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Article: Week in Review: Mauer Passes Carew

joe mauer jake odorizzi stephen gonsalves tyler wells
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#1 Nick Nelson

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Posted 26 August 2018 - 06:24 PM

A momentous milestone stood out as the biggest highlight in an otherwise lackluster week for the Minnesota Twins.

Read on for the full rundown of everything you need to know from the past seven days.

Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 8/20 through Sun, 8/26

***

Record Last Week: 2-5 (Overall: 61-69)

Run Differential Last Week: -16 (Overall: -37)

Standing: 2nd Place in AL Central (13.0 GB)

HIGHLIGHTS

On Friday night, Joe Mauer notched his 2,086th career hit, surpassing Rod Carew for second place in Twins history. On that list, Mauer now trails only Kirby Puckett (2,304). He probably won't catch Puck but Mauer has admirably carved out a place in franchise lore.

All-around, Mauer had an okay week by his current standards, collecting seven hits in 26 at-bats (.269) but it sort of epitomized his greatly reduced offensive impact. All seven hits were singles and he drew two walks, so the end result was a .590 OPS with one run scored and one driven in.

On the same night Mauer made history, Jake Odorizzi ended his own (less favorable) run at the record books. Prior to completing seven innings against Oakland, Odorizzi had gone 30 consecutive starts without recording an out past the sixth, the sixth-longest streak ever.

It was a very strong performance from the righty (7 IP, 1 ER), and a high point in what's been an up-and-down season. The aforementioned streak speaks to Odorizzi's lack of length – he's completed six innings only eight times in 27 starts this year – but altogether he's been about exactly what the Twins should have expected: an average starter and respectable back-end piece in the rotation. His ERA+ of 100 is nearly identical to last year's 101 and his career mark of 103.

Some other good news: Tyler Austin just keeps mashing. The slugger launched three more home runs over the weekend, including two on Sunday (Minnesota's only offense in a 6-2 loss) and is now rocking a jaw-dropping .333/.370/.786 since coming over from New York at the deadline, with six home runs in 12 games.

As I wrote last week, Austin is looking like a hell of a pickup by the front office, with a chance to play a key role in 2019.

LOWLIGHTS

The much-anticipated major-league debut of Stephen Gonsalves on Monday didn't exactly go as hoped. Facing the White Sox at Target Field, Gonsalves made it through one inning without much trouble but was ambushed in the second, allowing seven of eight hitters to reach base (triple, double, two singles, two walks, HBP) before getting the hook.

His second turn on Saturday was an improvement, as he made it through five innings against Oakland, but he still wasn't sharp. He threw only 48 of 90 pitches for strikes, and while three of the four runs scored against him came on one swing of the bat, Gonsalves earned the poor results by allowing seven hits and four walks with just two strikeouts.

Through two MLB starts, the left-hander has allowed as many earned runs (8) as in his last seven at Triple-A. It's a different ballgame up here, as Gonsalves is quickly learning. Hopefully the experience will ultimately benefit him.

On Wednesday, Kyle Gibson failed to complete five innings for the first time since April, coughing up seven runs (four earned) in 4 2/3. He issued four walks, his highest total in two months. It wasn't pretty, but there's also not much reason for concern. Gibby did induce 14 swinging strikes (highest total in four August starts) and he had a 3.27 ERA over his previous five turns. Everyone has a hiccup here and there.

The hiccups have been far too routine for Addison Reed, who continues to throw utterly hittable junk with the expected results. In three appearances last week he allowed three runs on six hits over four innings while striking out only one of the 18 batters he faced. On Friday night, the A's launched a pair of homers against him on meatballs left out over the plate.

His once-powerful fastball has lost any semblance of effectiveness. This velocity chart via Brooks Baseball pretty much says it all:


Download attachment: reedFBvelo.png

With Jim Thome fittingly in attendance, Miguel Sano had a very loud hit on Saturday – the 13th-longest home run in Target Field history, per Twins communications boss Dustin Morse – but it was one of only two knocks for him in a week that saw his average sink to .212.

It's now been almost a full month since Sano returned from his banishment to Single-A, and during that span he has hit .226/.305/.441 with a 33.3% K-rate. It's encouraging relative to what we saw early in the season, but still not entirely reaffirming.

Sano would do much to bolster the team's 2019 outlook by putting together a convincingly excellent final month.

TRENDING STORYLINE

September call-ups are around the corner. With rosters expanding on Saturday, the Twins will have some important decisions to make regarding their team's makeup. (Though they may wait until minor-league seasons end a few days later to make the majority of decisions.)

On the position player side, it's a fairly straightforward situation. The only big question is whether or not to recall Byron Buxton, though his improved play since returning to Rochester's lineup might be answering it – after collecting three hits on Sunday, Buxton's batting .333 with a .583 slugging percentage in eight games since his latest DL stint.

If he does come back, it'll be interesting to see how much playing time Buxton can siphon away from Jake Cave, who's absolutely earned the right to keep seeing regular reps.

The pitching side is more complicated. There are a lot of starters on the 40-man deserving of looks as potential 2019 contributors: Gonsalves (who should stay up), Fernando Romero, Zack Littell, Lewis Thorpe, maybe even Chase de Jong. It's a matter of finding innings for all of them, as there's not much point in calling anyone up to sit on the bench.

As a possible solution, Paul Molitor has discussed a "piggybacking" approach, wherein multiple starting pitchers work in the same game (say, three or four innings apiece). This would make a lot of sense.

But then there's the issue of a crowded bullpen picture. Desperately needing to evaluate options amidst an uncertain relief outlook, the Twins need to prioritize who they want to see. Sadly, there just won't be room for all of John Curtiss, Nick Anderson, Luke Bard and Jake Reed (the latter three would require 40-man roster moves). It's already been tough enough to find regular work for the bullpen's current occupants.

We'll see how things play out next week.

DOWN ON THE FARM

On Sunday, Tyler Wells celebrated his 24th birthday. One day earlier, he'd turned in his fifth strong outing since being promoted to Class-AA Chattanooga, logging six scoreless innings with seven strikeouts. So far for the Lookouts, Wells has a 1.67 ERA and .196 BAA, with just one home run allowed in 27 frames.

The former 15th-round draft pick is firmly in the second tier of Twins pitching prospects, but Wells is not one to overlook. It's hard enough to do so given his towering 6'8" stature, but the results are also plenty eye-catching. In 114 innings between High-A and Double-A this season he has a 113-to-27 K/BB ratio and opponents are slashing just .192/.245/.286.

Elsewhere: Jhoan Duran, acquired in the Eduardo Escobar trade, put together another dazzling performance at Cedar Rapids, where he's got a 2.25 ERA and 41-to-7 K/BB rate through 32 innings after fanning 10 over six scoreless frames on Friday. Another standout in the farm's second tier of pitching prospects.

Also in Cedar Rapids, first-round draft pick Trevor Larnach had a monster week, flashing his big offensive potential by going 9-for-26 (.375) with two doubles and a homer.

LOOKING AHEAD

It's the Derek Falvey/Thad Levine reunion tour, as Minnesota travels to take on both of the top execs' former organizations. This road trip extends into the following week, when they'll visit Houston. The Twins will need to reverse their immense struggles away from home (22-40) to avoid pushing the modest goal of a .500 finish out of reach.

TUESDAY, 8/28: TWINS @ INDIANS – RHP Kyle Gibson v. RHP Carlos Carrasco
WEDNESDAY, 8/29: TWINS @ INDIANS – RHP Kohl Stewart v. RHP Adam Plutko
THURSDAY, 8/30: TWINS @ INDIANS – RHP Jake Odorizzi v. RHP Mike Clevinger
FRIDAY, 8/31: TWINS @ RANGERS – LHP Stephen Gonsalves v. LHP Mike Minor
SATURDAY, 9/1: TWINS @ RANGERS – RHP Jose Berrios vs. RHP Drew Hutchison
SUNDAY, 9/2: TWINS @ RANGERS – RHP Kyle Gibson v. LHP Martin Perez

Catch Up On Twins Daily Game Recaps

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#2 Platoon

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 05:21 AM

Unless the FO, for some inexplicable reason, decides to keep Buxton down on the farm, the idea that he has to "siphon" playing time away from Cave is puzzling. While I realize Buxton has had ample auditions, he is one of the two Twins sink or swim players. Obviously Sano being the other. Jake Cave is on the other hand a nice OF option in the event someone else fails. Ergo, a 4th OF. While the Twins future goes through Buxton and Sano, I think it would be difficult to find anyone who thinks it goes through Jake Cave.
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#3 ThejacKmp

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 06:25 AM

Unless the FO, for some inexplicable reason, decides to keep Buxton down on the farm, the idea that he has to "siphon" playing time away from Cave is puzzling. While I realize Buxton has had ample auditions, he is one of the two Twins sink or swim players. Obviously Sano being the other. Jake Cave is on the other hand a nice OF option in the event someone else fails. Ergo, a 4th OF. While the Twins future goes through Buxton and Sano, I think it would be difficult to find anyone who thinks it goes through Jake Cave.


If Buxton doesn't come up in September the twins gain an extra year of control. You can argue the merits but leaving Buxton off the September roster is not inexpliacable. I'm kind of hoping he hits well til the last red wings game and then tweaks a muscle so the twins have an excuse.
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#4 Platoon

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 06:46 AM

If Buxton doesn't come up in September the twins gain an extra year of control. You can argue the merits but leaving Buxton off the September roster is not inexpliacable. I'm kind of hoping he hits well til the last red wings game and then tweaks a muscle so the twins have an excuse.

I admit not having taken the control year into consideration. So inexplicable may have been an excessive comment. That said, he is of an age where it's time to settle the issue of his production. As for whether he can siphon time from Cave, if here? That uncertainty is inexplicable! :)
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#5 bighat

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 07:03 AM

 

While the Twins future goes through Buxton and Sano, I think it would be difficult to find anyone who thinks it goes through Jake Cave.

 

Why do you think that Buxton (24 years old, 1000 career AB, .230 average) deserves to play ahead of Cave (25, 163 AB, .263 avg) right now? Because he made some nice catches last year?

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#6 kenbuddha

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 07:58 AM

 

Why do you think that Buxton (24 years old, 1000 career AB, .230 average) deserves to play ahead of Cave (25, 163 AB, .263 avg) right now? Because he made some nice catches last year?

Because Buxton has shown an ability to eventually play above his peers at every level vs Cave's 163 at bats.

 

Because if you can get Buxton on track he could deliver another WAR greater than 5 as he did in 2017.

 

Because Buxton's defense is better than Cave's.

 

If the Twins were in the thick of a pennant race, then no, it wouldn't be a good time to give Buxton at bats over Cave. But that's not the reality of where they are. Obviously Buxton isn't there yet (if ever), but what do the Twins have to lose by trying to get Buxton more comfortable and productive at the major league level?

 

The upside of Buxton is higher than Cave, if things go well. If things don't go well, at least we tried.

 

If the Twins give up on every young player when they stumble, the long term outlook isn't going to be very good.

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#7 Thrylos

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 08:10 AM

To put Mauer's achievement in prospective relative to the two Hall of Famers:

Carew & Puckett achieved their numbers in 12 seasons to Mauer's 15.Carew ended up playing 7 more sasons with the Angels and got 968 more hits.

 

By no means Mauer passing Carew as second best in the Hits parade under a Twins' uniform puts him in a Hall of Fame discussion...

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#8 wsnydes

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 08:23 AM

 

Why do you think that Buxton (24 years old, 1000 career AB, .230 average) deserves to play ahead of Cave (25, 163 AB, .263 avg) right now? Because he made some nice catches last year?

Buxton is still considered to be a cornerstone player for this franchise. Cave took advantage of his extended time and showed that he at least belongs on the roster next season. Buxton at least showed what he could do at the plate in the 2nd half of last season. Cave hasn't approached that level of play offensively or defensively. Buxton still has plenty to prove however.

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#9 Number3

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 08:23 AM

"By no means Mauer passing Carew as second best in the Hits parade under a Twins' uniform puts him in a Hall of Fame discussion..."

 

Ditto, ditto and ditto. Truly hard to believe that Mauer passing Carew is even deemed worthy of a thread title. Only took him 3 more years to do it. Maybe Charlie Sheen actually posted that lol. Iwonder how much more Mauer made per hit than Carew did. Probably 10 times as much minimum.

 

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#10 terrydactyls1947

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 08:40 AM

To put Mauer's achievement in prospective relative to the two Hall of Famers:

Carew & Puckett achieved their numbers in 12 seasons to Mauer's 15.Carew ended up playing 7 more sasons with the Angels and got 968 more hits.
 
By no means Mauer passing Carew as second best in the Hits parade under a Twins' uniform puts him in a Hall of Fame discussion...


Calm down, Thrylos. This article only says that Mauer has "admirably carved out a place in franchise lore." No mention here of Hall of Fame.
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#11 Carole Keller

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 08:56 AM

 

If Buxton doesn't come up in September the twins gain an extra year of control. You can argue the merits but leaving Buxton off the September roster is not inexpliacable. I'm kind of hoping he hits well til the last red wings game and then tweaks a muscle so the twins have an excuse.

I know you are being a bit tongue in cheek hoping for an injury to a player, but I really hope there are no more injuries to Buxton and he's back up in September to get some reps in at the ML level before the off-season. If the only reason there is to not call him up in September is control over another year of playing time, I hope they don't do that, and I really don't want there to be an 'injury excuse' to do it, either, but would understand that.

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#12 ThejacKmp

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 10:01 AM

 

I know you are being a bit tongue in cheek hoping for an injury to a player, but I really hope there are no more injuries to Buxton and he's back up in September to get some reps in at the ML level before the off-season. If the only reason there is to not call him up in September is control over another year of playing time, I hope they don't do that, and I really don't want there to be an 'injury excuse' to do it, either, but would understand that.

 

Definitely tongue in cheek.

 

Can I ask why you don't want the service time to be a factor? It seems a no-brainer to me - this year isn't so much of a wasted year if the Twins get to tack another one on at the end. I guess I just don't see what Buxton is going to prove in September that us worth losing 162 games of control.

 

 

 

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#13 Tom Froemming

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 10:12 AM

 

"By no means Mauer passing Carew as second best in the Hits parade under a Twins' uniform puts him in a Hall of Fame discussion..."

 

Ditto, ditto and ditto. Truly hard to believe that Mauer passing Carew is even deemed worthy of a thread title. Only took him 3 more years to do it. Maybe Charlie Sheen actually posted that lol. Iwonder how much more Mauer made per hit than Carew did. Probably 10 times as much minimum.

1) You really don't think Joe Mauer reaching that milestone was the most significant thing that happened this week? 2) Pretty much every player in baseball right now has made more per hit than Rod Carew did. Get over it.

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#14 Thrylos

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 10:14 AM

 

Calm down, Thrylos. This article only says that Mauer has "admirably carved out a place in franchise lore." No mention here of Hall of Fame.

 

There is at least another article on the TD home page that does mention that...

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#15 ThejacKmp

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 10:18 AM

 

To put Mauer's achievement in prospective relative to the two Hall of Famers:

Carew & Puckett achieved their numbers in 12 seasons to Mauer's 15.Carew ended up playing 7 more sasons with the Angels and got 968 more hits.

 

By no means Mauer passing Carew as second best in the Hits parade under a Twins' uniform puts him in a Hall of Fame discussion...

 

This is pretty misleading.

 

Since we’re really measuring getting on base when we count hits, a better stat would be to include walks to hits. With that, Mauer is a 3020, Puckett is at 2754, and Carew is at 2698. If you want to look at it another way, you can do total bases including walks since clearly hitting home runs is better than singles. Mauer is at 3926, Puckett at 3903, Carew is at 3405.

 

And yes Mauer did that in two extra years (his rookie year was 35 games, not really a full year) but he was also a catcher for nine of those years and thus sat more games due to the position. The total number of games played is Mauer 1829, Puckett 1783, Carew 1635. The total plate appearances is Mauer 7839, Puckett 7831, and Carew 6980.

 

Joe Mauer’s statistical profile compares quite admirably to Rod Carew’s Twins career and Kirby Puckett’s entire career. In my book, he’s ahead of Puckett for sure (equivalent OPS+ while playing nine years at catcher) and Carew is debatable depending on how you weight positional value and take into context the relative ages of the two men during their Twins careers.

 

Joe Mauer had a strong HOF case before he got this hit. You’re right that passing Carew doesn’t change that but I don’t think anyone besides you said it did.

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#16 Tom Froemming

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 10:21 AM

 

There is at least another article on the TD home page that does mention that...

Seems real strange you'd want to drag that out over here then. Got any thoughts to share about last Wednesday's minor league report while you're at it? :)

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#17 ThejacKmp

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 10:23 AM

 

"By no means Mauer passing Carew as second best in the Hits parade under a Twins' uniform puts him in a Hall of Fame discussion..."

 

Ditto, ditto and ditto. Truly hard to believe that Mauer passing Carew is even deemed worthy of a thread title. Only took him 3 more years to do it. Maybe Charlie Sheen actually posted that lol. Iwonder how much more Mauer made per hit than Carew did. Probably 10 times as much minimum.

 

Repeating some from above:

 

Yes Mauer did that in two extra years (his rookie year was 35 games, not really a full year) but he was also a catcher for nine of those years and thus sat more games due to the position. The total number of games played is Mauer 1829, Puckett 1783, Carew 1635. The total plate appearances is Mauer 7839, Puckett 7831, and Carew 6980.

 

Since we’re really measuring getting on base when we count hits, a better stat would be to include walks to hits. With that, Mauer is a 3020, Puckett is at 2754, and Carew is at 2698. If you want to look at it another way, you can do total bases including walks since clearly hitting home runs is better than singles. Mauer is at 3926, Puckett at 3903, Carew is at 3405.

 

And ridiculous to talk about the salaries. Is Mike Trout overrated because Babe Ruth didn’t get paid as much back in the day? Get a clue about context, find some evidence, and stop trolling.

 

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#18 wsnydes

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 10:28 AM

 

Repeating some from above:

 

Yes Mauer did that in two extra years (his rookie year was 35 games, not really a full year) but he was also a catcher for nine of those years and thus sat more games due to the position. The total number of games played is Mauer 1829, Puckett 1783, Carew 1635. The total plate appearances is Mauer 7839, Puckett 7831, and Carew 6980.

 

Since we’re really measuring getting on base when we count hits, a better stat would be to include walks to hits. With that, Mauer is a 3020, Puckett is at 2754, and Carew is at 2698. If you want to look at it another way, you can do total bases including walks since clearly hitting home runs is better than singles. Mauer is at 3926, Puckett at 3903, Carew is at 3405.

 

I'm going ignore the ongoing debate here and just point out that I find these two paragraphs interesting.

 

That is all. :)

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#19 ThejacKmp

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 10:32 AM

 

I'm going ignore the ongoing debate here and just point out that I find these two paragraphs interesting.

 

That is all. :)

 

It is. My hypothesis looking at it would not have been that Puckett and Mauer were in a dead heat in PA and that close in games. I thought Mauer would still have substantially more because of the two extra years. He really has missed time due to catching and a few bigger injuries.

 

Also really shows what a fantastic hitter Carew was. Especially with the deader ball of the era. It's interesting to think if Mauer might have had Carew's mid-career (more batting titles, a run or two at .400) if he hadn't been catching 100+ games a year and was at 3B or a corner OF instead.

Edited by ThejacKmp, 27 August 2018 - 10:32 AM.

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#20 wsnydes

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 11:02 AM

 

It is. My hypothesis looking at it would not have been that Puckett and Mauer were in a dead heat in PA and that close in games. I thought Mauer would still have substantially more because of the two extra years. He really has missed time due to catching and a few bigger injuries.

 

Also really shows what a fantastic hitter Carew was. Especially with the deader ball of the era. It's interesting to think if Mauer might have had Carew's mid-career (more batting titles, a run or two at .400) if he hadn't been catching 100+ games a year and was at 3B or a corner OF instead.

Right, that's what I found interesting about it. I wouldn't have guessed any of that. Carew has the batting title named after him for a reason, that is for sure.

 

I'm one that finds context like this very fascinating anyway. It's a decent way to look at player performance across generations and still get a sense of what's actually been accomplished. You can go deeper if you choose to, but you don't necessarily need to.

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