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  1. Across the Meadow: July 24

    If you're not interested in hearing about all the targets, but you were intrigued - one way or another - by all the talk last night about Ian Kennedy, fast forward to 43:09 where we start talking about how it just makes too much sense to make a deal with the Royals.

    As always, all of our podcasts are available here or you can download directly from iTunes here.

    • Jul 25 2019 08:26 AM
    • by Jeremy Nygaard
  2. 2017 Twins 10-round Mock Draft

    Projecting Dillon Tate first in 2015 was incorrect. And I thought my chances of hitting on anyone was rapidly approaching 0%. But my next two projected picks - Kyle Cody and Trey Cabbage - both heard their names called by the Twins and I had my two picks correct for the second straight year.

    Last year, my string of two correct ended, but I did get Kirilloff and had many of the projected picks pegged near where they heard their name come off the board.

    This year, with one compensation pick, there will be 11 selections and 11 chances to extend my streak.

    To give this an as “realistic” feel as possible, I’ve used composite rankings, but that eliminates getting the correct answer at times, so I’ll be mentioning their Baseball America or MLB.com rankings, but will not hold myself to any rules regarding their rankings.

    First overall (round 1): $7,770,700: RHP Kyle Wright, Vanderbilt. There could be plenty of strategy that comes into play between now and next Monday night. But at this point, there is no reason to believe there’s a better option to come off the board first. There could be some late steam with a few prep players, but ultimately I think the Twins draft Wright, get him signed within a few weeks and save a few hundred thousand to spend later in the draft. (BA: 2; MLB: 3)

    35th overall (comp round A): $1,935,300: RHP Blayne Enlow, Louisiana prep. Enlow is a long (6’ 4”), powerful (mid-90s) right-handed pitcher who has impressed this year. I expect the Twins to draft more high-upside pitchers this year… (BA: 33; MLB: 29)

    37th overall (round 2): $1,846,100: LHP Jacob Heatherly, Alabama prep. ...and wouldn’t be shocked if they went back-to-back prep arms. While Enlow comes from the pitcher-heavy area scouted by Greg Runser, Heatherly falls in Jack Powell’s area. Heatherly is not as tall (6’ 1”) but also can run it up to the mid-90s. (BA: 64; MLB: 45)

    76th overall (round 3): $755,500: C Riley Adams, San Diego. Adams has the bat to play anywhere and might be able to stick behind the plate. While it’s not certain, I think we could see more bat-first players join the organization. The Twins have also used a lot of Top 10 round picks on catchers in the last handful of years and haven’t had a lot of success since drafting another college guy from the southwest: Mitch Garver. (BA: 73; MLB: 73)
    106th overall (round 4): $507,000: RHP Michael Baumann, Jacksonville. I like to work in a local player and assuming Sam Carlson isn’t available at 35, drafting a Minnesota prepster who left the state to play collegiately might be the next best guess. Baumann was drafted by the Twins in the 34th round in 2014. His development at Jacksonville has been steady should hear his name called early on Day 2.
    136th overall (round 5): $378,700: RHP Bryce Montes de Oca, Missouri. Montes de Oca was one of my favorites out of high school but needed Tommy John and signed with Missouri instead of turning pro. He’s got the 100 mph fastball at his disposal, but he’s still mostly projection, throwing only 69 innings over the last three years, with 61 coming this year as a starter. He struggles with control, but over time could develop into a frontline starter or a flamethrowing reliever. (BA: 147; MLB: 89)
    166th overall (round 6): $283,300: LHP Seth Lonsway, Ohio prep. A late-bloomer from the midwest who has shown to be one in a shallow pool of quality prep lefties. (BA: 128; MLB: 149)

    196th overall (round 7): $220,700: RHP Griff McGarry, California prep. The Twins have had a heavy presence in California over the last handful of years. Though McGarry might not be the route they go, expect that same presence again. McGarry is committed to Vanderbilt and might price himself out of signing by this point, but he has a draftable pair of pitches in his fastball and curveball. (BA: 175; MLB: NR)

    226th overall (round 8): $174,400: SS Dalton Guthrie, Florida. Another re-draft and the first “bloodlines” player to be included, as his father is former Twins pitcher Mark Guthrie. The younger Guthrie will start his professional career, though he may eventually have to shift to the right side of the infield. (BA: 169; MLB: 141)

    256th overall (round 9): $148,000: C J.J. Schwarz, Florida. During the Twins freefall last year, I started the #suckforSchwarz hashtag. Somehow wires got crossed and instead #Schwarzsucked. I’m still a believer in his bat and I think he’s worth still trying to develop as a catcher. (BA: 375; MLB: 172)
    286th overall (round 10): $137,100: OF Reed Rohlman, Clemson. Rohlman is crushing the ball this year for Clemson (.366/.451/.549) with nearly as many walks (25) as strikeouts (32) and played a phenomenal game in the field against Vanderbilt Sunday night. Though not ranked in BA’s Top 500, he’s the leader of a very good Clemson team and looks like (a left-handed hitting version of) Jayson Werth.

    That’s it. 11 picks, seven pitchers, two catchers, a shortstop and an outfielder. Are four preps too many? Are seven pitchers too many? I'd anticipate a cost-saving college senior or two will be drafted as well. We’ll get answers to all these questions a week from tonight.

    • Jun 05 2017 07:18 PM
    • by Jeremy Nygaard
  3. 2015: A Far Cry From Past Twins Futility

    It's time to realize the suggestion sounds clueless, and this club is proving you couldn't be more wrong.

    As things stand, the Minnesota Twins are currently 13-12 on the year. They are sitting in third place in the AL Central and are just 3.5 games out of first place in the division. After experiencing a -20 run differential and starting the season off on a 1-6 note, the club battled through a divisional-tilted schedule in April, and is ready to make some waves.

    Despite having an atrocious pitching staff, and less than ideal outfield defense in 2014, the Twins were amongst the best in major leagues when it came to scoring runs. Thanks to uncharacteristic performances from Kurt Suzuki and Danny Santana, Minnesota was buoyed by less than predictable contributors. In 2015, the outfield defense remains a work in progress, the pitching isn't yet top-tier, and the offense has clicked. While the formula sounds the same, the result is trending in a completely opposite direction.

    Twins teams of recent years haven't watched their records race towards 90 losses until the heat of the summer begins. As the season progresseg, the Twins generally dealt with declining play and injuries that have forced them into the doldrums of the AL Central. This time around, the 2015 version isn't waiting for the bottom to drop out, but instead, for it -- their season--to rise to the top.

    Regression was to be expected on offense this season with a handful of players. As noted, Suzuki and Santana were key contributors a year ago, and likely would not repeat their performances. Santana struggled early and has since rebounded to a certain extent, while Suzuki continues to scuffle at the plate. Despite their less than ideal contributions, the Twins have seen positives from a handful of other players. Joe Mauer looks himself once again, Trevor Plouffe is off to a blazing start, and the lineup as a whole has held its own.

    Outside of what is happening at the major league level, the Twins have some significant positives when it comes to depth. Top prospect Byron Buxton has bounced back from a slow start and has been absolutely on fire of late. While he still isn't likely an option until late summer at the earliest, Aaron Hicks has looked great for Triple-A Rochester. Missing out on the Opening Day roster, Josmil Pinto has positioned himself well in Rochester as well, and has turned his bat into a real asset. On the mound, Alex Meyer has struggled more often than not, but the Twins have plenty of options. Tommy Milone is a quality arm now on the farm, and he's joined by a lights out Taylor Rogers. Jose Berrios has continued to impress in the early going as well. No matter which way you cut it, the Twins depth from within this season is in a great place.

    Previous losing seasons have been book-ended by periods of competence and an unavoidable bottom falling out. This season, the Twins have the security blankets to make sure their current level of play remains at a consistent level throughout the season. Adding prospects along the way, as well as the eventual addition of Ervin Santana, Minnesota will continue to turn heads.

    It has become time to put the past four season of futility in the past and stop referring to this current club as a band of misfits. They've played their way into relevance, and the future prospectus is trending in an upward direction. Understand that this team isn't cut from the same cloth, and be better for it.

    • May 04 2015 03:20 PM
    • by Ted Schwerzler
  4. Things to Think About

    1. Mathematical Elimination -- I'm sure you were all just like me... Waking up this morning to discover that the Twins have been mathematically eliminated from any possibility of winning the AL Central title in 2015. 159 games to go and three games behind the Tigers and Royals... It's clearly over... Boy... the Twins sure jumped off that cliff quick.

    2. Next Year -- Sano hit a home run for New Britain... Umm... Make that... Chattanooga last night. Folks behind the fence as the ball was coming toward them were heard saying "Lookout". This is much better then when he hit home runs in Ft. Myers and the folks behind the fence were saying "Miracle". Oh By the Way... Aaron Hicks hit a home run for Rochester yesterday... Call him up now!!! He's clearly ready.

    3. 21-1 -- Yeah... Think about that... Just think about that. The Twins were outscored 22-1 over the course of three games to start the season. The margins are thin in baseball. Seventy wins is a bad team... Win 11 more games and you are an average team... Win nine more and you are a great team. Those margins are paper thin in the game of baseball... I gotta say... there is nothing thin about 22-1. Not exactly a flying start for Paul Molitor.

    4. The rotation -- Do we have one? I've lost track... Could someone post the current rotation so I can play along.

    5. Spring Break -- A couple of weeks ago... My oldest son... Took a break from college and went to Lake Havasu to join a bunch of other college students who were congregated in one spot. He sent a video back of him cliff diving into water below. Cliffs in Eastern North Dakota are approximately 10 inches high so this was a new experience for him. My immediate thought was... "If at first you don't succeed... So much for Cliff Diving".

    • Apr 10 2015 12:55 PM
    • by Riverbrian
  5. Words And Numbers

    In that regard, there's very little that separates blog readers from the Twins front office. But in the last few weeks a fount of frustration has welled up, particularly as regards recent roster decisions. I am no kind of astute baseball analyst (I mean, a large number of my posts turn in to abstract satires of North Korea...), but I think I know why this is.

    It all comes back to a key division between baseball fans: the fans of words, and the fans of numbers.

    Fans of words like the story-telling aspect of the game: The heartwarming narrative of a player coming into his own or coming back from injury; the mythical prowess of a 100 mile per hour pitcher or a Ruthian Home Run machine; the emotional love of the game.

    Fans of numbers like the statistical and factual aspect of the game: the value a player brings to the field, his role in creating runs and wins, his failure to avoid defeats, the logical appreciation of the game and its players.

    While I normally think about the separation between fans within the stands, the same split occurs when we try to evaluate players, and can be expanded to apply to when anyone evaluates someone else.

    Think of it like this: if you work in a job where you get performance reviews, and I'm struggling to think of a job where you wouldn't, your boss might highlight your productivity by saying something like this:

    "Wow Johnson, your coworkers and supervisor have been telling me all the great things you're doing this year. They rave about your contributions to the Snarflebargle Project and from what I've seen of you during meetings, I think you're ready for a step up."

    Or they could highlight it by saying something like this:

    "Wow Johnson, you've been incredibly productive this year. You've been averaging 50 hours of work a week, and the Snarflebargle Project has contributed to a 32% increase in our Doohicky sales alone! I think you're ready for a step up the ladder."

    But in reality, they probably have a mix of both the words that colleagues use to describe you and the statistics that they can measure. (As a school teacher I admittedly have no earthly clue what business meetings sound like, but I do know that I'd rather be judged by both comments from other teachers and student performance on standardized tests than just one of those. I suppose I'm hoping that other people have similarly rational evaluations.)

    Posted Image That's really what we argue about when we talk about who is ready and who isn't ready for the major leagues. We're used to the Twins scouting department (a more word savvy crew) running the show, basing judgements off of what they see in the minors and what the manager sees during spring training. Meanwhile, many of the fans (including those who seek out articles to read on-line) are hungry for a more number-friendly crew. But for as much as we talk about the Twins' statistical analyses (or lack thereof) as a catchall for the team's failings, we have to remember that there are benefits and drawbacks to both ways of evaluating people.

    Word lovers may be able to accurately describe a person's character, demeanor, attitude and potential, but they risk falling so in love with a concept of performance that actual performance means nothing. (After all, if word lovers like me ran teams, somebody would be fieldng a nine-man team of Air Buds)

    Number lovers may have a more accurate measurement of a player's performance on the field, comparisons with others their own age, and insights into areas for growth, but they risk turning an individual strength or weakness into a career- defining fact. (After all, if statistical measurements of skills were 100% infallible, Moneyball favorite Jeremy Brown would have been an All-Star, and Ryan Leaf would have proven more mature, intelligent and effective than Dan Marino).

    Posted ImageThe best case scenario is as old as Aristotle: moderation in all things and extremity in none. Evaluations should mix words and numbers, and while there's certainly anecdotal evidence to suggest the Twins could use more numbers, that doesn't mean that words are totally irrelevant to evaluating a player.

    There is far more that unites us Twins fans and the team management than divides us. Fans and management want a good team. We may have different ways of approaching that goal, but just as we accept both written and statistical performance reviews in our own jobs, just as we enjoy a beer with fans who talk about VORP as much as those who talk about "intangibles", we are better when we use both together.

    • Apr 10 2015 09:11 AM
    • by PeanutsFromHeaven