Twins Believe Sean Mooney Will Be Worth The Wait

Sean Mooney was drafted four summers ago, so it’s a little strange to suggest that he’s just now ready to show his true self.

“To me, it feels like we’re about to find out who he is, what kind of pitcher he’s going to be,” Twins vice president for player development Jeremy Zoll said. “We’ve really only had glimpses. He’s one of those guys you can’t wait to see.”

Mooney was recovering from Tommy John surgery when he was drafted out of St. John’s in the 12th round in 2019, so the Twins knew that summer was out. Then the pandemic canceled the 2020 season.

Mooney finally took the mound in 2021. After such a long layoff, the Twins limited him to about three innings per week. Neck and shoulder soreness sidelined him for a couple of long stretches during his season at High-A Cedar Rapids last summer, and he spent the final month of the season in the bullpen.

Still, his 153 strikeouts in 102 career innings have the Twins eager to discover what Mooney, now 25, can do with full health.

“He has one of the most deceptive and effective fastballs in our system. He generates a ton of swings-and-misses,” Zoll said of a pitch that averages 92 mph but can hit 95. “He has some sneaky angles coming at you, and hitters have a hard time seeing it. Lots of ugly swings.”

At Cedar Rapids, Mooney added a pair of slider-like breaking balls, Zoll said, “pitches that have a lot of big, horizontal sweep to them.”

Those pitches pushed his walk rate up to 4.5 per nine innings, but “he’s working really hard to get them in the strike zone more often. They pair really well with his fastball, so if they’re in the zone, he’s going to be a handful.”

Mooney figures to start the season at Double-A Wichita.

“It’s too bad he lost so much time,” Zoll said, “but we believe he’ll be worth the wait.”

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