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Who Owned Whom? Notable Opposing Players Versus Twins Greats

Over a 7-year career ending in 1979, Twins DH Craig Kusick came to the plate 1461 times, compiling an unremarkable slash line of .235/.342/.392. Kusick may have had a briefer stay in the bigs, however,  if it was not for his uncanny ability to hit Frank Tanana of the California Angels  who was the most intimidating strikeout pitcher in the American League not named Nolan Ryan or Vida Blue.  Kusick ended up facing Tanana more than any other pitcher over his career – 59 times - which was abou

Twins Games Don't Just SEEM Long...

...at an average of 3 hours and 16 minutes, they ARE long.   The average Twins game wraps up in a not-so-brisk brisk 3 hours and 16 minutes – the longest average game time in the MLB this year. A length of time in which you could individually microwave 245 corn dogs or complete the Boston Marathon AND watch two episodes of Cheers while you rehydrate. This is not to say the Twins are a pokey team. Due to extra innings, they’ve pitched more innings per game than any other team except the Cardinals

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Twins Player Development is Very, Very Bad.

http://images.onset.freedom.com/ocregister/gallery/m2ymrx-b78945001z.120120423182439000g9q1760s0.1.jpg     The disappointing performance of the Twins prospects made me curious to see how the Twins compared with other teams in bringing good players to the majors. The quickest way to do this comparison was to look at the number of players receiving votes for Rookie of the Year since 2000 by team and to see, on average, what percentage of the votes they received. I then created a product of the two

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Teflon

Great Seasons You May Have Forgotten – Luis Tiant, 1968

http://www.clevescene.com/images/blogimages/2009/04/29/1241034084-tiant.jpg   1968 was a pinnacle of pitching in the Major Leagues. Denny McLain won 31 games for the Tigers and Bob Gibson compiled a legendary 1.12 ERA for the Cardinals while throwing 13 shutouts. Easy to miss when browsing through the performances from that year was a Cleveland pitcher who went 21-9 with a 1.60 ERA, 264 strikeouts and only 152 hits allowed in 258 innings. When seen today, those numbers could easily be mistake

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The MLB's Youth Movement

In 1971, the average age of MLB non-DH starting position players was 28.9. This began rising steadily year-by-year to a peak of 30.1 years of age in 1996. One could assume this was due largely to players’ careers being extended artificially by PEDs – or one could possibly assume teams were selecting older players in the amateur draft or perhaps being more deliberate with their prospects. Based on how the trend changes following a senate hearing, a BALCO bust and a couple of Jose Canseco tell-all

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Great Seasons You May Have Forgotten – 19 year-old Wally Bunker

http://www.vintagecardprices.com/pics/1830/166907.jpg   After making his debut as an 18 year-old for the Baltimore Orioles in the final game of 1963, right-handed pitcher Wally Bunker earned a spot in the Orioles starting rotation in May of 1964 and pitched a 1-hitter in his first start of the season. The teenager from San Bruno, California surrendered no earned runs in his next start and a single run in the next (all complete games) eventually extending his winning streak to six consecutive sta

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Steinbach in '96. How Do You Explain It?

I was watching the excellent ESPN 30-for-30 feature on the Earthquake Series of 1989 and in recalling various players on that Oakland A’s team, was again struck by how far off the charts Terry Steinbach’s 1996 was from any other season in his career at the advanced-for-baseball age of 34. Steinbach slugged 35 homeruns that season after never hitting more than 16 before or after. His 34 homeruns as a catcher (the other was as a pinch hitter) was the highest total for a catcher at that time in the

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Silver and Gold Together

It’s an honor when an MLB player is recognized as the best offensive or defensive player at his position by his league but it’s an even greater honor when he’s recognized as both. Greater, but not all that rare, it seems. Since the Silver Slugger award originated in 1980, the two awards have been given simultaneously to players a total of 172 times or about 5 times per season out of the 17 possible occurrences.   The first players to be awarded the combo platter* were Keith Hernandez, Willie Wi

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All-Star Selection Bias by Team, Top 10 Overachieving/Underachieving Managers

On a previous lunch hour, between bites of an All-P sandwich* I was wondering if there was a useable correlation between the number of All-Stars teams have and an expected number of wins. I thought if a team had a lot of all-stars and lower-than expected the wins, it might suggest a lackluster managing job. Higher than average wins per all-star, good managing. It turns out there actually is a very strong step up in average winning percentage for each incremental All-Star a team has. Roughly th

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How to get into the Hall of Fame as a manager

While the criteria for players being voted into the Hall of Fame is often subject of debate, the accomplishments required for managers is much more consistent.   Every MLB manager that accomplished any of the following conditions has been enshrined in the Hall of Fame:   1. Win at least 2000 games. (most wins and not in –Gene Mauch 1902; most wins among active managers – Bruce Bochy 1593)   2. Win at least 3 World Series titles. (Active managers with 2 titles- Bruce Bochy, Terry Francona)   3.

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Revisiting the 4-Man Rotation

http://hall-fame.com/cuellar.jpg   Parker Hageman posed his thoughts on how the Twins can improve their rotation through free agency. The players he suggested were either once-good pitchers who are now in decline or once-promising pitchers who have failed to keep their promises. If you are the Twins GM and those are the best pitching options the team can hope for in 2014, you wonder if there might be a simpler (and much cheaper) solution that nobody's thinking of.   The 4-man rotation.   Like ne

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