liriano will always be a Twins legend for his 2006 season when he had a 2.16 ERA/2.55 FIP and 10.7 strikeouts per 9 IP. The All-Star formed a dynamic duo with Johan Santana to lead the Twins to the AL Central title and the third best record in baseball. That season ended tragically for Franky, with Tommy John’s costing him the end of that year and all of the 2007 season.

Of course, we can’t write about Francisco Liriano without mentioning his no-hitter in 2011. It was truly one of the most chaotic pitching performances I can ever recall. He threw 123 pitches, 66 strikes to 57 balls, walked 6 batters, and only struck out two, which (let me check the analytics on this…) is not a good performance! In fact, Liriano’s no-hitter has the worst game score of any in baseball history.

While he never quite regained his electric magic of the 2006 season, Liriano still put together a very solid career. His Twins tenure was up and down, but he had a stellar four year stretch for Pittsburgh, including leading the Bucs back to the playoffs for the first time since 1992. He also won a title in 2017 with Houston, pitching out of their bullpen.

Best of luck in retirement Francisco! Thanks for the great memories along the way.

BA Top Prospects

ICYMI: Baseball America released their 2022 Top 100 Prospects. Wondering where your favorite baby Twins sit on the list? You came to the right place.

  • No. 47 - SS/OF Austin Martin
  • No. 82 - SS Royce Lewis
  • No. 85 - RHP Jordan Balazovic
  • No. 86 - RHP Joe Ryan
  • No. 90 - INF Jose Miranda

If you’ve been following our annual Twinkie Town prospect vote, our community rankings are fairly similar so far, with our top five prospects being, in order, Lewis, Martin, Ryan, Balazovic, and Miranda.

The biggest disconnect between Twins fans and the national media seems to be the fall of Royce Lewis. While he hasn’t played in 2 years due to injury and the cancellation of the 2020 minor league season, he was still the first overall pick in the 2017 draft and a consensus top 10 prospect as recently as 2019.

Putting Lewis at 82 seems particularly harsh for a guy with all the tools in the world. While he does need to show some health and ability to reclaim his throne, I still think he’s the Twins’ top prospect. Or, to quote Logan Roy, he’s my number one boy.

A Famous Younger Brother

While major league transactions are on pause due to the lockout, the minor leagues can conduct business as usual. The international signing period opened earlier this week and the Twins announced seven new players that they have added to the organization.

Yasser Mercedes, MLB’s 17th ranked international prospect, headlines the class, along with Yilber Herrera (35th). While it hasn’t been officially announced, the Twins have also reportedly reached a deal with Bryan Acuña, the 39th ranked prospect.

If that last name sounds familiar to you, it’s because Bryan is the younger brother of Atlanta Braves superstar Ronald Acuña Jr. With any international signing, the long-term future of these players is next to impossible to predict. They are teenagers with tools, but little real baseball under their belts. Regardless, let’s watch this video below and pretend that Bryan is going to turn into an exact replica of Ronald, but on the Twins. That would be nice.

Ding Dong

Finally, if you’re ever looking for a fun trip down Twins memory lane, may I recommend the stellar Twitter account @TwinsDingers. Whoever runs this account has quickly become one of my favorite people.

TwinsDingers posts all the iconic dongs in Twins history, along with some of the least iconic. From dingers and bombs, to bombas and dongs, enjoy a small sample of their most recent work.

Any friend of Brian Dozier is a friend of mine.