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Everything posted by minman1982

  1. The Twins have shown thus far that they are a team that could easily win this division. The White Sox have had some bad luck so are probably better than what their record and stats indicate. The rest of the division is about where I would have expected. The question is how do the Twins matchup with some of the better teams in the AL?
  2. As far as his future with the Twins, does anyone see him getting traded at some point? I have always thought Sano was a streaky hitter. When he is hot, he is among the best in the game; when he is cold, it is ugly. If we could get a decent prospect or two for him, why not make a deal?
  3. I would like to see a series with the Yankees, Blue Jays, or Angels first. Let's see how they match up with other potential playoff teams. Right now, it looks like the bullpen is solid, the starting pitching looks good, the defense has been good, and they are hitting the ball well. Is this a function of just playing weaker competition or are they actually a good team? We don't know for sure yet.
  4. What should we expect? Even the best teams lose to poor teams at some point during the season. If we take the Dodgers out of the equation (since it is clear that they are an elite team right now), the Twins are 18-8 against mostly mediocre to poor teams. That is a 0.692 win percentage. If the Twins can take seven out of ten from every poor to mediocre team they will face the rest of the way, we probably should start selling tickets for October. I have been impressed that this team has kept finding ways to win. At the beginning of the season, I would have said that everything needs to go perfectly and they needs some luck on top of that to maybe compete for the postseason. While the Twins have had some luck go their way, things have definitely not gone according to plan. I am happy to celebrate that a month into the season the Twins are three games up in a very winnable division and seem to be in the driver's seat right now. I look forward to some head-to-head games with Cleveland and Chicago later this season.
  5. It sucks to lose Correa but I am excited to see what Royce Lewis can do in the Big Leagues. If Lewis is clearly over matched or just average, it makes the decision easy when Correa returns. Send him back to St. Paul to play every day. If Lewis does really well, it makes this decision a lot harder. Do you find a spot for him to play every day with the Twins or do you send him back to St. Paul? I don't think you can have him ride the bench at Target Field. While this is certainly a more complicated situation, it would be a good problem to have for a change.
  6. I have to agree. If the Twins went down 1-2-3 in the top of the 4th, maybe you could argue that sending Bundy back out for another inning of work is a smart way to protect your bullpen since your offense clearly isn't performing either. The Twins tried their best to claw out of a six-run hole, and almost did it. The fact that this was clearly a winnable game when the bottom of the fourth started should have paved the way for the bullpen (which has been outstanding as of late) to take over. With the number of starters we currently have and how well some of the others are performing, I would have to believe that Bundy's days as a Twins starter are coming to an end pretty soon.
  7. "Team chemistry" is one of those amorphous things that is really hard to pin down. How do you know if a team has good chemistry or not? Obviously, if you are winning games, a lot of the little issues in a clubhouse get ignored. I may not like you very much but if you are going to help us win, I will put up with you and even pretend to be your friend. Losing does the opposite. It is easy on a losing team to blame others for your team's performance and try to find scapegoats for every situation. Since it is next to impossible to actually quantify "team chemistry" in any meaningful way, it is hard to answer the initial question. My gut feeling is that it is a little of both, winning games contributes to better team chemistry and better team chemistry increases your odds of winning a game. Basically, a positive feedback loop where one improves the other and vice versa.
  8. If you are a pitcher and you can trust your defense to make the routine plays and make a couple spectacular plays mixed in, it gives you a lot more confidence to throw the pitches you want to throw. If you can trust your infield to do their job, you don't need to try to strike everyone out. Correa and Urshela are definitely improvements on the defensive side of the ball. Polanco seems much more comfortable at second than at shortstop. I would be fine with going with Arraez/Kiriloff (when he returns) at 1B, Polanco at 2B, Correa at SS, and Urshela at 3B as the normal defensive alignment.
  9. While walk off wins are exciting, it was nice to have a boring win for a change. Joe Ryan completely dominated the Tigers and it felt like the Twins were in complete control from start to finish. If this is going to be a team with aspirations of postseason success, this is what needs to happen when we play mediocre to bad teams, like the Tigers. It would be nice to complete the sweep today and bring a seven game winning streak to Tampa on Friday. The Rays should prove to be a more capable opponent so this will be a good test for the Twins. If the Twins can look competitive over the weekend, maybe this team is for real. If they get their butts handed to them, we will know that the AL Central just stinks. If the Twins look dominant in Tampa, maybe they enter the conversation of legitimately good teams. I would be happy to see them not get swept over the weekend. 1-2 against a probably superior opponent at their home field is nothing to be embarrassed about.
  10. When I coached sixth graders, we taught our catcher (or any other player for that matter) to NEVER throw the ball back to third on a play like the last play of the game. Nothing good comes out of throwing the ball again. Best case scenario, you get Urshela for the second out and Larnach probably scores in the process. Better to take the bases loaded one out than risk giving up a run (or two) by doing something dumb.
  11. I don't see Correa staying in Minnesota long term. Depending how this season goes, I would not be surprised if he opts out. The only advantage I see to stay beyond this season is to build more time between the present and his time with the Astros when they won a the trash can World Series. I don't see the Twins as a team that is going to be willing to give a long term deal with $300M, unless it has a ton of incentives in it and a lower base salary (kind of like the Buxton contract).
  12. The answer is yes. Byron Buxton is the best player in baseball when he is on the field. Let's put it into perspective. Over the last two seasons, Buxton has 0.076 WAR/game played, best in MLB. The next best is Mike Trout at 0.069 WAR/game. Buxton is currently third in the AL in WAR at 1.2 (and he has missed 6 of his teams first sixteen games). Let's assume that he manages to be healthy enough to play in 110 more games this season. If he produces at the same rate he did over the last two seasons while on the field, that would put him at 9.6 WAR for the season. For comparison, a 10-WAR season is generally considered an all-time great season (only eight position players have every done this, Mike Trout has done it twice). The key question is can he stay on the field? If he does, he is a generational talent like Trout, Barry Bonds, Joe Morgan, or Cal Ripken Jr. The fact that he hasn't been able to stay on the field consistently is the only reason the Twins could sign him to an extension. I think the good news is that even though Buxton has had more than his share of injuries, none of those injuries seem to be related or recurring. If you talk about players who have simply had bad luck when it comes to injuries, Buxton has to be near the top of the list.
  13. Got to love that Sano hits a 2 run homer in his first at bat today. Looks like the 0-21 to start a season is going to have to wait until next year. Then he backs it up by WALKING in his next plate appearance.
  14. It will be interesting to see if this opens the gates a little bit for the offense. Overall in this series, I feel the pitching has been decent. If we ignore the stinker of an inning that Duffey threw yesterday, the bullpen has been nearly rock solid. All three starters have been about what I would have expected. It was really nice to see the bats get going this afternoon. Six homeruns from 5 players today with Arraez and Urshela getting into the action the last couple days shows that there is some power in this lineup. It feels like this is a team that could score ten runs in about any game they play this season. Play of the day for me was the throw from Correa in the first to prevent Winker from scoring. Great relay from Kirilloff and great throw to the plate. Winker was almost to third when Kirilloff started to throw the ball from the outfield wall. Correa has shown just with his defensive play that he is worth $30M this season. The Donaldson trade is looking pretty good right now. Urshela and Sanchez have shown they can contribute. We dumped Donaldson's contract and freed up the money to get Correa. Lastly, I never felt that Donaldson ever really fit in with this team and in this clubhouse. Urshela, Sanchez, and Correa all seem to fit in.
  15. I like the idea of sending Winder down to start the season and maybe using a few bullpen games in the first three times through the rotation. If there will be a 28 man roster to start the season, that gives you enough bullpen depth to pull this off. It is also worth noting that while Ober and Ryan were good last year, the sample size on them is very small. It is certainly possible that one or both of these guys plays themself out of a starting spot, in which case Winder (or someone else) will need to step up. Either way, I think the Twins are going to need to get another established major league level starting pitcher if they are going to actually try to compete this year. I could see the FO waiting to see what happens in the first month before giving up any of the farm to get a pitcher by trade.
  16. The problem I see with the "opener" strategy is that it requires you to put a lot of work on your bullpen during that game. In order to be successful using this strategy as more than a stop-gap for a single game, you need to both have quality bullpen depth and a couple of other quality workhorse type starters to protect your bullpen in other games. If you top four starters only average five innings and you are trying to use your "opener" as your fifth starter, you would be relying on your bullpen to go about 5 innings per game. I don't believe the Twins (or many other teams, for that matter) have the bullpen depth to do this for 162 games. The question I have is are we better off having two pitchers (say, Jax and Thorpe) give us five innings of work or sign someone like Cueto who might also be able to give you five quality innings? For the record, unless Cueto is dirt cheap, I don't think he has enough of an upside to make it worth signing him. Also, this FO doesn't really have a great track record when it comes to picking starting pitchers out of another team's trash bin. The Twins also seem to have a lot of near MLB ready starting pitchers. Could the fifth spot be a combination of these options mainly to see if we have a diamond in the rough somewhere in our organization? Maybe Thorpe or Jax surprises everyone and is dominant and shows they are a legitimate starter. I doubt this will happen but you never know, stranger things have happened in baseball.
  17. We will see what happens tomorrow, but I cannot imagine both sides wanting to push this thing far enough to have the whole 2022 season (or even a large portion of it) called off. If you think what happened in 1994-95 was bad for the sport, think about what losing a whole season (after playing through COVID) because owners and players can't figure out how to split up billions upon billions of dollars would look like. It would not be good for the owners or the players to lose the 2022 season.
  18. The question in my mind is whether the Twins are going to be able to compete in 2022 or should they do a mini-rebuild and shoot for competing in 2023 or 2024. If it is the former, I would shop Jeffers and see what we could get in return for a trade. If we could get a functional major league starting pitcher, that would go a long way to being competitive next season. I think we keep Garver and Rortvedt in this case as our two catchers. If, on the other hand, the Twins are not looking to be competitive in 2022, maybe trading Garver makes more sense. There would certainly be an interested team or two out there and we might be able to snag a couple of near MLB ready players that can be developed in 2022 for the majors in either 2023 or 2024.
  19. I was there tonight and it was a fun and exciting game. A little bit of everything. What was up with the White Sox backup catcher? He allowed the Twins to advance four bases on passed balls. What you probably didn't see on the television broadcast was that the Twins runners on bases clearly smelled the blood in the water and were taking huge secondary leads at every opportunity. Gordon's triple was a thing of beauty. I look forward to seeing him in the lineup for years to come. I think Thielbar was left in too long and Duffey just looked terrible. Rogers really deserves the credit for preserving the lead and saving the game. Robles was alright but he had some margin of error to work with. What you are missing is the Sano at bat after Kirilloff's HBP and Kepler's walk. Sano looked lost up there. Sure, he got a hit later in the game and eventually scored a run but you need to advance the runners with two on, no one out in that situation. Put the ball in play. Don't worry about swinging for the fences. Bunt the ball, if you need to. I was not surprised he struck out on 3-2 (in fact, I commented to the person next to me that Sano wasn't going to take this pitch so why throw him something in the zone). If I know it, every pitcher on the planet knows he wants to swing on that count and is going to throw him something low, probably out of the zone. That is exactly what happened.
  20. I think we first of all need to be realistic about Berrios as a pitcher. He is not an ace level starting pitcher and probably will never be one. He has a career ERA just above 4.00, he strikes out about 1 per inning pitched, and he has a career WHIP of 1.26. I think we may have a skewed view because the rest of the rotation (aside from maybe Pineda) has been so putrid this year. With that said, he would make a solid #2 or #3 on many teams or round out the rotation of a really good team. If you are in the playoff hunt and maybe need a starting pitcher to get you over the hump, Berrios might be your guy. I like the idea of asking him and his agent what he wants to be paid or what he is expecting in terms of a contract. If they are looking for something in the range of 5 yr/$75M, that would seem fair and reasonable to me. The question then becomes can the Twins build a team around him over the next five years. If they are looking at 5 yr/$150M (ace money), no way. Now if someone like the Blue Jays really blows the Twins away with an offer, why not make the deal? If the Jays would be willing to part with a couple top prospects for a season and a half of Berrios, it would seem like a no-brainer to me.
  21. I forgot that was his MVP year. I would take Morneau in his prime over Sano any day of the week.
  22. What is cursing the Twins is terrible pitching and poor performance in high leverage situations. The Twins currently have the worst pitching staff by WAR in MLB (no surprise to anyone). While you might like to blame the relievers for this, the starters have helped lead the charge to the bottom of the MLB. Minnesota starting pitchers are currently the second worst in MLB by WAR (better than only the Chicago Cubs). In fact, the only Minnesota pitcher that is pitching consistent with his past performance is Big Mike. While the Twins offense has generally been decent (they are somehow still in the top 10 in SLG, AVG, OPS, and a host of other offensive stats as a team), it doesn't take much statistical analysis to know that it has not performed in high leverage and late inning situations. I don't think it is any surprise that the Twins are in the bottom 10 in almost every conceivable batting stat in the late innings and with RISP and 2 outs. They are also an insane 0-7 in extra inning games and I think they have only won one or two one run games. If you can't generate offense in the eighth, ninth, and tenth innings, you are going to have a ton of trouble winning close games. Some of this could be chalked up to "bad luck" and may work itself out over the course of the long season but so far this season has been watching everything that could go wrong, go wrong. Bad luck, cursed, or not, I can't imagine this team being able to dig itself out of the hole they are in. It is time to think about next summer and what types of moves need to be made the rest of the season and this upcoming off-season to improve this team moving forward.
  23. For the record, the 2006 Twins got back to .500 at a record of 34-34. If the 2021 Twins are going to match that they will need to go 20-7 over the next 27 games. While that is certainly not impossible, this doesn't feel like a team that can win two thirds of its games for a month. It doesn't get any better the rest of the season. If we assume it will take about 95 wins to get into the playoffs, the Twins need to go 81-40 the rest of the season.
  24. That should just about end any hopes of turning the 2021 season around. A week ago, I was looking up the 2006 Twins just to see how bad their low point was in May. I was shocked to realize that the 2006 Twins were only one game better in mid-May than the 2021 edition. There are many key differences between then and now. No Johan Santana. No Fransisco Lirano. No Joe Mauer. No Pirahnas. No hitting everything in sight with runners in scoring position. The 2021 Twins are not going to go 16-2 (or whatever crazy record they had in 2006) in interleague play this year. The 2006 Twins were a good team that was underperforming in April and May. It feels like the 2021 team is not a good team.
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