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The last time the Twins owned the No. 2 pick in the MLB draft, they selected a college pitcher named Adam Johnson out of Cal State Fullerton. As most fans will recall, he cruised through the minors and made his major-league debut at the age of 21, but hit a wall and quickly fizzled out.
That's a scary memory as the Twins eye a handful of collegiate hurlers with this year's second pick, but fortunately the history of the draft slot has been much brighter since the Johnson bust.
Prior to the start of the season, I called Jamey Carroll "the latest passenger on Minnesota's never-ending shortstop carousel," noting the position's instability over the past decade. As it would turn out, the veteran's ride didn't last long, as he ceased drawing regular starts at short by early May.
Granted, this had as much to do with external factors – most notably Danny Valencia's struggles at third – as Carroll's own play. But it quickly became apparent that the light-hitting 38-year-old
Early in the season, Justin Morneau looked a lot like he did last year at the plate. That is to say: he was tentative, consistently fooled by good breaking balls, and generally ineffective.
At the end of April, he informed the team that his wrist had been ailing him for the better part of two weeks. He sat out a few days, then ended up on the disabled list, returning on May 16th.
It would seem that the rest did him some good. Since coming back
The Minnesotan, Golden Gopher alum and baseball fan inside me all want to see Cole DeVries succeed in a Twins uniform. The analyst inside me knows that he probably won't.
DeVries is a great story. He was signed by the Twins as an undrafted free agent back in 2006 after a solid career at the University of Minnesota, and has gradually worked his way up the organizational ladder. On Tuesday, the 27-year-old was called up to the majors to fill Jason Marquis'
No surprise here, but the Twins have reportedly designated Jason Marquis for assignment after the veteran was tagged by the Brewers for eight runs while recording only five outs on Sunday.
Marquis has never been a particularly good pitcher and I certainly wasn't high on his signing at the time, but I wouldn't have guessed he'd be the worst starter in baseball. From the moment he showed up to spring training, Marquis had nothing; he struggled to get the ball
Back in February, I framed the Twins' rotation as a series of five coin flips. Looking back, it's funny how the worst case scenario seems to have struck in every single situation:
Carl Pavano … Heads, he remembers how to miss a few extra bats and returns to the form he showed while winning 17 games two years ago. Tails, his performance continues to descend as he ages into his late 30s.
Francisco Liriano … Heads, he regains his fastball command and helps power the top of
Much has been made of Twins fans booing Joe Mauer at Target Field this year. Personally, I'm not offended by it. It's how some invested fans choose to express their disappointment and frustration. They paid for the tickets that help pay the players' enormous salaries, so those in attendance should be free to voice their displeasure with what's happening. In this case, it's not totally unjustified.
Not that I myself would ever boo Mauer. There have been ball
After seeing the two starters who were supposed to serve as veteran leaders in the rotation exit after recording only 12 outs on successive nights, it's not hard to understand why the Twins have been carrying 13 pitchers on the roster for much of the year.
What is hard to understand is why, with all these different relief slots, and with so many different guys being shuffled in and out, the Twins still haven't been able to find room for Anthony Slama on the major-league roster.
The true importance of the strikeout is a subject of much debate in baseball circles. It is generally agreed, though, that the K is a powerful weapon for pitchers, one with strengths (it's the most reliable method of recording an out) and weaknesses (pitching for strikeouts requires more pitches and taxes the arm).
Dennis Brackin wrote a great piece for the Star Tribune last week on the subject of pitching to contact, which is a philosophy that the Twins have
Well, I never expected it would be this bad.
Sure, I had plenty of doubts about these 2012 Twins. I realized I was being somewhat optimistic when I projected them to finish around .500, and I also realized that there was a chance injuries could pile up and send the club into the same sort of spiral that engulfed it last summer.
The thing is, the roster has remained relatively healthy. Outside of Scott Baker, the Twins have largely been playing
The Twins announced today that they have designated infielder Sean Burroughs for assignment to make room for Drew Butera on the 25-man roster. This one is a head-scratcher.
You can certainly make the argument that Joe Mauer's knee tenderness necessitated a call-up for Butera, as he may serve as more of a second catcher than third catcher for the time being. It's just tough to understand why the Twins felt the need to dump Burroughs when there was no good reason
After missing a couple games due to the birth of his child, Josh Willingham returned to the Twins lineup on Sunday and immediately made his presence felt, delivering a two-run triple in his first at-bat to set the tone in a 7-4 Twins victory.
Willingham finished the day 3-for-5 with a double and a single in addition to the three-bagger, raising his OPS to an eye-popping 1.163.
The left fielder has hit safely in 17 of 19 games as a Twin while
The Twins have played 18 games this year, and Joe Mauer has been in the starting lineup for every single one. That's right – you might not have noticed, but the embattled catcher has not taken a day off this season after missing half of the 2011 campaign due to various ailments.
This is the longest Mauer has even gone into a season without stopping to rest, and it's not like the early schedule has been particularly forgiving, with only one day off and
Francisco Liriano was tagged with a loss Sunday as he allowed five runs over five innings, handing out four walks while throwing just 47 of 86 pitches for strikes.
It qualified as his best start of the season.
Through four turns, Liriano sits with an 11.02 ERA, 2.28 WHIP and 12-to-13 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 16 2/3 innings. Only 57 percent of his pitches are finding the zone, which is the same rate he finished with in 2011. He was being counted on this year to rebound