Minnesota Twins

Randy Rosario has wasted no time endearing himself to the Cubs and their fans

Randy Rosario has wasted no time endearing himself to the Cubs and their fans

ST. LOUIS — It didn't take long for Randy Rosario to endear himself to the Cubs clubhouse.

It helps when you find instant success (a 0.68 ERA), but the results haven't stopped the 24-year-old left-handed pitcher from trying to learn all he can while he's up here in Chicago.

Take, for example, when he discovered this week what GOAT means:

Rosario's already carved out a special place in the heart of the Cubs fanbase and he's only been up here for two weeks.

He's also turned the heads of the front office with his immediate confidence.

"He's got good stuff that moves a lot," Theo Epstein said. "A lot of downward movement. It gives him a big margin for error to go attack hitters, even at this level. He's making the most of this opportunity."

Rosario is a big part of the group of "Iowa pitchers" who have done an incredible job filling out the last couple spots of the Cubs' bullpen in Chicago this season.

Selected off waivers from the Minnesota Twins in November, Rosario sported an 0.47 ERA in Triple-A Iowa to begin the year before coming up and dominating at the big-league level.

All told between the two levels, he's allowed just 2 earned runs on 15 hits in 32.2 innings, good for an 0.55 ERA and 0.86 WHIP. He also hasn't allowed a homer at either stop.

Rosario doesn't have any special reason why he's found such immediate success in the Cubs organization beyond the fact that he's just comfortable here. He's credited Pedro Strop, in particular, with mentoring him but loved the way everybody has treated him from the minor-league staff to the big-league players, coaches, front office members, etc. 

"As soon as you feel comfortable, everything's gonna be fine," Rosario said. "If I feel comfortable, this is what I can do."

Rosario, who signed out of the Dominican Republic and spent 7 years in the Twins organization, is under Cubs team control through the 2023 season. He gives the Cubs a lot of options out of the bullpen both as a lefty and as a guy who can throw multiple innings if needed.

He's obviously not going to have an 0.68 ERA forever, but the Cubs believe he can continue to find success in the majors.

"He's throwing a lot of strikes," Maddon said. "A lot of chases off the strikes. A lot of movement, really good movement on all his pitches. And his demeanor has been really calm. 

"There's nothing overwhelming for him right now. I love that. Because of that, I think it can continue. It's not his first rodeo. He's been around a little bit even though he's not been in the big leagues a lot. 

"He's got a lot of self-confidence and I really like that about him."

In latest edition of Ricky's Boys Don't Quit, Trayce Thompson completes White Sox comeback with walk-off homer

5-3_trayce_thompson_gatorade_usat.jpg
USA TODAY

In latest edition of Ricky's Boys Don't Quit, Trayce Thompson completes White Sox comeback with walk-off homer

Have you guys ever heard that Ricky's Boys Don't Quit?

There was yet another edition of that on Thursday night at Guaranteed Rate Field. The White Sox came back from a four-run deficit to beat the Minnesota Twins 6-5 in walk-off fashion.

Acquired by the White Sox on April 19, Trayce Thompson crushed the game-winning homer to send White Sox fans home happy.

It was the 27-year-old's third career walk-off homer, and what a bomb it was.

Yolmer Sanchez was so excited, he gave himself a Gatorade bath. Sure!

Gatorade for everyone!

White Sox opposition research: What's there to know about the Minnesota Twins?

0327-paul-molitor.jpg
USA TODAY

White Sox opposition research: What's there to know about the Minnesota Twins?

What’s there to know about the Minnesota Twins?

Basically, know that the Twins mean business.

Whether business is what they’ll end up achieving remains to be seen, but give the folks up in the Land of 10,000 Lakes some credit: They are in it to win it.

The Twins’ rebuilding effort yielded some perhaps unexpected fruit last season, as they were the team to emerge from the malaise that was the chase for the second American League wild card. They played the New York Yankees, got knocked around, and went home after one game. But the Twins are here to stay for a bit, it would seem. Despite just 85 wins and because of the mostly mediocre-to-bad AL, a return trip to the postseason is nowhere near out of the question — and one could go as far as saying it’s expected.

The Twins made some very interesting offseason acquisitions in an offseason unlike any other. All the lutefisk and hotdish in the world couldn’t lure Yu Darvish to Minnesota, but Jake Odorizzi (picked up in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays) and Lance Lynn are solid additions to a rotation that was in need of an upgrade. Odorizzi managed to keep his ERA under 4.00 over the past four seasons while pitching in the AL East. Lynn has a career 3.38 ERA.

The bullpen got a bolstering, too, adding two veterans at the back end in Fernando Rodney — forgettably a former Cub and unforgettably a wielder of invisible arrows and very visible plantains — and Addison Reed, the former White Sox closer. The Twins got even more White Sox-y and added Zach Duke to their ‘pen, too.

And all this focus was on the pitching staff this offseason because the Twinkies’ lineup is a good one. Last season, Brian Dozier hit 34 home runs. Joe Mauer was as reliable as ever. Miguel Sano and Eddie Rosario combined for 55 dingers. And the lone newcomer to the starting nine, Logan Morrison, was silently strong with the Rays. In 2017, he bashed 38 homers, reached base at a .353 clip and had the 16th-best OPS in the AL.

Now, all this Twins hype doesn’t mean these guys are postseason locks. Indeed they seem to be in the most precarious position of any of the preseason AL playoff contenders, with the Houston Astros, Cleveland Indians, New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox discussed as near sure things. Minnesotans have plenty to worry about, including how Ervin Santana’s recently operated-on finger will heal, how long this four-man rotation thing will hold up and how Sano will play after being under investigation by the commissioner’s office all offseason (baseball recently announced it didn’t find enough to suspend Sano following an assault allegation).

But the sheer fact that the Twins are a preseason contender is good enough news for those traveling in the North Country fair. After all, this team lost 103 games in 2016. Now they’re legit.

2017 record: 85-77, second place in AL Central, lost AL wild card game

Offseason additions: Jake Odorizzi, Lance Lynn, Logan Morrison, Fernando Rodney, Addison Reed, Zach Duke

Offseason departures: Bartolo Colon, Hector Santiago, Matt Belisle, Glen Perkins

X-factor: The Twins still don't have a top-of-the-line ace like they would've had Yu Darvish been a bigger Prince fan. But don't sleep on Jose Berrios, who was good in 25 starts last season, just his second in the bigs. He finished with a 3.89 ERA. Berrios was better in the first half than the second half, but if he can stitch together a consistent season, that Twins rotation suddenly doesn't look so in need of further upgrades.

Projected lineup:

1. Brian Dozier, 2B
2. Joe Mauer, 1B
3. Miguel Sano, 3B
4. Eddie Rosario, LF
5. Eduardo Escobar, SS
6. Logan Morrison, DH
7. Max Kepler, RF
8. Byron Buxton, CF
9. Jason Castro, C

Projected rotation:

1. Jake Odorizzi
2. Kyle Gibson
3. Jose Berrios
4. Lance Lynn

Prediction: Second place in AL Central, no playoffs

Catch up on the AL:

Oakland Athletics
Texas Rangers
Seattle Mariners
Los Angeles Angels
Houston Astros
Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles
Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Minnesota Twins

Catch up on the NL:

San Diego Padres
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Francisco Giants
Los Angeles Dodgers
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves
New York Mets
Washington Nationals
Pittsburgh Pirates