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Way too Early: Predict Opening Day Roster

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#21 mlhouse

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Posted 05 February 2019 - 06:09 PM

 

If Mejia goes down we still have Littell, Gonsalves, Romero, Stewart, and Thorpe to fall back on and evaluate. As a last resort we also have Duffey. That's 7 options. Total them all up and you barely have Perez's salary. Another year could easily go by and they may still not really know if these guys can or can't handle the ML. And if they do know w/o putting them in ML games that these guys aren't up to the task then that is another black eye on our org's developmental ability again.

 

Personally, I don't think it is possible to make that call on any of these guys. Their career minor league records are too good. 

 

I think Duffey had been given the opportunity and it just isn't going to happen on the Twins.He is already 28 years old and has been given almost a complete year as a starter with 26 starts in 2016 and a basic full year as a reliever with 56 appearances in 2017. 

 

Instead of the idiotic "opener" concept, I think the Twins should work a 6 man rotation to work in Gonsalves and Romero.The 5th and 6th starter would pitch split the 5th spot essentially with the guy who has the off week being used as a potential long reliever out of the pen if necessary. 

 

Romero, Gonsalves, Littel, and Meija arent going to get better pitching to players they have already proven they can dominate in the minors. They have to take the steps up with the big league team.Pushing that date further and further away by bringing in these mediocre players as free agents/waiver wire pick ups is HURTING THIS TEAM'S LONG RUN COMPETITIVENESS.

 

I want to see several of these guys get the run that Duffey had starting this season (for several it should have started a year of even two years ago). I would liek to see Andrew Vasquez get 30 appearances, Gonsalves and Romero 10-12 starts in sort of a starting rotation.Meija have the 4th starting spot. 

 

Then, as you point out, if they don't have success, bring in Littel, Stewart, and Lewis Thorpe. Waiting on the current group just pushes the next group's potential arrival all the later.I use the Jim Eisenreich to Kirby Puckett transition asa an example. If the Twins don't promote Eisenreich to start the season with the Twins in 1982 directly from A ball with limited minor league experience, when does Puckett get his chance?1987?

Edited by mlhouse, 05 February 2019 - 06:13 PM.


#22 Thrylos

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Posted 05 February 2019 - 06:46 PM

I am certain that the Twins will add another player, maybe 2, before opening day.

 

That said, if opening day was tomorrow, and everyone was healthy, I agree with the starters as far as the lineup goes.I'd put Astrudillo over Cave (one option) on the bench.The Twins need a good contact hitter for late inning situations off the bench, and Astrudillo can at least provide that.

 

If Pineda is healthy he is on the rotation; if he is not, Mejia, Romero and Steward (and maybe Littell) are ahead of Gonsalves who has flaws to iron out in the minors. Mejia has to make the team; he is out of options; so Vasquez no more. The weakest cog in that pen in Hildenberger, and I hope that the new management staff realize that and use his option.Was one of the 5 worse relievers in the majors last season.Even Magill would be an improvement and he is barely replacement level...

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#23 RatherBeGolfing

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 07:54 AM

That roster has 77 wins written all over it


#24 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 07:57 AM

I really don't like the idea of Mejia not starting... that really bothers me. I would be a lot more MEH to Perez if he had a minor league deal with a 40 man spot, but as a major leaguer... yuck. I like even less the idea that Romero is heading to the pen. He's got a chance to be an above average starter. He could be the next coming of Mariano Rivera in the pen, and I'd still be upset about him not starting... He's got ace potential... you cannot move that to the pen prematurely. 

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#25 MMMordabito

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 08:16 AM

 

\

I get the injury issues with Meija, but eventually you have to put the guy out there and let him develop, or not develop.It isn't as if Meija is 22, he will be 26 years old in June.The time to let him sink or swim is now.  But, instead of just wrting his name in, they decide to sign a guy like Perez.

 

Haven't they tried to put him out there and let him develop? The problem has been the injury issues and the inability to get deep into games consistently.He hasn't shown the durability to earn being penciled in.

 

Also, Baldelli isn't going to be forced to start a 3.5 mill pitcher.Mejia, Gonsalves and Stewart have a whole ST to prove they should get that last spot. Of course, the latter two have options, so that might not matter for them.If Mejia outpitches Perez in ST and still gets passed over, then perhaps I'll grab whatever is left in the pitchfork and torch pile.


#26 yarnivek1972

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 09:33 AM

My only other tweak of the lineup is Cave vs. Kepler. I think both will get a chance to be every day players along side Rosario and Buxton with Kepler as an occasional LH 1B in place of Cron and Cave the fallback if Buxton gets hurt (again) or can't hit (again). Both will get ABs until one wins out. Cave beat Kepler last year and my guess is that he will do it again or both will be mediocre. I'm less sanguine on Kepler. I hope I'm wrong but 1500 ABs of .233/.313/.417 (.730) with a 97 OPS+ just ain't very good for a CF, much less a RF. He's reputedly a very good OF but with that bat he's a 4th OF as a RF. Cave went .269/.316/.481 (.797), 113 OPS+. If Kepler stays where he's been and Cave repeats or improves on the SO side, admittedly a big IF on Cave (less so on Kepler, he's had his chance and actually hit worse over time, not better), Cave plays RF and Kepler's the 4th OF/LH1B/LH DH. I predict that will happen and probably by June. Good teams have players compete for a spot and those who perform play more than those who don't. That's why they're good teams. I want us to be a good team.



Cave had a .368 BABIP last year. Kepler had a .236 - thirty points below his career norm. Kepler also posted career best BB rate of 11% and K rate of 16%. Cave posted a 6% BB rate and a 33% (yikes!) K rate.

You are certainly entitled to believe that Cave has a better future. The numbers disagree.

Literally all that has to happen for Kepler to put up better numbers is to post a .270 BABIP and Cave’s to drop to a more normal .300-.310.
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#27 Puckett34

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 09:41 AM

 

You left out Harper,Machado, & Kimbrell.

And Keuchel

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#28 IndianaTwin

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 09:50 AM

 

 

 

That leaves the choice as Vasquez or another reliever (Kimbrell? Duffy? Moya?) for 8 in the BP vs. Astudillo as a 3rd C/UT or Austin as a backup 1B/DH. I strongly suspect that the long term play will be an 8th RP, but they may take advantage of the early season off days to keep Austin or Astudillo around to start the season. They will try to sneak Austin through on waivers at the end of ST or early on where other teams have their own roster issues. He isn't so good that he'll be claimed for sure and there's a good chance he won't be claimed at all. Astudillo goes to Rochester as insurance for Castro and Garver, assuming both are ready to go at the start of the season or Astudillo stays if one is on the DL.

 

 

 

Not sure I agree on your third paragraph, re: Kepler vs. Cave, but I think your first two paragraphs nail things precisely, particularly the sentence I bolded above. We all know that injuries are going to force adjustments to the plan somewhere, but taking advantage of the schedule seems like such an obvious way to buy time on Austin.


#29 LA VIkes Fan

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 11:16 AM

 

Cave had a .368 BABIP last year. Kepler had a .236 - thirty points below his career norm. Kepler also posted career best BB rate of 11% and K rate of 16%. Cave posted a 6% BB rate and a 33% (yikes!) K rate.

You are certainly entitled to believe that Cave has a better future. The numbers disagree.

Literally all that has to happen for Kepler to put up better numbers is to post a .270 BABIP and Cave’s to drop to a more normal .300-.310.

I agree with you on the strikeout percentage but I'm not sure the math really works either as straight math or as an assumption. Kepler's last three years by BABIP/ISO/Avg are .261/.243/.224 (2016), .276/.182/.243 (2017), and .236/.184/.224 (2018). He's been pretty consistent, with the drop in the BABIP last year corresponding to the drop in his batting average. So even if he gets his BABIP back to his "normal" .250-.275 range, we're looking at a guy who hits .240-.255 with a .315 OBP, 15-20 homers and an OPS+ under 100. 

 

I start with the premise that production at that level isn't good enough for a starting RF on a good team. You can maybe get away with that in CF if both the corner OFs are strong hitters, but not in RF, particularly on a team where the CF isn't hitting much either.So I say we should look for an upgrade.

 

Two ways to get an upgrade - improvement by Kepler or use someone else.Maybe Kepler will break out, there were some good signs. It's just hard to bank on that breakout after 1550 plus ABs of the same basically mediocre production and where that production recently went down, not up. 

 

As for the someone else, Cave is really the only guy short term. Kriloff is a ways away and the AAA guys don't look like the answer. Cave has only a half season in the majors with a .363/.208/.265 BABIP/ISO/Avg. Way too many strikeouts and small sample size caveats absolutely apply. Cave's BABIP over 2017 and 2018 in AA and AAA was .319, .414 and .327.It's hard to compare that to Kepler since he didn't really play AAA, but his last year in AAA was part of 2016, where his BABIP was .309, and 2014 in AAA where it was .359, best he's had at any level.So, is Cave the upgrade? We don't know but the early signs are encouraging. 

 

My only real point here is that we should let these guys compete for this job, not just make it Kepler's job to lose.In a perfect world, they and Buxton would be competing for the CF and RF jobs but I think Buxton is with us unless he completely bottoms out or gets hurt. Give both Cave and Kepler early ABs and let them fight it out for the job. Playing Kepler a day or two a week at 1B and having them split the OF time, with a day in CF or LF for one of them, gives them both 4-5 games a week and makes that happen. Kepler will win if he breaks out and improves on his past 3 years. More of the same is not good enough. Cave will win if he give us a full season of what we got for half a season last and he improves his strikeout rate.Striking out 33% of the time is not good enough.If neither gets better, trade one, keep the other as the 4th OF , and either sign a Free Agent or promote LaMonte, Rooker or Krilloff. 

 

My early money is on Cave but I could be wrong. I'm rooting for both.  


#30 Doomtints

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 12:13 PM

 

I think anyone who strikes out only 3% of the time should be in the mix there somewhere.

 

https://www.baseball...id=astudi001wil

 

It's insane that the Twins act surprised by Astudillo's performance. His numbers in the minors are enviable. It's basically down to what he looks like, he's not built like the stereotypical baseball player.

 

I'm wondering where in the Twins shiny new advanced metrics spreadsheets his frame is scored.

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#31 spycake

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 12:20 PM

 

I agree with you on the strikeout percentage but I'm not sure the math really works either as straight math or as an assumption. Kepler's last three years by BABIP/ISO/Avg are .261/.243/.224 (2016), .276/.182/.243 (2017), and .236/.184/.224 (2018). He's been pretty consistent, with the drop in the BABIP last year corresponding to the drop in his batting average. So even if he gets his BABIP back to his "normal" .250-.275 range, we're looking at a guy who hits .240-.255 with a .315 OBP, 15-20 homers and an OPS+ under 100. 

It works as straight math.

 

Assume Kepler's 2018 components remain constant in 2019 (BB%, K%, ISO), except for BABIP -- assume that corrects +.025 or so, around his career mark.

 

That's basically just taking his exact 2018 batting performance, but exchanging 10 outs for 10 singles. Definitionally, that means he will improve on his 2018 OPS (and also 2016 and 2017 OPS, which were similar to 2018).

 

With just that modest BABIP improvement, his AVG will improve by about .018, and his OPS will improve by double that (since AVG goes into both OBP and SLG). So he'd have a career high OPS, and thus OPS+. Not by a huge amount, but it would be close to a 110 OPS+ or so.

 

You may disagree with the assumption that his 2018 BB% and K% will hold steady into 2019 -- obviously if those drop to 2016-2017 levels, his OPS will likely be at 2016-2017 levels too. But the theory is that K% and BB% stabilize more quickly than other stats -- so his 2018 may represent a real improvement in BB% and K%, and only a random blip in BABIP.


#32 yarnivek1972

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 12:47 PM

I fail to see the logic of making Kepler compete with Cave while handing a job to Buxton from day one. Outside of 6 weeks at the end of 2017, Buxton has never hit MLB pitching.

I’m not sure how you are estimating Kepler’s 2019, but he hit 20 HR with an obp of .319 in 2018 with his BABIP in the .230s. How do his numbers not improve with a BABIP jump of 20-30 points?

I notice there is also no projection of what Cave’s numbers might look like with a 50 point BABIP drop - which IMO is extremely likely. Just doing simple math (I know that’s a hated thing here), if Cave gets 500 AB, posts a BABIP of .310 and drops his K rate to 25%, he’s a .240 hitter with a .270 obp, unless he greatly improves his BB rate.


The main reason I want Kepler from day one is so he can be the lead off man. I know some (including me at times) have called for Polanco to lead off. After seeing a post suggesting Kepler, I have come to agree with it. Polanco is better suited to the two hole. Then Nelson, Rosario, Sano, Cron, Schoop, Castro and Buxton. Although, I’m not married to that order.

Edited by yarnivek1972, 06 February 2019 - 12:48 PM.

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#33 LA VIkes Fan

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 01:31 PM

 

It works as straight math.

 

Assume Kepler's 2018 components remain constant in 2019 (BB%, K%, ISO), except for BABIP -- assume that corrects +.025 or so, around his career mark.

 

That's basically just taking his exact 2018 batting performance, but exchanging 10 outs for 10 singles. Definitionally, that means he will improve on his 2018 OPS (and also 2016 and 2017 OPS, which were similar to 2018).

 

With just that modest BABIP improvement, his AVG will improve by about .018, and his OPS will improve by double that (since AVG goes into both OBP and SLG). So he'd have a career high OPS, and thus OPS+. Not by a huge amount, but it would be close to a 110 OPS+ or so.

 

You may disagree with the assumption that his 2018 BB% and K% will hold steady into 2019 -- obviously if those drop to 2016-2017 levels, his OPS will likely be at 2016-2017 levels too. But the theory is that K% and BB% stabilize more quickly than other stats -- so his 2018 may represent a real improvement in BB% and K%, and only a random blip in BABIP.

Thanks for this, that helps. I think you and I come to about the same place. If I understand you correctly, we should expect an .018 improvement in his batting average based upon a .025 improvement in his BABIP to make him roughly correspond with his career norms.To me, that would mean roughly a .245 BA with similar power stats.

 

I guess the one place we disagree is that when he has had the higher BABIP in the past he hasn't had a higher OPS+; it's been the same or lower. His OPS+ has been 97, 95 and 97.So maybe the disagreement is whether he's going to be able to raise his BABIP without sacrificing his SO and BB% improvements. It'll be interesting to see. You have given me hope on a guy that sure looks like a journeyman 4th OF so far.  


#34 LA VIkes Fan

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 01:50 PM

 

I fail to see the logic of making Kepler compete with Cave while handing a job to Buxton from day one. Outside of 6 weeks at the end of 2017, Buxton has never hit MLB pitching.

I’m not sure how you are estimating Kepler’s 2019, but he hit 20 HR with an obp of .319 in 2018 with his BABIP in the .230s. How do his numbers not improve with a BABIP jump of 20-30 points?

I notice there is also no projection of what Cave’s numbers might look like with a 50 point BABIP drop - which IMO is extremely likely. Just doing simple math (I know that’s a hated thing here), if Cave gets 500 AB, posts a BABIP of .310 and drops his K rate to 25%, he’s a .240 hitter with a .270 obp, unless he greatly improves his BB rate.


The main reason I want Kepler from day one is so he can be the lead off man. I know some (including me at times) have called for Polanco to lead off. After seeing a post suggesting Kepler, I have come to agree with it. Polanco is better suited to the two hole. Then Nelson, Rosario, Sano, Cron, Schoop, Castro and Buxton. Although, I’m not married to that order.

I agree and disagree. I strongly agree that Buxton, Cave and Kepler should be competing for two spots - CF and RF.The worst of the 3 should be the 4th OF. The rub is that Buxton's defense, speed and potential give him such a head start on the competition it's hard to see him finishing 3rd. I think we have to assume he's going to start in CF and stay there unless he gets hurt or hits like he did last year for the first 2 months. I agree that if Cave Drops to a .240 average with a .270 OBp that he goes to the bench and stays there. There just isn't evidence that I've seen that such a huge drop is likely, much less extremely likely. 

 

I disagree on leading Kepler off. He's never had an OBP above .319 (last two years - .312 and .319 ) and that's just too low for a traditional lead off man. Plus, he's prone to slumps.Polanco is better suited to that role based on past performance. Using the same test,Kepler is frankly better suited to hitting 7 or later unless his hitting improves.I don't think we want to sacrifice at bats away from others to give them to a guy with a consistent below 100 OPS+. He improves his OBP to .340-.360 or better, great lead off man. He needs to show that first before he leads off and then you can just move everybody down one in the order below.  

 

I would say the order is Polanco, Rosario, Cruz, Sano, Cron, Schoop, Cave/Kepler, Garver/Castro, Buxton/Cave. Schoop and Cave/Kepler can switch spots when Castro catches to avoid having two of the four potential LH hitters stacked together. 


#35 howieramone2

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 02:10 PM

 

Still holding out hope that the Perez major league deal was a joke. That 5th spot should be Mejia's. If anything Perez should go to long relief in blowouts. I think Torreyes makes the roster. Vasquez will be in AAA. I also hate the Romero to the BP thing but it will probably happen.

You're going to hand Mejia a spot in the rotation after 25 innings last season? I say it's 50/50 he starts on the DL. The time to win is now. If Mejia becomes a world beater, we can DFA Perez or move him to the pen.

 

We were a .500 team after May 1st last season. This is not the time to worry about the future, player development etc. This is the time to win and it's a no-brainer that Perez is in a better position to help us win than Mejia out of the gate.

Edited by howieramone2, 06 February 2019 - 02:14 PM.

25% of the time you can beat anybody. 25% of the time you can't beat nobody. It's the other 50% of the time that defines you as a pitcher.


#36 yarnivek1972

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 02:15 PM

Polanco’s career obp is .329. Kepler’s is .313. I don’t see how Polanco fits the bill that much better than Kepler. Especially when, as has been noted, just a return to his normal BABIP probably ups his obp quite a bit.

As for why Kepler’s numbers weren’t better with a higher BABIP in 2016-7, I think the answer is obviously walking more and striking out less. Sure, that part of his game could regress. It’s just as likely to get better or stay the same.

Bottom line is there is a reason why a lot of people are high on Kepler. He has shown advanced plate discipline and has shown an ability to make adjustments (improving vs LHP as an example). I honestly feel that his low career BABIP is due to something casual fans can’t see and am hopeful that some new members of the coaching staff can help. Because if he were posting a league average BABIP in the .300 range, he’d be an all star.

#37 mlhouse

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 04:18 PM

 

Haven't they tried to put him out there and let him develop? The problem has been the injury issues and the inability to get deep into games consistently.He hasn't shown the durability to earn being penciled in.

 

Also, Baldelli isn't going to be forced to start a 3.5 mill pitcher.Mejia, Gonsalves and Stewart have a whole ST to prove they should get that last spot. Of course, the latter two have options, so that might not matter for them.If Mejia outpitches Perez in ST and still gets passed over, then perhaps I'll grab whatever is left in the pitchfork and torch pile.

 

1. How do you "earn" being in there? If he makes a mistake or has a bad outing does he then get tossed? Does going back to AAA or lower and dominating then "earn" him the job back? Meija's career minor league ERA is under 3.50, his career ERA at AAA is 3.51, and his career MLB ERA is 4.11.THe guy is 26 years old now.He shouldn't have to "earn" a thing and instead should be given the opportunity to work through a season with the confidence that the team will not just abandon him when he has just because he makes a bad pitch or has a bad game.

 

2. I;m glad the old Twins didn't make Frank VIola "earn" his way into the starting rotation. His first two years at the major league level, 1982-83, he had ERAs of 5.21 and 5.49.Yet, they pitched him 126 innings the first year and then 210 the next.They did not abandon him and bounce him back and forth between the minors and the majors despite the fact he was just 22 years old and had only 155 innings of minor league experience (and a higher career minor league ERA to that point than Meija).

 

3,Then, as pointed out earlier in this thread, if Meija gets hurt, which would be likely, or bombs, you put the next guy up. Gonsalves...ROmero....THorpe.....Stewart....or any one of our touted minor league prospects that this FO doesn't seem to give a rip about.

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#38 spycake

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 05:58 PM

We were a .500 team after May 1st last season. This is not the time to worry about the future, player development etc. This is the time to win and it's a no-brainer that Perez is in a better position to help us win than Mejia out of the gate.


I agree, Perez plus Mejia is better for this team than just Mejia.

But if "this is the time to win", I think there must also exist another SP acquisition who is better for this team than Perez.

#39 spycake

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 06:07 PM

)
3, Then, as pointed out earlier in this thread, if Meija gets hurt, which would be likely, or bombs, you put the next guy up. Gonsalves...ROmero....THorpe.....Stewart.... or any one of our touted minor league prospects that this FO doesn't seem to give a rip about.


I think it is entirely fair if a team doesn't want Gonsalves, Thorpe, and Stewart as starters 6-8 on their depth chart right now, especially with how Mejia's 2018 season ended early due to elbow concerns. Doesn't mean they don't care about those guys -- it is just an honest assessment of their readiness to contribute at the moment.

Romero could do it, but the team seems to want to see him in the pen, which doesn't seem unreasonable either.
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#40 RaymondLuxuryYacht

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 06:16 PM

 

Watched part of Pineda's pitching workout on Friday in Fort Myers. They had people recording his workout to record his spin rate etc. At the end of the workout they told him that they would be recording every pitching session. They showed him the data from that session. They were explaining to him how he would be able to use the data and watch his videos to see how different factors would lead to his good or poor spin rates , why his ball might be flattening out, or why it might have better bite some days etc. I'm not a big data man but it was pretty interesting.

This is interesting - thanks for sharing it.Please keep us appraised if you watch any more this Spring.