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Andrew Luck retiring, Mauer and others. A perspective.

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:32 AM
In a stunning announcement, Andrew Luck, 29 years old, announced today be was retiring from the NFL. Maybe I should state he is 29 years...
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Front Page: Twins Game Recap (8/24): Sano 3-Run Bomba, Bu...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:31 AM
The Twins trailed the Tigers 4-1 heading into the bottom of the fifth inning tonight at Target Field, but Miguel Sano smashed a go-ahead...
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Front Page: Twins Minor League Report (8/24): Gray, Webb...

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 07:26 AM
In the Twins' minor leagues on Saturday night, the E-Twins were on the road but got a huge late-inning home run to take a lead. In Cedar...
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Front Page: Twins Game Recap (8/23): Berríos, Bullpen Can...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:14 AM
Kicking off the Players Weekend, the Twins hosted the first of a three-game series against the team with the worst record and offense in...
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7 things nobody saw coming this season

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:40 AM
Read this article and was not surprised to see this disclaimer (it is, after all, the Twins, right???) : "Now, obviously, there are envir...
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Is this the Real Schoop?

Brian Dozier left the Minnesota Twins during the 2018 season. After being dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers following months of speculation, his tenure in Twins Territory had come to an end. There was little reason to expect him back on a free agent deal over the winter, and the reality looked like the organization was ready to move on from the self-made slugger. That conclusion seemed forgone, but there was a question regarding how he would be replaced.
Image courtesy of © Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Jorge Polanco missed the first half of last year due to a PED suspension, and his arm has always appeared questionable from a position demanding strength. There was thought that Jorge could slide to second with Minnesota filling the void by inking a Freddy Galvis- or Jose Iglesias-type shortstop in the winter. It didn’t play out that way, a second basemen was acquired, and Polanco stayed put.

The Baltimore Orioles sent their All -Star second basemen, Jonathan Schoop, to the Brewers midseason. Like Dozier, he was a one-organization player, and had turned himself into a slugger at an offensively deprived position. Also, like Dozier, success was something that slipped away from him after reaching the top of the mountain. An All-Star in 2017 with an .841 OPS, Schoop posted a .720 OPS in 2018 with Baltimore before dropping to .577 in 46 games with the Brewers. When the dust had settled on his season, he was non-tendered even though Milwaukee had no other obvious answer to start in his place.

Looking outside the box, and waiting for an opportunity to pounce, Derek Falvey picked Schoop as the answer to Minnesota’s vacancy. Knowing the club wasn’t ready for Nick Gordon to make an impact, and seemingly not keen on the shortstop options, the decision was made to believe in a bounce back. Despite 2017 being the All-Star breakthrough, Schoop owned a .795 OPS from 2015-2017, and did so while averaging 24 long balls a year. If there was going to be a drop from what Dozier was to what Schoop could be, the impact wouldn’t be much.

We’re only 20 games into the current season, but Schoop has already outperformed his 0.5 fWAR from a year ago. He’s never been a guy who takes walks, but there’s been a 3% dip in the strikeout rate from 2018. It took a little while for the first ball to leave the yard, but a career best 41.8% hard-hit rate suggests there should be plenty more to follow. We could stand to see a bit more plate discipline in hopes of doing more with the hard-hit rate, but the inputs are in place for a productive year.

Manning second base, he follows in the footsteps of Logan Forsythe before him, and so far is proving to be an upgrade for Minnesota. Arm strength isn’t an issue, and Schoop has produced positive DRS numbers each of the past two seasons. It’s not like he’ll be up for any glove-based awards but helping Polanco up the middle is more than a fair expectation.

This is the best start Schoop has ever seen, and that’s a positive development for a guy only a year removed from his first All-Star appearance. In his final year of arbitration, Minnesota doesn’t have team control going into 2020. They banked on this working out for this season, and so far, it has. If this is the consistent version we’re set to see the rest of the way, all parties must be thrilled.

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30 Comments

If he keeps this up throughout the year, why not sign him for a 3 or 4 year contract? Gordon is not capable of producing what Schoop or Polanco can at at the plate. It's probably going to be a couple years before Lewis is ready (not a great start to his year) nor is there a need to rush him.

On a side note, I'm really liking the starting 9! I'm liking what Cron has brought to the table with his surprisingly good glove work; already mentioned what Schoop is doing; Polanco is one of the hottest hitters in baseball right now; Rosario tops even Polanco in that category; Buxton is not a black hole at the plate and is running around everywhere; Garver is destroying the ball; and oh yeah...some dude named Nelson Cruz continues to do his thing with the bat...wow!
    • birdwatcher, jokin, Danchat and 7 others like this
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Channing1964
Apr 25 2019 04:21 PM
Im not willing to crown him a silver slugger award winner yet, but he is a weapon I'm glad to have. If he can post numbers somewhere in the middle of his 2017-18 ones it'll be aight. If he comes close to 2017... RIGHT ON!!
    • DocBauer likes this

Nice early season essay, but lets wait before we start talking extension or putting him into our future plans.

    • jokin, Shaitan, bighat and 2 others like this

Is which Schoop the real Schoop?

 

The .143/.200/.179 hitter in 9 games at Target Field?

Or the .372/.426/.791 hitter in 11 games on the road?

 

I'm thinking the real Schoop hasn't showed himself yet. Those splits are bizarre.

    • bighat likes this
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oldguywithanitch
Apr 25 2019 07:34 PM

Is which Schoop the real Schoop?

The .143/.200/.179 hitter in 9 games at Target Field?
Or the .372/.426/.791 hitter in 11 games on the road?

I'm thinking the real Schoop hasn't showed himself yet. Those splits are bizarre.

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oldguywithanitch
Apr 25 2019 07:35 PM
Pretty crappy weather for our home games so far
    • birdwatcher, gil4, howieramone2 and 3 others like this
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yarnivek1972
Apr 25 2019 08:32 PM

If he keeps this up throughout the year, why not sign him for a 3 or 4 year contract? Gordon is not capable of producing what Schoop or Polanco can at at the plate. It's probably going to be a couple years before Lewis is ready (not a great start to his year) nor is there a need to rush him.

On a side note, I'm really liking the starting 9! I'm liking what Cron has brought to the table with his surprisingly good glove work; already mentioned what Schoop is doing; Polanco is one of the hottest hitters in baseball right now; Rosario tops even Polanco in that category; Buxton is not a black hole at the plate and is running around everywhere; Garver is destroying the ball; and oh yeah...some dude named Nelson Cruz continues to do his thing with the bat...wow!


How much are you willing to invest on a guy who, if Buxton continues to improve, could be hitting 8th or 9th? Pitching is still, by far, the greater need on this team. If Gordon doesn’t look like he will be ready in 2020 (even as a 9 hole hitter), I’m fine with another stopgap move simply because the bat doesn’t have to be that potent.

I like what I see right now. I also view him as a placeholder. With Polanco locked up, I don't think you tie down both middle infield spots considering that there are 3 1st round SS's developing in the minors.

    • bighat likes this
A note, I don't think the Twins bet on 1yr of Schoop. I think they would have been happy for an option or second year. I think Schoop is betting on himself for a 1yr.

That being said, two things you never do, or hesitantly do, is bet on a guy coming off a career year, or a poor year. The Twins have done both this year, and done so smartly.

1] Dime a dozen 1B power hitting types. Cron always put up solid numbers, but didn't play daily, got bounced or played behind other guys, but put up solid numbers. He finally got more than 500 AB in 2018, made some reported adjustments, had a career year, and was known by his new manager. The results, so far, are somewhat expected. He is providing a solid bat with power. Unexpected is just how good he has been defensively! Did anyone see or expect this? He looks as good as anything we saw Mauer do at 1B, or as anyone we have seen for YEARS at 1B. (Except for a few guys, we've been spoiled at 1B defensively for most of 30+ years).

2] Schoop plays a nice 2B. A lot of people want to scare you with a tremendous 2017 vs a really poor and injury plagued 2018. What about a couple very nice and productive years in '15 and '16? Only 27 and 2 really good years, one great year, and one bad season and he's some question mark?

Come on! Lewis is a year or two away. Gordon has real potential but is a year away, especially due to injury digging his 2019 start. Despite real infield depth, the other talent is a couple years away. This was a great move! I hope we re-sign him, already, for another season or two.
    • Blake, TNTwinsFan, howieramone2 and 3 others like this

Poor Dozier, he's hitting just .183 with a paltry .632 OPS. He's always a slow starter, but I didn't suspect his career would take such a 180 degree turn into becoming this so quickly.

 

I'd just keep giving Schoop starts and see how he goes for a full season. We have the money over future years to sign him to an extension, though I'd be wary if Polanco ends up as a long-term 2B. 

    • DocBauer likes this

Poor Dozier, he's hitting just .183 with a paltry .632 OPS. He's always a slow starter, but I didn't suspect his career would take such a 180 degree turn into becoming this so quickly.
 
I'd just keep giving Schoop starts and see how he goes for a full season. We have the money over future years to sign him to an extension, though I'd be wary if Polanco ends up as a long-term 2B.


Also feel bad for Dozier. Really like and respect the guy and wish him the best. Hope he turns it around.

In regard to Polanco, always felt he had the athleticism to play SS. Always felt be was a bit behind the 8 ball in how he was used and bounced around. I will give Molitor credit because he believed the kid could play the position and hit. I think we all realize the offensive ability and potential. But his defense keeps getting better and better.

I have ABSOLUTELY no problem moving him to 2B in 1-3yrs in favor of Lewis or Javier. (Whole different arguement). But, a believer in Schoop then and now, what would be wrong with this pair for the next couple of years?

IMO, worst case scenario is too much talent on hand and you have to make a move to open a spot via trade. Would suck to have that kind of problem, right?
    • jokin, snepp, WLFINN and 1 other like this
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Taildragger8791
Apr 26 2019 01:00 AM
I feel bad for Dozier on a human level, but as far as being a professional baseball player I’m not surprised he's struggling. He had a charmed run but was always so dead focused on pull power that it was bound to bite him I’m the rear. As it often did between his hot streaks. As for Schoop, I don’t think he’d be prohibitively expensive and I don’t think you ever worry about blocking “prospects” that you don’t know when or if they’ll arrive. This team also doesn’t have the pitching to accept unnecessary wildcards in any given lineup slots next year. Sign the known quantity and trade him later if you must.
    • birdwatcher and Channing1964 like this
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Channing1964
Apr 26 2019 01:47 AM

I feel bad for Dozier on a human level, but as far as being a professional baseball player I’m not surprised he's struggling. He had a charmed run but was always so dead focused on pull power that it was bound to bite him I’m the rear. As it often did between his hot streaks.

As for Schoop, I don’t think he’d be prohibitively expensive and I don’t think you ever worry about blocking “prospects” that you don’t know when or if they’ll arrive. This team also doesn’t have the pitching to accept unnecessary wildcards in any given lineup slots next year. Sign the known quantity and trade him later if you must.

Brian Dozier a. k.a LoConnor was cool. He is an example of a player that will never be as valuable to any other organization. After watching his body language last year when he pinch hit for the Dodgers in the World Series it was clear something had broken his spirit. Whether it was the Dodger's clubhouse or leaving Minnesota I don't know. It's prolly never gonna be the same for him anywhere else.

How much are you willing to invest on a guy who, if Buxton continues to improve, could be hitting 8th or 9th? Pitching is still, by far, the greater need on this team. If Gordon doesn’t look like he will be ready in 2020 (even as a 9 hole hitter), I’m fine with another stopgap move simply because the bat doesn’t have to be that potent.


I guess I'm suggesting that School could be more than a stopgap...having the middle of the field solidified for a few years with Polanco, Schoop, and Buxton is the stuff of Championships. They're all relatively long and about to move into their prime years. Like other posters above have mentioned, prospects are just that until they prove themselves; go with the known quantity. I would argue that in doing so in this case, it allows the Twins Front Office to go after that much needed pitching (whatever known quantities that are available at the time.) I would also have to think that having a quality lineup and defense would go a long way to signing said known pitching quantities.

If Schoop continues to produce I vote for extending him a couple years.

 

Poor Dozier, he's hitting just .183 with a paltry .632 OPS. He's always a slow starter, but I didn't suspect his career would take such a 180 degree turn into becoming this so quickly.

 

 

 

When I was a child and sad. My mom used to say: "don't make that sad face... it might stay that way". 

 

I wish my Mom would have spoke to Brian Dozier about those long slumps he'd go into.:)

    • rdehring likes this
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killertwinfan
Apr 26 2019 06:58 AM

I don't feel bad for Dozier. I am sure the twins gave him a reasonable offer, but probably too short and his agent advised against it.If he valued his place in the org he should have taken it.Schoop?I expect ~.250, ~20 hr, ~65 rbi. His home and way splits should normalize.  

I get the Os on TV in the MASN market and saw Schoop at his best 2 years ago. I knew he would be an upgrade from Dozier especially in the intangible category. Dozier was/is in the Mauer camp of no spark, no fire; just show up and play and go home/hotel and do it again the next day. Schoop actually acts like he wants to win baseball games and enjoys playing baseball. I loved it when he hit the home run off Chris Davis and as he headed down to first looked at Davis and grinned. Not at Davis but seeing the humor in the situation and the enjoyment of it. Davis smiled back. Can't see Dozier doing that in a million years.

 

A note, I don't think the Twins bet on 1yr of Schoop. I think they would have been happy for an option or second year. I think Schoop is betting on himself for a 1yr.

That being said, two things you never do, or hesitantly do, is bet on a guy coming off a career year, or a poor year. The Twins have done both this year, and done so smartly.

1] Dime a dozen 1B power hitting types. Cron always put up solid numbers, but didn't play daily, got bounced or played behind other guys, but put up solid numbers. He finally got more than 500 AB in 2018, made some reported adjustments, had a career year, and was known by his new manager. The results, so far, are somewhat expected. He is providing a solid bat with power. Unexpected is just how good he has been defensively! Did anyone see or expect this? He looks as good as anything we saw Mauer do at 1B, or as anyone we have seen for YEARS at 1B. (Except for a few guys, we've been spoiled at 1B defensively for most of 30+ years).

2] Schoop plays a nice 2B. A lot of people want to scare you with a tremendous 2017 vs a really poor and injury plagued 2018. What about a couple very nice and productive years in '15 and '16? Only 27 and 2 really good years, one great year, and one bad season and he's some question mark?

Come on! Lewis is a year or two away. Gordon has real potential but is a year away, especially due to injury digging his 2019 start. Despite real infield depth, the other talent is a couple years away. This was a great move! I hope we re-sign him, already, for another season or two.

 

1) I'm happy with Cron so far. I've been very impressed with his defense, but I wouldn't put him in the conversation with Mauer yet. Joe should have won 1-2 GG's at 1B and Cron isn't quite at that level. But it's looking like a smart pickup overall. Need to see that OBP start sliding up, though.

 

2) Schoop does play a nice 2B, and has made some very nice plays that show good awareness of what's going on around him. (That throw he made after chasing down a wild throw into short right was fantastic, would have loved to see him rewarded with the out) He's healthy this year, which is a big deal. He's looking good.

 

I doubt anyone is on track for a sudden contract extension right now: Schoop bet on himself and I'm sure is going to want to test the market. If he hits like this, he'll get a nice deal. But thr reality is we're still in SSS territory, so the guys who might be struggling aren't going to accept a "buy low" offer, and management isn't going to buy high on the guys who are killing it right now until they see more.

    • howieramone2 likes this

 

Poor Dozier, he's hitting just .183 with a paltry .632 OPS. He's always a slow starter, but I didn't suspect his career would take such a 180 degree turn into becoming this so quickly.

 

I'd just keep giving Schoop starts and see how he goes for a full season. We have the money over future years to sign him to an extension, though I'd be wary if Polanco ends up as a long-term 2B. 

 

Nats just called up rookie infield prospect Kierboom to play every day in the IF somewhere also. Looks like the Nationals are already moving Dozier to a backup or platoon role.

 

I get the Os on TV in the MASN market and saw Schoop at his best 2 years ago. I knew he would be an upgrade from Dozier especially in the intangible category. Dozier was/is in the Mauer camp of no spark, no fire; just show up and play and go home/hotel and do it again the next day. Schoop actually acts like he wants to win baseball games and enjoys playing baseball. I loved it when he hit the home run off Chris Davis and as he headed down to first looked at Davis and grinned. Not at Davis but seeing the humor in the situation and the enjoyment of it. Davis smiled back. Can't see Dozier doing that in a million years.

 

Brian Dozier's Glorious Smile:

 

Attached Image: ezgif.com-optimize (1).gif

    • ashbury likes this

 

Nats just called up rookie infield prospect Kierboom to play every day in the IF somewhere also. Looks like the Nationals are already moving Dozier to a backup or platoon role.

Trea Turner is still on the DL IL for the Nationals though too. I suspect Kierboom will take most of his playing time from Difo at SS.

    • bighat likes this

Nats just called up rookie infield prospect Kierboom to play every day in the IF somewhere also. Looks like the Nationals are already moving Dozier to a backup or platoon role.

Turner is hurt with Difo playing SS. Rendon is banged up and Dozier is struggling. You are right Kieboom will play but there are many choices as for where he plays.

I’m pretty happy with the Schoop for Dozier trade we made so far.
    • spycake and bighat like this

 

Poor Dozier, he's hitting just .183 with a paltry .632 OPS. He's always a slow starter, but I didn't suspect his career would take such a 180 degree turn into becoming this so quickly.

Obviously it's all small sample right now, but since an awful first 7 games of the season (.080 AVG, .195 OPS), Dozier has an .861 OPS in his last 14 games, which is comparable to Schoop's season line of .887 (although Schoop in turn has a 1.028 OPS after his first 7 games!).

 

I get the Os on TV in the MASN market and saw Schoop at his best 2 years ago. I knew he would be an upgrade from Dozier especially in the intangible category. Dozier was/is in the Mauer camp of no spark, no fire; just show up and play and go home/hotel and do it again the next day. Schoop actually acts like he wants to win baseball games and enjoys playing baseball. I loved it when he hit the home run off Chris Davis and as he headed down to first looked at Davis and grinned. Not at Davis but seeing the humor in the situation and the enjoyment of it. Davis smiled back. Can't see Dozier doing that in a million years.

I gotta disagree with you on this one. Brian Dozier is a very passionate guy that wants to win as much or more than most and is a good clubhouse influence. I knew he had the confidence to succeed in the majors; just didn't see the power developing like it did. I'm pulling for him to get going at the plate for the Nats; maybe start spraying the ball around again. I didn't think we would sign Schoop but I'm glad we did. Two years ago, whoever thought he'd be playing 2B for the Twins?

    • Ex-Iowegian, Joe A. Preusser and MMMordabito like this
Of all the issues I had with Dozier, his desire and passion for the game were never even remotely in doubt.
    • birdwatcher, snepp, Ex-Iowegian and 4 others like this

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