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Article: Expansion Could Alter MLB's Landscape

Other Baseball Today, 12:00 PM
The winds of change are in the air. Major League Baseball could be nearing an expansion to 32 teams which would signal a large shift in t...
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Article: Sizing Up The 2017-18 Offseason

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 11:55 AM
Turnarounds like the one we saw from Minnesota this season are rare, but not unprecedented. Derek Falvey knows this as well as anyone.Fre...
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Second-favorite team

Other Baseball Today, 11:51 AM
The Hate-watch thread made me start to think about this--who is my second-favorite team? (No, my second-favorite team, not my second-favo...
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Go Bold: Trade for Gerrit Cole

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 11:03 AM
As we're all discussing ways to improve the pitching staff, one name seems to be forgotten around here... Gerrit Cole.  The Pirates...
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Article: Supplementing the Twins: Lance Lynn

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 11:32 AM
The Minnesota Twins are now well underway into creating their offseason blueprint. Coming off a season in which the greatest turnaround i...
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Escobar Steps Up

The Twins won on Friday night in Detroit. Later in the night, Angels and the Rangers lost, so the Twins have a 3 1/2 game lead on the 2nd AL Wild Card with eight games to play. Another way to look at that? The Twins magic number for a playoff spot is down to six.

Not convinced yet? Here are the playoff odds for the Twins according to some reliable national websites.

FanGraphs - 88.1%
Baseball Prospectus - 90.0%
FiveThirtyEight - 90%

In other words, it is officially OK to be excited about the Twins playoff chances.
Image courtesy of Jozie Stohs (photo of Eduardo Escobar)
There are many reasons that the Twins are in this position. Nick wrote last week that everyone has contributed to a successful season.

Today I wanted to highlight one player who has been very helpful to the Twins cause down the stretch.

On August 19th, Miguel Sano fouled a ball off of his shin, and he hasn't played since. At this point, the odds of him contributing further in 2017 are unlikely, bordering on it's not going to happen.

The next day, Paul Molitor inserted Eduardo Escobar into the lineup at third base. He's been there most every day since. He's contributed in a big way.

Defensively, he has played quite well at third base, even making a few web gems. He's made just two errors in 33 games at the hot corner.

Offensively, he's hit like Eduardo Escobar, in terms of batting average and on-base percentage. In those 33 games, he has hit .246 and been on base 29.6% of the time. However, he has also provided Sano-like (or Sano-light?) power. In those games, he has added four doubles, three triple and eight home runs.

For a while, he was hitting cleanup against left-handed pitching. Fortunately that has stopped due to the performances of Jorge Polanco, Eddie Rosario and Byron Buxton.

While a team is not going to fully replace the offensive upside of Miguel Sano, Eduardo Escobar has been as good as we could hope. His .803 OPS is pretty good for anyone, even if most of that has come from extra-base hits.

And when the talk of leadership in the Twins clubhouse comes up, Eduardo Escobar's name should not be forgotten. His joy brings players together. His philanthropy has made him a finalist for the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award.

For all that, join me in a hat tip for Eduardo Escobar.

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26 Comments

Attached Image: 3D228BE6-3187-4233-96D0-955007B28DDD.jpeg
    • Blake, brvama, Dantes929 and 2 others like this
He may be the most underrated player on the team, when it comes to recognition for his contribution to the Twins epic turnaround.

He's one of my favorite players on this team, and that goes beyond his contributions in the field. By all accounts (I don't know him personally), he's an extremely gracious and generous individual, universally loved. Truly one of the good guys, who everyone should be rooting for.
    • ChiTownTwinsFan, Craig Arko, Oldgoat_MN and 11 others like this
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FlauerPauer
Sep 23 2017 10:03 AM

Eddie the Stick!  He may not be an everyday player, but he sure has been coming up big with his play the last month.

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MileHighTwinsFan
Sep 23 2017 10:06 AM
As I mentioned on another thread, baseball needs a utility player award. Eduardo checks all the boxes for that kind of recognition.
    • South Dakota Tom likes this

I would give him the Twins MVP.When Sano went down we all thought this was something that could doom the team, but Eduardo stepped in and stepped up.In tight situations I feel confidence when he comes to the plate.I feel confident when the ball is hit towards him.What more can someone do.Yes Rosario, Polanco, Buxton and now Kepler have had some great hot streaks, but Escobar has been a steady force before, through and after those hot streaks. 

    • bighat likes this

Sorry.  Just not there yet.  I see a 10% chance of not making the playoffs. See what a 2 game losing streak coupled with a 3 game win streak by one of the chasers does to the  odds. Keep in mind when our odds were 6% at the trade deadline I said see what a modest winning streak can do to the odds. I guess when others see a glass 90% full I see one 10% empty and when others see a glass 90% empty I see one 10% full.  

I like Escobar but for whatever reason do not like watching him play.  Doesn't mean I don't appreciate him.  Morneau in what was looking like a lock for another MVP in 2008, slumped in the last month.  Probably due to playing through a stress fracture but replacing him for that last month probably would have gotten us into the playoffs. Similar here to if Sano was playing in pain or even simply slumped and was in the middle of this order for this past month our playoff hopes might be greatly diminished because not only has Escobar been producing, he has been producing in big spots.  MVP award could simply go to our third baseman for the combined efforts of Sano and Escobar.

Escobar seems like a really good guy by all accounts but the same could be said about the entire team.  They are all quite like able.  Worst things I have heard about this team is that Mauer might be overpaid, Sano is a little overweight and Molitor bunts too much. They are easy to root for and I might mention the frosting on the cake is that pretty much all of them have come up through our system. Reading about them on TD for the last several years and now seeing what they can do has been awesome.

    • South Dakota Tom, Broker and Original Whizzinator like this

 

Sorry.  Just not there yet.  I see a 10% chance of not making the playoffs. See what a 2 game losing streak coupled with a 3 game win streak by one of the chasers does to the  odds. Keep in mind when our odds were 6% at the trade deadline I said see what a modest winning streak can do to the odds.  

 

I am excited but I'm curbing my enthusiasm 'til the Twins lock this one down. At this point I'm taking an ultra conservative approach here. It makes me nervous when Dick mentions playoff tickets on the air, LOL. One game at a time, boys. Looking forward to seeing Erv take the hill tonight.

    • Dantes929 and mickeymental like this
El de la Pica!
    • ChiTownTwinsFan and twinsnorth49 like this

Trade Chip!

 

 

Sorry.Just not there yet.I see a 10% chance of not making the playoffs. See what a 2 game losing streak coupled with a 3 game win streak by one of the chasers does to theodds. Keep in mind when our odds were 6% at the trade deadline I said see what a modest winning streak can do to the odds. I guess when others see a glass 90% full I see one 10% empty and when others see a glass 90% empty I see one 10% full.

I just can't see any way the Twins blow this. They have 5 more games against a AAA team... also known as the Detroit Tigers. Even if the Twins finish the season 4-4, the Rangers/Angels would need to go 8-1 in their final 9 games to make the playoffs. Also the Angels are down 5-0 to the Astros at this very moment, so the playoff spot is at hand.

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Old Twins Cap
Sep 23 2017 12:45 PM

I suppose technically you could say it's a "playoff spot" but for me it's one game to see if you make it to the playoffs.

 

And, it's against the hated Yankees.

 

History awaits.We could exorcise a lot of demons.

 

Or compound a lot of pain.

    • Major Leauge Ready and Doctor Wu like this

 

Or compound a lot of pain.

 

Meh, I don't care what happens in the wild card game, getting there is enough. The Twins go in a heavy underdog, if they lose still an incredible season. I'd really only feel pain if they blew a big lead or something. we're playing with house money.

    • Blake, Major Leauge Ready, DocBauer and 1 other like this

Meh, I don't care what happens in the wild card game, getting there is enough. The Twins go in a heavy underdog, if they lose still an incredible season. I'd really only feel pain if they blew a big lead or something. we're playing with house money.


I agree. I will be satisfied if they get to the game. Considering 80% of the board was predicting 75 or fewer wins this is a great season.
    • ThejacKmp likes this

 

Meh, I don't care what happens in the wild card game, getting there is enough. The Twins go in a heavy underdog, if they lose still an incredible season. I'd really only feel pain if they blew a big lead or something. we're playing with house money.

This season has been very fun and I am proud of what this team has been able to do. They could fall apart and not even make the playoffs (they won't) and I'd feel the same way. The FO still has some moves to make (pitching), but they really put a fun season together.

    • brvama likes this

 

I agree. I will be satisfied if they get to the game. Considering 80% of the board was predicting 75 or fewer wins this is a great season.

 

80%. That seems low. 99%. I thought I was wildly optimistic predicting they'd finish within a game of .500. I thought they'd compete but just finish off cuz they unloaded Dozier, Santana etc. at the deadline.

 

Instead, those two are both going to start Game 7 of the World Series,

80%. That seems low. 99%. I thought I was wildly optimistic predicting they'd finish within a game of .500. I thought they'd compete but just finish off cuz they unloaded Dozier, Santana etc. at the deadline.

Instead, those two are both going to start Game 7 of the World Series,


I wouldn't be stunned if Santana came out if the pen in Game 7 of the World Series, but he's lined up to start Games 1 and 5.
    • ThejacKmp likes this
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terrydactyls1947
Sep 24 2017 07:42 AM

80%. That seems low. 99%. I thought I was wildly optimistic predicting they'd finish within a game of .500. I thought they'd compete but just finish off cuz they unloaded Dozier, Santana etc. at the deadline.
 
Instead, those two are both going to start Game 7 of the World Series,


Check out a blog I posted a couple weeks back called "A Look Back". I found an article posted at the beginning of the season in which many people posted their quesses at the Twins total wins for the year. Only one predicted that total to exceed 80.

 

Check out a blog I posted a couple weeks back called "A Look Back". I found an article posted at the beginning of the season in which many people posted their quesses at the Twins total wins for the year. Only one predicted that total to exceed 80.

 

Yeah, saw that. I never posted on TD for that. I send out MLB predictions every year to my buddies.

 

The Twins are my surprise team in the AL (who saw that coming!) They’ve got a great lineup and Buxton is going to be a breakout star. The pitching is not amazing but with some young depth coming up (Berrios, Mejia, Gonsalves) and some reclamation projects in Gibson, Santiago and Hughes, I think they piece together enough to be a game under .500.

 

Compared to most years (in 2015 I missed all five AL playoff teams) I did okay this year. Got all the division winners right. Got Yankees as WC and then had the Jays (overreaction to Stroman's WBC feats). Had Pirates and Mets as WC in NL (not so good). Seven out of 10 is a passing grade!

80%. That seems low. 99%. I thought I was wildly optimistic predicting they'd finish within a game of .500. I thought they'd compete but just finish off cuz they unloaded Dozier, Santana etc. at the deadline.

Instead, those two are both going to start Game 7 of the World Series,


Probably true on the 80%. I predicted 81-81. Boy do I hope I'm wrong. ☺

I live in Southeast Asia and don't get to see many (any!) games on TV (Internet highlights and box scores are mainly my diet) but the more I read about Escobar the more impressed I am, both with his versatility and his all-around play. Seems like a solid, dependable, likeable player, the kind a team needs to have (on the field and in the clubhouse). And he's hit for more power than expected too. Who would have thought he would turn out to be so valuable an addition when he got him in that Liriano trade with the White Sox. But who was the other player we got in that trade from the Chisox? My memory fails me.

    • ChiTownTwinsFan likes this

 

Check out a blog I posted a couple weeks back called "A Look Back". I found an article posted at the beginning of the season in which many people posted their quesses at the Twins total wins for the year. Only one predicted that total to exceed 80.

I couldn't find the original blog so don't know if I had responded..I don't expect it to count but on at least one of the blogs I predicteda range of 70-95.  Shouldn't count but I at least recognized the upside.

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ChiTownTwinsFan
Sep 24 2017 01:09 PM
On the subject of Escobar, this is all I have to say:

I <3 Escobar!

 

This season has been very fun and I am proud of what this team has been able to do. They could fall apart and not even make the playoffs (they won't) and I'd feel the same way. The FO still has some moves to make (pitching), but they really put a fun season together.

I am more of a journey guy and I think you are also. If I were a Yankees fan I might still follow the team when they signed the three best players on the free agent market (Texeira, Sabbathia, Burnett) and probably be happy when they won the WS. Likewise when Durant signed with Golden State. Being a fan of those teams does not compare with the joy of following the Royals of 2 and 3 years ago or the 87 Twins or worst to first 91 Twins.  If these Twins lose against the Yankees I will accept that as part of the definition of being the underdogs but when the small odds do pay off it is tremendously satisfying.  These Twins have already beat much greater odds and playoff spots are never guaranteed. In fact I am still pretty bummed that the 08 team lost the playin game because even though they had small chance, they still had a chance.  I will accept losing but this is their chance to be that 2014 Royals team and do something special and that is what I watch sports for.

    • jimmer likes this

Escobar with 20 HR & 70 RBI now. Awesome.

    • jorgenswest and Shaitan like this

Check out a blog I posted a couple weeks back called "A Look Back". I found an article posted at the beginning of the season in which many people posted their quesses at the Twins total wins for the year. Only one predicted that total to exceed 80.


It was a good look back. I think I predicted 77 wins, but I also stated something to the affect I could easily see 80-82 wins with health and a little more improvement here and there. Glad I was wrong, more or less, twice. 82 wins after sweeping Detroit today and a real shot at 85 and a virtual lock for the second WC spot.

The entire team deserves credit for this, and I think it only fair to pay a few kudos to Molitor and his staff as well. Escobar is absolutely a part of this entire season, but also has stepped up big time the past month plus with Sano down. I absolutely think he should be brought back next season.

In fact, while I think it is time next season to run with Garver as the backup catcher, I think you could easily argue the entire roster should be back position wise. Now, could they and should they maybe look at a better DH/backup 1B option? Yes. But this a good and balanced roster with a ton of potential still be be fulfilled.