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Mid-Season *Cough* Awards

Posted by PintoWF , 05 July 2016 · 1,368 views

terry ryan minnesota twins pitching paul molitor home runs
Mid-Season *Cough* Awards The first 81 games for the Minnesota Twins were dreadful. A mere 27 wins, the worst record in baseball, is the result of bad pitching, hitting and just really, really bad baseball.

Usually the mid-way point of a season gives us, the fans, a time to reflect and think of the positive things. Things we believe the team can build on moving forward.

Nope! Not this year!

The straw that broke this camel's back, for me, was when the Twins designated Kevin Jepsen for assignment. If you are having a tough time remember who this guy is, let me remind you.

The Twins, in need of some bullpen help last season, traded away two minor league players to the Tampa Bay Rays in order to get Jepsen.

He had a stellar two months with the organization. He appeared in 29 games giving up just one home run, striking out 25 while walking just seven and giving up just five earned runs over 28 innings.

Now, he's no longer on the team. And that's not even the worst part of the Jepsen story.

It's a mess, for sure, and one that I would like to reflect on by handing out some awards. Not your high school make-everyone-feel-good-participation awards. No, these awards are a bit different.

Biggest Disappointment
Oh man. You want to talk about tough. So many people to consider for this award, Jepsen and Joe Mauer included. In the end, however, I have to give it to Eddie Rosario.

I believed that he was going to improve after a solid first-season in 2015. Sure, he is a free swinger that thinks taking a pitch is some sort of illness. Sure, he was pegged for regression knowing that he has no idea what a strike-zone is. Still, I believed.

That is why his .200 batting average through the first 32 games of the season, along with 31 strike-outs and just three walks, were so sad. Not disappointing. No. Sad.

After a stint in the minors, where he hit .319 over 41 games with 21 extra-base hits, he's back in the majors.

Rosario will have his work cut out for him with Robbie Grossman and Max Kepler both playing well. If the strike-outs continue, he may find himself the way of Oswaldo Arcia.

I guess this will teach me to pin my hopes on a dude who is a free-swinger.

Most Similar to Tsuyoshi Nishioka
Is this fair? I mean, we all know who this award goes to. Byung Ho-Park, now in the minors, hit .191 through 62 games. His 80 strike-outs is a team high and his .409 slugging percentage is worse than Kurt Suzuki's.

The "big move" in the off-season for the Twins, Park started off well enough. He had a .578 slugging percentage through the first 32 games along with nine home runs. Then, he fell off a friggin' cliff.

Over the last 30 games, Park has hit .123 with 42 strike-outs and just three home-runs.

He's now in the minors trying to figure it out but that's not where you want a guy you spent $12.85 million on just to negotiate a contract. He is suppose to have "figured it out" already.

I said when the signing went down that we could have another Nishioka on our hands. A terribly easy correlation, I know, but still one that is beginning to come to fruition.

Worst Pitcher
Again, so many options. Phil Hughes? Trevor May? Kyle Gibson? All viable candidates. For me, though, I like Kevin Jepsen for this role.

Those other three have been dealing with injuries this season. Hughes' injury is so significant he has been shut down for the rest of the year. Jepsen, though, hasn't had to deal with any of these things.

I already covered the statistical side of things in the opening of this post. I think that would do more than enough to make you understand why he has been this season's worst pitcher.

Then there is this: One of the players the Twins gave up in the Jepsen trade, Chih-Wei Hu, is headed to this season's Futures Game on July 10. Which leads me to my next and final award...

Who Is To Blame
Terry Ryan. What kind of bullpen help did he bring in? Frenando Abad. Granted, he's been the lone bright spot for the Twins this season. Past that...

What kind of rotation help did he think about bringing in? Re-signing Tommy Milone and hoping a guy like Ricky Nolasco could turn it around. He figured Phil Hughes and Ervin Santana would be better. He also figured guys like Tyler Duffey and Jose Berrios would push the veterans like Milone and Nalsco. Yet....

You also have the issue of Trevor May. Is he a starter? Isn't he a starter? They couldn't quite figure it out. I can't imagine what that does to the psyche of a pitcher. A guy that either has to mentally prepare every day or every fifth day. He can't get into a grove for either job.

The Jepsen trade, which at the time was questionable, now just looks laughable. The Aaron Hicks for John Ryan Murphy trade? Would have been the worst in his tenure as Twins' General Manager if not for the fact Hicks has been awful for the Yankees this season.

There is the lack of looking to trade Trevor Plouffe and insisting that Miguel Sano will be just fine out in right field. Now, Plouffe's trade value is much lower than and Sano has never seemed comfortable in right field.

The organization lacks pitching prospect depth and a catcher of the future.

Last season's success seems more like a fluke than something the Twins could have built on.

If you want to blame the coaching staff you certainly can. I won't argue with that point. I believe the problems rest more on Ryan's shoulders than anybody else.

I don't think he returns for 2017. He may be the beginning of a long list of changes the organization should go through this off-season. Or sooner.

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I was against the Jepsen trade for the simple fact I thought our playoff chances were an illusion. But that's just me. May has broken down twice as a reliever and has been clear in his opinion that it's due to lack of normal rest. I guess we are going for the trifecta. There is only one good thing to come of this miserable year. It has made even a waffler like Ryan see some need for expediency. That said, he butchered the Plouffe situation, and now is stuck with him until he is off the DL. And he will butcher the Dozier thing also. The real proof in the pudding will be if he starts eating contracts, because there is no other way to unload any of that driftwood pitching staff, Santana being the exception. Don't be too easy on the manager though. Good grief the things he has done this year could fill a book on how not to manage any baseball team, yet alone a MLB one. The most recent stealing second with Sano up and two outs? And please don't tell me they ran on their own. That's what either signs, or the bench is for. That was three times as stupid as Rosario taking that open base.
    • LaBombo and hybridbear like this