The Minnesota Twins front office has made their second trade of Trade Deadline Day 2022. The Cincinnati Reds are sending over RHP Tyler Mahle to bolster the Minnesota starting rotation while the Twins will send Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Spencer Steer, and Steve Hajjar in return. Jon Heyman had the news first.
Mahle will come to the Twins as much-needed help in a depleted starting rotation. Mahle has spent his entire major-league career with the Reds and, so far, has posted a 4.40 ERA/3.60 FIP in 104.1 innings of work across 19 starts. His 9.8 K/9 is a bit of a drop from the past few seasons, but his HR/9 has dropped slightly in that time as well. One thing to note is his home-and-away splits. Pitching at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati is not the most friendly of parks for pitchers, where the Twins new right-hander started 12 games this season with a 4.76 ERA, nine homers allowed, and an opponent’s slash line of .257/.333/.453 (.766). He’s fared better on the road, where he’s put up a 3.83 ERA, three homers allowed, and has opponents hitting only .189/.244/.318 (.561) against him.
The righty features a four-seam fastball that goes through batters’ swings more often than not. He also throws a splitter around 86 MPH and will mix in a cutter and slider. The outfield will keep busy as Mahle is a fly-ball pitcher. Also a key fact to note: he is under control through next season.
As noted, the Twins give up Steer, Encarnacion-Strand, and Hajjar. Steer was drafted in the third round of the 2019 MLB Draft and was in this season’s Futures Game. Ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Twins’ number seven prospect, the infielder was hitting .307/.385/.591 with eight homers and 30 RBI in Double-A Wichita before being bumped up to Triple-A St Paul. He hit a respectable .242/.345/.485 with 12 homers and 32 RBI. Steer has seen time at second base, third base, and shortstop this season at both levels.
Encarnacion-Strand, ranked number 23 in MLB Pipeline, was raking in both High-A Cedar Rapids and Wichita this season as well. The corner infielder batted .296/.370/.599 with 20 homers and 68 RBI in 74 games for the Kernels while he saw only 13 games with the Wind Surge, batting .333/.400/.685 with five homers and 17 RBI.
Hajjar was the Twins’ second-round pick last year and ranked number seven in Minnesota’s system. The southpaw spent most of this season in Low-A Fort Myers, pitching 43.2 innings of 2.47 ERA ball, allowing only three homers while walking 22 batters. His strikeout numbers stand out the most - getting batters to back to the bench at a 14.6 K/9 rate.
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