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Cleveland MLB team reportedly considering name change

Other Baseball Today, 12:12 AM
This is an AP article I lifted from the StarTribune web site.   https://www.startrib...sure/571623572/
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Take Landis Name off the MVP Award

Other Baseball Yesterday, 09:04 PM
Barry Larkin, former MVP, has been calling for removing the Kenesaw Mountain Landis name from MVP awards.Personally, until I read the art...
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Virtual Twins Baseball Megathread

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 09:27 AM
Moving forward this will house every game-thread in the comments below until real baseball hopefully comes back. I should have done this...
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Twins remove Calvin Griffith statue

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 07:53 PM
because TEAR EVERYTHING DOWN!
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Neal: Twins Radio Broadcast Team Will Not Travel

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 04:52 AM
https://www.startrib...ason/571529672/   LaVelle Neal also wrote that the Twins radio broadcast crew (including Cory Provus and Dan...
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The Show Must Go On: Roaring Back

With another 10 games knocked out in our interactive simulated 2020 Twins season, the boys shook off a slow start to surge back above .500, chipping away at their early deficit in the Central standings.

Read on to learn what's happened since our last update, and to weigh in on our next move.
Image courtesy of MLB The Show 20, Sony
To get caught up on what we're doing here, you can check out the first introductory post in the series for an explanation of the premise and setup. But the quick version is this: We're playing a progressive simulated Twins season on MLB The Show 20 on PS4, and y'all are helping guide the ship. In each installment I'll update you on what's happened since the last, and put at least one key decision up for vote.

Date In Game: 4/18/20
Team Record: 11-9
Leading OPS: Max Kepler (.972 in 40 AB)
Leading ERA (SP): Jake Odorizzi (2.73 in 26.1 IP)
Leading ERA (RP): Zack Littell (0.00 in 6.2 IP)

RESULTS

Gm 11 vs CLE: L 8-7 (Berrios 3.0 IP, 7 ER, L)
Gm 12 vs CLE: W 4-1 (Odorizzi 8.2 IP, 1 ER, 9 K, W)
Gm 13: vs CLE: W 8-5 (Sano 2-for-4, HR, 3 RBI)
Gm 14: @ CWS: L 11-10 (Cruz and Garver 2 HR each)
Gm 15: @ CWS: W 7-2 (Sano 2-for-3, HR, 2 RBI)
Gm 16: @ CWS: W 13-4 (Rosario 3-for-5, HR, 5 RBI)
Gm 17: @ TOR: W 1-0 (Odorizzi 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 7 K, W)
Gm 18: @ TOR: W 6-3 (Avila 3-for-4, 2 HR, 4 RBI)
Gm 19: @ TOR: L 6-3 (Romo 0.1 IP, 2 HR allowed, L)
Gm 20: vs DET: W 8-7 (Polanco walk-off 2-R HR)

AL CENTRAL STANDINGS


Attached Image: alcstandings41820.jpeg


THE RUNDOWN

First, and foremost: we managed to slow down Cleveland a bit. When last we checked in, the Twins found themselves in a big early hole. Their 4-6 start was countered by a perfect 10-0 from the top division rivals, who were just arriving in town for a three-game set.

Cleveland's red-hot season-opening run extended to 11-0 with an 8-7 win in the first tilt at Target Field, which saw Jose Berrios labor through three innings (9 H, 4 BB, 7 ER) in his worst start of the young season. By now the Indians were halfway to matching their 22-game streak from 2017, right off the bat. Yeesh.

Luckily, the Twins were finally ready to get hot. They took the last two against Cleveland at home, a pair of three-run victories. Jake Odorizzi led the way in the first, flirting with a complete game but settling for 8 2/3 innings and a W. Then it was off to Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, where the offense flourished, pushing across 30 runs in three games to take the series.

In our last installment, readers were decisive in voting their preference to stick with starter Rich Hill despite his sluggish start. That decision paid dividends in his next turn; Hill put forth six innings of two-run ball against the White Sox, picking up his first win.

The Twins followed up by taking two of three from the Blue Jays in Toronto. Once again Odorizzi was spectacular here, tossing seven scoreless frames before giving way to Taylor Rogers for a two-inning save for a 1-0 victory in the series clincher. That was perhaps the team's most impressive effort of the season up until the final one we simulated in this batch.

Returning home to face the Tigers and looking to stay above .500, Hill was building upon his turnaround. He'd navigated four shutout innings before everything collapsed in the fifth, where he was charged with five earned runs, putting his club in 5-1 hole.

But our Twins weren't gonna go quietly. They rallied for three runs in the sixth and added two more in the seventh to take the lead. Detroit battled back with a run apiece against Tyler Duffey and Taylor Rogers in the eighth and ninth, putting Minnesota's back up against the wall, down 7-6 heading into the last half-inning. Luckily, Jorge Polanco was up for the challenge. His fourth hit of the day was a walk-off, two-run homer against Detroit closer Joe Jimenez.

The Twins sit at 11-9 after winning seven of 10 in this slate, and we've picked up 1.5 games on the Indians, who cooled down with a 5-5 showing.

WHO'S HOT

Odorizzi looks right now much like he did during that untouchable stretch in the early portion of 2019. Across his two latest starts, he allowed one run over 15 2/3 innings, with a 16-to-4 K/BB ratio. Take out the clunker in his second outing of the season, at Seattle (3.2 IP, 6 ER), and his 2.73 overall ERA drops to 0.74.

In the bullpen, Zack Littell has yet to allow a run through 6 2/3 innings. Randy Dobnak is getting the job done in long relief, with a 1.59 ERA in 11 1/3 frames (conspicuously accompanied by a 3-to-5 K/BB ratio). Taylor Rogers has been leaned on heavily, appearing 11 times through 20 games, and he has come through with a 0.82 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and five saves.

The offense has also been very good, as hoped. Eight of the nine regulars currently have an OPS above .800, with Max Kepler's .962 (.333/.398/.564) from the leadoff spot pacing the lineup. Josh Donaldson's seven home runs tie him with Randal Grichuk for sixth in the AL. The hottest hitter during this latest stretch, though, was Miguel Sano, who went 15-for-32 with two homers, two doubles, and seven RBIs in his eight starts. Sano's 17 RBIs lead the team and rank seventh in the AL.

WHO'S NOT

Byron Buxton is the lone laggard in a lineup that's otherwise been incredibly productive. He's been unable to find his rhythm and is slashing just .172/.250/.250 with 18 strikeouts and six walks in 64 at-bats. He does have five steals. I'm thinking we'll just keep playing him at the bottom of the order, and hope he and hitting coach Edgar Varela can conjure a breakthrough.

After rebounding from his lackluster early performance with a win against the White Sox, Hill once again looked terrible at home versus Detroit, allowing five runs (two earned) on three hits and six walks in 4 2/3 innings. His ERA sits at 7.91 through four starts and he's handed out 13 free passes (with 23 K) through 19 1/3 innings. Not great, but the voting results on last week's Hill decision were emphatic enough that we'll keep the leash extended for now. That said, I'll be keeping a close eye on him.

Same goes for Homer Bailey, who unsurprisingly hurdled back to Earth after leading the rotation in ERA through 10 games. His last two starts saw him cough up eight earned runs in 6 1/3 innings, raising his ERA to 4.43... which I guess is about what we expected.

No rotation changes are on the table at this moment, but I'll note that Devin Smeltzer (1.50 ERA) and Jhoulys Chacin (1.64) are making their cases early on at Rochester.

DECISION TIME: HOW CAN WE ADD MORE SPEED TO THE BENCH?

While pulling the strings during these simulated games, the one thing I really find myself wishing for is some speed off the bench. On a typical day, we've got Alex Avila (Speed Rating: 10 out of 100), Ehire Adrianza (39), Marwin Gonzalez (29), and Willians Astudillo (6) available to pinch-run. In particular, Adrianza feels like a bit of an unnecessary piece; he's functionally redundant with the superior Gonzalez, and has mustered a team-low 20 ABs as a result, slashing .150/.227/.150.

I'm thinking we swap out Adrianza for someone who can offer more speed. Here are the most suitable internal options at Triple-A:
  • Jimmy Kerrigan, OF (Speed Rating: 79 out of 100)
  • Drew Maggi, OF (68)
  • Zander Wiel, OF (67)
  • LaMonte Wade, Jr., OF (65)
  • Nick Gordon, SS (64)
  • Jake Cave, OF (58)
Worth noting: Kerrigan is pegged as a center fielder, so he could potentially slot in for Buxton on occasion and provide him some extra breaks. Cave, whose speed seems to be underrated a bit in the game, is slashing .444/.500/.556 through seven contests at Rochester.

There's also free agency, if we want to go that route. The top speedsters on the open market:
  • Rajai Davis, OF (Speed Rating: 83 out of 100)
  • Peter Bourjous, OF (78)
  • Pablo Varela, SS (75)
  • Jacob Barone, 2B (68)
  • Yasiel Puig, OF (66)
  • Addison Russell, SS (58)
Mixed in with a couple of fictional players (Varela and Barone, who are 22 and 23) are a couple of real names that raise some intrigue. In particular, I'm looking at Rajai Davis, who's 39 years old with a 66 overall rating. His speed is the highest of anyone we've looked at, and his base-stealing ability rates at a maximum 99. Signing another free agent will force us to do some roster juggling, but Davis – at his requested one-year, $530K contract – could be a great veteran pickup to round out the bench.

Attached Image: rajaiFA.jpeg


So the choice I need help with before moving forward: Should we tap free agency or our own internal pipeline to address this need? You can vote in the comments section below.

COMING UP

4/18: vs DET
4/19 vs DET
4/20 vs SEA
4/21 vs SEA
4/22 vs SEA
4/23 vs SEA
4/24 vs BOS
4/25 vs BOS
4/26 vs BOS

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12 Comments

Photo
Nick Nelson
Mar 29 2020 07:08 PM

Option 1: Press "Like This" on this comment if you want us to replace Ehire Adrianza on the bench with an internal option from Triple-A. I lean toward Joe Kerrigan or LaMonte Wade, Jr., but will listen on other ideas.

    • Steve Lein, glunn, bradyhern and 10 others like this
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Nick Nelson
Mar 29 2020 07:08 PM

Option 2: Press "Like This" on this comment if you want us to replace Ehire Adrianza with a free agent from the open market. Rajai Davis stands out as the best fit to me, though Peter Bourjos also is interesting. Feel free to name your specific choice below.

    • whitsbrain, iowaguychris, Matthew Taylor and 1 other like this
I'd like to think Pablo Verela is related to our hitting coach in some distant way. Is he any good? Or the second baseman? Otherwise grab Davis!
    • Danchat likes this

Rajai Davis, if he's only going to pinch run.If Kerrigan has significantly better contact numbers, his speed is close.Stealing rating will probably be rarely used.

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Nick Nelson
Mar 30 2020 08:30 AM

 

I'd like to think Pablo Verela is related to our hitting coach in some distant way. Is he any good? Or the second baseman? Otherwise grab Davis!

Ha, I had the same thought. If they're made-up players we might as well make up their backstories. I envision Jacob Barone as the grown-up son of "Everybody Loves Raymond" sportswriter Ray Barone

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Doctor Gast
Mar 30 2020 10:30 AM

It`d be interesting to see all the stats

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Nick Nelson
Mar 30 2020 11:37 AM

 

It`d be interesting to see all the stats

I've been thinking on an easy way to present them. Could just take screenshots of the stat screens in the game but they turn out so fuzzy and hard to read.

 

Perhaps for the next edition I'll just take the time to get them all typed out, since it'll be a good 1/5th of the season checkpoint at ~30 games in the book.

    • Doctor Gast likes this
Do you sim the games or actually play them? I’ve noticed some pretty wild glitches on this game...

The opponent I played against hit a foul ball that should have went into the seats, but somehow the ball made its way back into fair territory for a stand up triple.

I’ve also seen the pitcher bare hand a line drive coming at him, then proceed to throw the ball to 2nd base with his glove hand.
    • Steve Lein and DocBauer like this
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Nick Nelson
Mar 30 2020 04:17 PM

 

Do you sim the games or actually play them? I’ve noticed some pretty wild glitches on this game...

The opponent I played against hit a foul ball that should have went into the seats, but somehow the ball made its way back into fair territory for a stand up triple.

I’ve also seen the pitcher bare hand a line drive coming at him, then proceed to throw the ball to 2nd base with his glove hand.

I run through them in "Quick Manage" mode, which basically means every AB is simmed but I control substitutions and bullpen moves. It seems to give us fairly reasonable results, and takes my (lack of) skills out of the equation.

 

Yeah, I've seen some funky glitches in the gameplay itself. But for the most part I think Sony does a nice job with the game.

    • DocBauer likes this

I run through them in "Quick Manage" mode, which basically means every AB is simmed but I control substitutions and bullpen moves. It seems to give us fairly reasonable results, and takes my (lack of) skills out of the equation.

Yeah, I've seen some funky glitches in the gameplay itself. But for the most part I think Sony does a nice job with the game.


Yeah for being the only console baseball game on the market they’ve done consistently well for the last 7-8 years. I miss having competition for sports games... MVP Baseball was great back in the day on PS2! Madden used to be waaaay better when they had to compete against 2K Sports. NBA Live used to be a thing!
Funny how Adrianza's season is mirroring last year when he played sparodically and had bad numbers and everyone wanted him replaced, despite past success and a great ST. And then he just took off. Nick, I completely appreciate the game mode and the want to add speed off the bench, but maybe I'm just too old school that I don't know that I would make a move just yet. I clicked keeping it in house if a move is made and let the younger guys like Kerrigan or Wade be the option.
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Nick Nelson
Mar 31 2020 11:26 AM

 

Yeah for being the only console baseball game on the market they’ve done consistently well for the last 7-8 years. I miss having competition for sports games... MVP Baseball was great back in the day on PS2! Madden used to be waaaay better when they had to compete against 2K Sports. NBA Live used to be a thing!

Couldn't agree more. Don't even get me started on EA Sports destroying the NFL 2K franchise and leaving us with crappy Madden as our only football VG option. Sore subject haha 

    • Vanimal46 likes this