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About this blog

Stats-inspired insights from a former amateur baseball umpire

Entries in this blog

From Contender to Champion: my plan for the 2020 Minnesota Twins

This time last year, I gave an offseason blueprint that had the Twins winning 100 games in 2019. Commenter tarheeltwinsfan appreciated that, saying "I like your hope-filled optimism." Well, so did the Twins, and they one-upped it by winning 101, beating my overly-optimistic hope by a win.   What won the Twins the division in 2019 won't do so in 2020. They have to be considered the favorite no matter what offseason moves they make, no doubt. But, don't forget that their Pythagorean wins were 97,

PSzalapski

PSzalapski

Take a moment and enjoy the Twins' best regular season of your lifetime

Division champions   I know we're all excited about the playoffs, but let's take a minute to appreciate the Twins' excellent regular season just concluded. 2016 2017 2018 2019 changeActual wins 59 85 78 101 +23Pythag wins 66 83 77 97 +20 The Twins had their second-best season ever, in terms of their record. Of course, the American league is much more stratified than ever, there being five teams with 95 losses or more, and the Tige

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PSzalapski

The 60 Million Dollar Team: We can rebuild it, we have the technology

A team barely alive   Some are saying the Twins should abandon the effort to seriously compete in 2019 and aim to reload for 2020 and 2021, when prospects like Alex Kiriloff and Royce Lewis will be ready to contribute. That's a mistake to me--with a payroll commitment of only about $60 Million, they almost can't afford not to spend some serious cash. I'll lay out what we can learn from 2018 and what the Twins can do not only to compete but to put themselves in position to win the American League

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100 wins in 2018

What a year! 2016 2017 changeActual Wins 59 85 +26 Improving by 26 games is quite a feat. So how did the 2017 Twins get there? 2016 2017 changeActual Wins 59 85 +26Pythag Wins 66 83 +17Luck -7 +2 +9 Okay, so the actual improvement was more like 17 games. The "Luck" here is shorthand for the difference between their wins and the wins we should have expected given their run totals--in other words, the advantage the Twins h

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Rejiggering the 2014 Twins: the Lineup

In my last "Rejiggering" post, the Twins' starting rotation got an overhaul by adding a borderline ace and a mid-rotation reliever. This is the minimum the Twins must do to have even a shot at being competitive in 2014. If they don't improve their pitching, nothing else matters. Since that post, the Twins' pitching has gotten worse--Kyle Gibson has been sent down, and Scott Diamond and Vance Worley remain with him in AAA. This underscores the futility of regarding the current staff as viable

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PSzalapski

"Infield fly, if fair" sometimes isn't fair

When I first started as an umpire, the infield fly call gave me a bit of trouble. The first infield fly call I ever made was in error, as there were 2 outs. I never made that mistake again.   Subsequently, umpiring in teenage leagues, these fly balls that were catchable with "ordinary effort" often weren't caught regardless of effort. Instead of leading to a unfair double play, the Bad News Bears would in panic throw the ball into the woods to try to make up for it. Too many arguments ensued

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Rejiggering the 2014 Twins: starting pitching

All along this year, I have been holding out hope that the 2014 Twins could compete to win their division. Although things look a bit dimmer now than at the beginning of the year, I'd like to think that's still true. I've been mulling over what needs to be done to make that happen.   I was at Target Field for Saturday's game against the Indians. My first disappointment was that Kevin Correia was pitching--but I couldn't any Twins pitcher that I'd rather see. I settled into my seat and took in

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Zumaya is not the problem

I just read the news about Joel Zumaya. I suppose none of us should be surprised Zumaya could be injured. Some will use this as an opportunity to say that the twins should have signed more help for the bullpen. While that may be true, I think it ignores the bigger picture. The Twins need to improve their teaching staff as a whole and two thirds of the innings of a pitching staff come from starters.   Now I've heard it said that the Twins have five number four starters. I think this is a litt

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PSzalapski

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