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Gibson + Change-up + Confidence = Ace?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:57 PM
If you saw Kyle Gibson's performance today (Sunday) against the White Sox, you saw an ace pitcher on the mound. I remember when the Twins...
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Kyle Gibson

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:53 PM
Do you guys think that Gibson can expect a higher K rate going forward after today's start??I know he had a decent K rate in the minors b...
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Miguel Sano - 2015

Adopt A Prospect 2015 Today, 10:52 PM
How many baseball players, let alone baseball prospects, have had a feature-length documentary made about their careeers? Well, Miguel A...
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Hicks' First 10 Games

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:48 PM
For most of the offseason, I advocated that the Twins address their outfield defense issues by acquiring a premium defender.The name I pu...
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Ryan Howard

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:48 PM
Saw a couple notes on MLbTR about Howard being a possible fit for the twins. Obviously Phil would pick up 75% of the bill most likely, bu...
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From MinnCentric

Minnesota Twins


Is The Rotation Turning Around?

During the last four years, it has become customary to look at the rankings for American League teams in starting pitcher ERA and find Minnesota at the bottom. In 2011 they ranked 12th. In 2012, 2013 and 2014, they ranked dead last, each time finishing with a mark above 5.00.

When you look at the current ranks, you find Twins starters not last, and not even in the bottom five, but ninth out of 15 AL clubs with a 4.37 ERA. That's still not great, but it represents something we have been waiting a long time to see: progress.


Aaron Hicks Promoted, Who's Next?

Following Rochester’s 4-0 win against Toledo on Monday night, Democrat and Chronicle Red Wings beat writer Kevin Oklobzija tweeted, “Aaron Hicks is headed to the #MNTwins.” His manager Mike Quade called it “a no-brainer, really.” Although there isn’t a consensus among Twins fans about Hicks’ readiness, his time and opportunity are upon us.

On Monday, Hicks went 2-4 with a double to raise his batting average to .336 on the season. He will likely be in Detroit on Tuesday night and make his 2015 debut with the Twins. No corresponding move has been announced by the Twins at this time.


Pelfrey Showing Glimpses After Long Road Back From Tommy John

Frustration is a word that has followed Twins right-hander Mike Pelfrey around for a while. Whether it was how he pitched on his road back from Tommy John surgery, to the surgery itself or even just the puzzling season he had last year when he gave the team virtually nothing in terms of production, the word frustration has been on the front burner as it pertains to Pelfrey.

But don’t think for a second that the pitcher himself isn’t frustrated, too.

“That’s all I’ve ever really known is to go out there and pitch,” Pelfrey said. “Whether I’m right or not, I want to pitch.”

And it was that mentality that willed him back from elbow surgery in less than a year. In fact, he was throwing in spring training games a lot earlier than that. “We’re in spring training and it’s been nine-and-a-half months and I’m pitching in a game, and I’m thinking ‘Man, I worked my butt off, but this is way too early,’” Pelfrey said of 2013, his first season with the Twins after spending seven seasons in Queens with the New York Mets. “But I felt OK doing it.”

Pelfrey admits he probably wouldn’t have come back as fast as he did knowing all he does now, but he showed enough in stretches in the second half of 2013 to convince the Twins to re-sign him to a two-year deal which expires at the end of this season.

To say early returns on that deal were iffy would be putting it nicely, as Pelfrey gave the Twins just five winless starts with a 7.99 ERA before hitting the disabled list after an ugly May Day start against the Dodgers. He wouldn’t see the big leagues again all season, and to hear Pelfrey tell it, he was just about ready to be finished.

“If I didn’t have one more year left (on his current deal), I would have walked off last year on my rehab assignment in Rochester,” Pelfrey said. “And I said this year, if I don’t perform and stay healthy, I’m coming home. This is going to be it for me in 2015.”

He’s not close to crossing that bridge right now, however. In fact, and this probably won’t come as any surprise, Pelfrey says this is the best he’s felt with the club. “It I could go back, I’d have probably taken a step back and I probably would have said something at the beginning of last year. I’d have said ‘Hey, I’m not right. I don’t know what’s wrong, but I’m totally not right.’ But right now, this is definitely the best I’ve felt.”

And while underlying peripheral statistics say otherwise, Pelfrey’s early-season results have been generally positive. Not only has he been among MLB’s best in terms of added velocity in early-season action, but he’s returned to his heavy groundballing ways — a career-best 58.3 percent rate as of this writing — thanks to a new program that he picked up in the offseason.

“I did a lot of shoulder strengthening stuff this offseason through a weighted ball program, and I think it’s really helped,” Pelfrey said. The program is the brainchild of Dr. Tom House, who is better known for his time as Texas Rangers pitching coach 20 years ago as well as his stint with USC baseball and his tutelage of Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel, who are better known as the Indian pitchers from “Million Dollar Arm.”

House’s methods are unconventional — he’s famous for having his pitchers throw footballs, something Pelfrey said is part of his program but not part of his in-season regimen — but he has gotten results, and he seems to have Pelfrey’s endorsement.

“This is the first time I’ve ever done it,” Pelfrey said of the program which is called Velocity Plus Arm Care. “One day I went and looked it up and paid $500 just to do it. They sent me a program and these balls. I did it religiously, and I think it’s a big thing.” The first thing Pelfrey noticed in the spring after putting in the work with the program was not only how good he felt but the movement of his pitches. “For the first time in a couple years, I didn’t have to make the ball move,” Pelfrey said. “It was just doing it on its own.” There’s little doubt that increased movement has led to Pelfrey’s increase in ground balls, something that’ll remain a key issue for him as long as his strikeout rate remains below the league average.

In the end, all Pelfrey wants to do is pitch. He was admittedly frustrated about the potential move to the bullpen, but he said that stemmed from frustration after all the work he put in to get healthy and work as a starter. That would appear to just be a part of Pelfrey’s makeup as a competitor, because by his own admission, all he wants to do is get on the mound.

“Everybody wants to talk about the money and all that stuff,” Pelfrey said. “I couldn’t care less. I want to pitch.”


.306 – The Twins’ team wOBA — a number that takes all offensive contributions and adjusts them into a tidy little number that is scaled to on-base percentage. The Twins’ latest surge has them up to 22nd across the league, after languishing at the bottom in early-season play.
4 – Just four teams have fewer steals than the Twins with 10 (Dodgers, Rockies, White Sox and Nationals). The Twins have also been caught on nine occasions, for a paltry 52.6 percent rate of success. Generally speaking, teams would ideally steal bases at about a 75 percent clip to make it worth the risk.
21.1 percent – The Twins’ team strikeout rate, which is the ninth-highest in baseball.
.317 – The Twins’ collective BABIP (batting average on balls in play). This is generally a pretty good indicator of batted-ball luck. At .317, the Twins stand a pretty good chance of regressing back to the mean.
10 – Number of intentional walks the offense has drawn as a unit. Only five teams have drawn more.
8 – Number of bunt hits for the Twins — No. 1 across the MLB.

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It's Time For Aaron Hicks

You may have heard this arbitrary but nevertheless impressive statistic: Since the beginning of last August, the Minnesota Twins lead all of baseball in runs scored. This year they have outscored all but three American League teams, and during their current 9-2 stretch they've averaged nearly seven runs per game.

It seems safe to say that offense is not a major problem for this team, Sunday's punchless effort against Danny Salazar notwithstanding. Yet it's still bothersome that the Twins have continued to hold off on making the most obvious move possible to upgrade their lineup.

When will Aaron Hicks get a look?


REVIEW: In Pursuit Of Pennants

Every team longs for a chance to add to the legacy of their franchise. How can they get another flag to fly over the stadium and become a part of baseball's legendary past?
This is the premise behind the recent book release, In Pursuit of Pennants: Baseball Operations from Deadball to Moneyball by Mark L. Armour and Daniel R. Levitt. These two authors take the reader on a journey through the annals of baseball history to find what made front offices successful throughout each era.


2015: A Far Cry From Past Twins Futility

70-92, 66-96, 66-96, 63-99, those are the records of the Minnesota Twins over the past four seasons. At the end of 2014, Terry Ryan fired longtime manager Ron Gardenhire, and the Twins appeared determined to make a turnaround. While just a month into 2015, comments suggesting the Twins are lackluster and bad continue to be tossed around by the uninformed fan.


How Trevor Plouffe Became A Run Producer

Before the 2015 season began, Minnesota Twins manager Paul Molitor discussed his options for cleanup hitter. His first choice he said would be Torii Hunter. Based on Hunter’s experience, approach and ability to put the ball in play, Molitor felt like the veteran would be a sound run producer. Behind Hunter, Molitor listed Trevor Plouffe as another candidate for the meat-of-the-order role.

Players like Kennys Vargas or Oswaldo Arcia, with their game-changing swings and imposing presence in the batter's box, have the appearance of an archetype cleanup hitter yet Molitor felt their approach did not match that of what should be a run producer's approach. Someday, sure, but their all-or-nothing swings would leave them tied in knots in valuable RBI opportunities.


WARNE: Trevor May; A Pleasant Surprise

Trevor May’s career got off to an inauspicious start. After wearing out Triple-A pretty well — 2.85 ERA, 8.6 K/9, 1.16 WHIP — May was summoned for an Aug. 9 start last season against the A’s. May only lasted two innings, struck out none and walked seven as just 28 of his 63 pitches went for strikes.


Time To Take Twins Seriously?

Now into the second month of the 2015 major league baseball season, the Minnesota Twins have just under 30 games under their belt. Looking at the landscape of the season that is to come, they've completed roughly one-fifth of their slate, and played through the month of April against foes coming largely from the AL Central. At 15-13 as of May 6, and just 2.5 games out of first in the Central Division, things are in a good place. Now the question is, should we take this Twins team seriously?


What's A Realistic Timeline For Byron Buxton?

I made my first trip of the year to Target Field last Friday, and had a fantastic time. It was a beautiful evening and the Twins played a very crisp ballgame, winning 1-0 behind a tremendous start from Kyle Gibson.

Yet, as I looked around the park from my seats down the first base line, I couldn't help but feel a sense of disappointment with the sparsity of the crowd. The announced attendance of 22,794 -- their second-largest since Opening Day -- seemed overstated, with empty seats littering the lower deck.

The Twins moved within a game of .500 that night, and by the end of the weekend they had a winning record. In the wake of a dreadful start, this team has been playing good ball, positioning itself for relevancy in the AL Central at least early on.

But the fans, mired in apathy following a fourth straight 90-loss season, haven't responded by filling the stadium. Already the Twins have drawn fewer than 20,000 on five occasions; last year that happened once, in September.

Continuing to win games at a solid clip will help bring back some wayward fans, but what this team needs is a spark plug that generates real excitement and gets the entire baseball world buzzing.

They'll have one soon in Byron Buxton. But how soon?


Warne Notebook: Arcia's Replacement, Buxton Heating up, Affiliate Report

The Minnesota Twins promoted well-regarded prospect Eddie Rosario from Triple-A Rochester on Monday. Rosario wasn’t in uniform in time to start the game, and ultimately didn’t get in as the Twins eked out a close 8-7 win.


Eddie Rosario Promoted To Twins; Arcia Placed On DL

UPDATE: It's now official. The Twins have called up Eddie Rosario and placed Oswaldo Arcia on the 15-day disabled list.

Twins left-handed hitting outfielder Eddie Rosario retweeted a message today congratulating him on his promotion to the Minnesota Twins. While no announcement has been made, it seems likely that Rosario would be called up to replace corner outfielder Oswaldo Arcia, who needed to leave yesterday’s game with a right hip irritation.