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stringer bell
07-03-2012, 01:46 PM
1) Trevor Plouffe. While there are some soft spots in his season (strikeouts, L-R splits, hitting in RBI situations) he has become a monster, punishing lefties and finding the seats with regularity. The combination of Plouffe and Willingham has given the Twins righthanded power for the first time in ages. Plouffe also has played more than acceptably as a third basemen, filling the chasm left by Danny Valencia's failure.

2) Scott Diamond. Eleven starts has not been a full season, but Diamond has been good in most of them, and not bad in the others. Diamond has had enough stuff to get batters out and has excelled at throwing strikes, fielding his position and limiting bad innings. Diamond has easily been the best starter and papered over some of the carnage put on the starting staff.

3) Alex Burnett. As usually the last guy in the 'pen the last two years, Burnett was unimpressive. The peripherals still aren't that good, but he has "pitched to contact" and gotten outs. He is throwing more breaking balls and has been rewarded with success. It was pointed out that Burnett has really been good against LH hitters and that really helps the Twins' bullpen.

gunnarthor
07-03-2012, 01:57 PM
Yeah, all three of those guys have been nice positives. I'd also add Revere and Burton. Both are cheap and should be part of the Twins the next few years.

Curt
07-03-2012, 02:00 PM
4. Mauer is back to form... though...

(A) He doesn't hit enough home runs
(B) He isn't catching enough
(C) He doesn't pal around with the media hacks
(D) He isn't writing checks back to the Twins
(E) All of the above

TheLeviathan
07-03-2012, 02:02 PM
Yeah, Mauer, Burton, and Revere belong here too. Revere has really shown some impressive improvements in his plate approach this year.

I'd put Perkins on this list too, mostly because there was part of me that still thought last year was a mirage. But nothing mirage about him - the guy absolutely throws gas.

PseudoSABR
07-03-2012, 02:19 PM
Revere has really shown some impressive improvements in his plate approach this year.
I agree. He's a good hitter, his ability to rope liners over the middle infielders doesn't look accidental. His approach looks smart and consistent. Unless he regresses, it's hard to believe he won't consistently hit .300 given his speed. I think he'll continue to learn to take walks as well...I can dream on .400 OBP can't I?

Top Gun
07-03-2012, 02:28 PM
Twins optioned RHP Liam Hendriks to Triple-A Rochester.

Hendriks gets the boot after giving up four runs over four-plus innings Monday against the Tigers. He now has an ugly 7.04 ERA over eight starts in the majors this season. Cole De Vries was called up from Triple-A Rochester in a corresponding roster move.

Hendriks is so worthless atleast Cole can pitch.

TheLeviathan
07-03-2012, 02:46 PM
I agree. He's a good hitter, his ability to rope liners over the middle infielders doesn't look accidental. His approach looks smart and consistent. Unless he regresses, it's hard to believe he won't consistently hit .300 given his speed. I think he'll continue to learn to take walks as well...I can dream on .400 OBP can't I?

I've been as down on him as anyone, still am probably more pessimistic than many, but his approach doesn't look like a fluke. He looks like he knows exactly what he is doing. I'm not convinced yet, but the line-drives and more solid contact seems to be vastly improved.

Like they said on the broadcast - really want to see that walk rate improve if he can. Would live to see him swipe bases a bit more often too. Not sure if he's on a leash or not.

jorgenswest
07-03-2012, 03:04 PM
Wow! I think some of you are in the wrong thread.

Positive that we can carry into next year.

Mauer leading league in OBP.
The outfield
Plouffe at 3b
Doumit's bat
Diamond
Perkins, Burton, Burnett, Duensing in the pen

These guys keep me watching every day. I look forward to adding a few more names to this list in the second half.

Curt
07-03-2012, 03:20 PM
5. Free agents Willingham, Doumit and Carroll carrying their weight (and possibly then some).

Highabove
07-03-2012, 03:34 PM
This a funny year. It just doesn't feel like your watching a last place Team.

Brock Beauchamp
07-03-2012, 03:38 PM
This a funny year. It just doesn't feel like your watching a last place Team.

I'm not sure... I'd say this season feels more like the Twins are bouncing between "62 Mets" and "69 Mets".

Except that the "62 Mets" role gets played about twice as often.

stringer bell
07-03-2012, 03:52 PM
This a funny year. It just doesn't feel like your watching a last place Team.

We are watching a last place team because the starting pitching has been a near-total failure. Everything else about this club is just as good as anyone in the AL Central.

Thrylos
07-03-2012, 04:01 PM
A few more positives (agree with the ones mentioned here) , but are hidden...

- Span is not bothered by concussions
- Ditto for Morneau
- Casilla finally got it together with the glove (but unfortunately he does not get the playing time he deserves to get consistency with the stick)
- Cole De Vries (who actually has the second highest K/9 for starters after FranKKKKKKKKKKKKie) is actually silencing the experts who thought that he was organizational filler
- this front office did a couple things that has not done before during the season: a. cut their second highest paid free agent acquisition, b. extended a player during the season and c. kept another high paid player (Nishioka) where he belongs (AAA)
- Gardenhire and his buddies did not get extended yet.

Still a long season left and I am sure that there will be many more positives.

TwinVike61
07-03-2012, 04:10 PM
How about the demotions of Valencia (and Blackburn hopefully)?

Cap'n Piranha
07-03-2012, 04:14 PM
Maybe it's just me, but I think the 2012 Twins are 2 good-to-decent SP's away from being a legit contender in the AL Central. The bullpen has been outstanding so far, and there are actually a number of options in the minors that could potentially help/eat innings (Thielbar, Watts, Pugh, Deduno). The lineup is the deepest in the central, with speed and OBP at the top, and power int he middle (on a side note, what kind of odds whould you have gotten in Vegas before the season for the following bet--on July 1, Trevor Plouffe and Josh Willingham will have more combined homers than Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. 100-1? 500-1?). If they can just find 2-3 more guys who can go 6-7 innings each time with an ERA at or under 4, I truly believe this team is back to being the class of the AL Central. As for class of the AL? That's another matter.

CDog
07-03-2012, 06:51 PM
This a funny year. It just doesn't feel like your watching a last place Team.

Even at the start of the year when things were going bad, someone who doesn't follow the Twins asked if they were the worst team in the league and I said, "They have the worst record in the league, but I don't think they're the worst team." That was probably more unfounded optimism than anything, but I think it's sorta the same as you said. AND...they also have been an above .500 team for over two months now. Man, that makes me sad that they started so so so so so poorly.

Nick Nelson
07-03-2012, 07:16 PM
Diamond is a big one. I don't think anyone viewed him as a future rotation staple after this first year in the organization, but he's really shown a lot this season. Surely he won't maintain a sub-3 ERA in the long-term, but his abilities to throw strikes and get grounders are legit and portend at least reasonable success going forward.

glunn
07-03-2012, 07:16 PM
There are a lot of positives here. With some better starting pitching and a better shortstop this could be a team to be feared, at least in the Central. Hopefully, Dozier can improve and the Twins can get some better starters.

Fire Dan Gladden
07-03-2012, 07:46 PM
Diamond is a big one. I don't think anyone viewed him as a future rotation staple after this first year in the organization, but he's really shown a lot this season. Surely he won't maintain a sub-3 ERA in the long-term, but his abilities to throw strikes and get grounders are legit and portend at least reasonable success going forward.

Funny, I could have sworn I saw this exact same comment about Nick Blackburn a few years back.

gunnarthor
07-03-2012, 07:52 PM
Funny, I could have sworn I saw this exact same comment about Nick Blackburn a few years back.

Well, Blackburn did give the team a few pretty solid years.

Craig in MN
07-03-2012, 09:04 PM
Well, Blackburn did give the team a few pretty solid years.

And they're paying for that now....

Thrylos
07-03-2012, 09:29 PM
Well, Blackburn did give the team a few pretty solid years.

True, if you define "few pretty solid years" as "a single just below average season"

Oxtung
07-03-2012, 09:53 PM
True, if you define "few pretty solid years" as "a single just below average season"

True, if you define "a single just below average season" as "2 years of almost exactly average baseball".

snepp
07-03-2012, 10:06 PM
True, if you define "few pretty solid years" as "a single just below average season"

A couple quick questions, then I'll leave this alone.


Is 200 innings "just below average" for a starting pitcher?

Was a 4.00 ERA in 2008 or 2009 "just below average" for a starting pitcher?


If you can answer yes to both of those questions, without making a fool of yourself in the process, I'll agree with you.

shs_59
07-03-2012, 10:16 PM
Diamond is a big one. I don't think anyone viewed him as a future rotation staple after this first year in the organization, but he's really shown a lot this season. Surely he won't maintain a sub-3 ERA in the long-term, but his abilities to throw strikes and get grounders are legit and portend at least reasonable success going forward.

Well Nick TRUTHFULLY , i actually did , I was one of the few Twins fans that LOVED the Bullock for Diamond swap.

anytime you can get a pitcher, southpaw as is, from the BRAVOS org. who throws stikes at THOSE rates, for a guy who ....while throws really hard , is a reliever who can't throw it over the plate.

sure ARL in that case was a factor, but i thought the Twins scouts did a good - great job scalping a player, OBVIOUSLY, undervalued from an org. Who at the time PUMPED out pitching prospects ....Diamond from the scrapheap that while a little older was actually a hell of a prospect

for a guy in Bullock who was COMPLETELY a suspect (he literally can not throw the baseball over the plate at all) *not saying he won't one day, but likely he'll never be an MLB factor.

diehardtwinsfan
07-03-2012, 10:31 PM
A couple quick questions, then I'll leave this alone.


Is 200 innings "just below average" for a starting pitcher?

Was a 4.00 ERA in 2008 or 2009 "just below average" for a starting pitcher?


If you can answer yes to both of those questions, without making a fool of yourself in the process, I'll agree with you.


hehe.. nice. The thing about that Blackburn is that he seemed to be able to dial it up and get some strikeouts in key situations. This version seems allergic to them (though the K/9 from those years and now would say otherwise). Diamond, while he won't be a K monster, is getting a few more than Nickie...

YourHouseIsMyHouse
07-04-2012, 01:41 AM
Funny, I could have sworn I saw this exact same comment about Nick Blackburn a few years back.

Good thing they are completely different pitchers.

diehardtwinsfan
07-04-2012, 10:47 AM
Good thing they are completely different pitchers.


how so? both are ground ball machines who put things in play... when Blackburn was good, he was the same way. The problem is that these type of pitchers are walking a very fine line. I'll admit to drinking the Blackburn koolaid when he did it two years in a row and was not nearly as upset about that contract as some others... but since then, Blackie has shown us that this fine line is in fact a fine line. Diamond is the same way. I have no problems counting on him as a #4/5 guy for the next couple of seasons, but to center a rotation around him would be foolish. Unless he starts getting a few more Ks, he's going to regress. If the Twins fancy themselves as competitors next season, then they need to get some higher upside starters to go with Diamond.

drjim
07-04-2012, 10:54 AM
I would say a positive is that there appears to be enough bullpen depth that the Twins won't need to sign a reliever to a major league contract in the offseason, so all free money can go to the rotation (and maybe a RF if the Twins trade Span).

powrwrap
07-04-2012, 11:16 AM
In last 60 days, Twins are 28-27.

Detroit is 26-30.

KC is 28-26.

Cleveland is 27-29.

Chicago is 31-23.