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  1. Like
    Dantes929 reacted to mikelink45 for a blog entry, Cheating   
    As we enjoy the new free agents and trades and speculate about the new season we have to also know that the new season comes with one overwhelming story - the Astros and their sign stealing. I cannot solve or resolve this issue although this does give the Twins some hope that this really good team might stumble and present one less obstacle to our own World Series hopes.
    I do have to admit that going from video and computer to banging a garbage can presents a really hilarious combination. Should the Astros relinquish their title? If it were the tour de France they would - ask Lance Armstrong. If it were the Olympics they might take back the records - ask Jim Thorpe (if you have psychic powers). If it is the NCAA you can ask Louisville (2013) about its basketball record, the UCLA women's softball team (1995), USC football (2004), Marion Jones Olympics (2000), Ben Johnson Olympics (1988), or Mohammed Ali boxing championship (1967).
    Baseball has a huge rule book and almost everything has been violated. While Jim Perry put up great records for the Twins and he has made our team hall of fame, his brother Gaylord made the MLB HOF despite his admittance and jokes about spitballs.
    McGuire, Bonds, Sosa, and Clemens have been judged by HOF voters to not make it - yet, but their records still stand? Why. If they cheated their records should not stand either. But they will - lets see Rose has the most hits, but is not eligible for the HOF, Bonds has the most HRs but is not in the HOF. We have some funny standards in MLB.
    Only the Black Sox have had their title removed - so why not the Astros? Will Beltran still get HOF votes - Jackson, Cicotte and others from his team did not? We now know that the HR heard around the world - the most famous playoff HR was actually tainted by having someone tip off Thomson and Ralph Branca has had to wear the goat crown ever since (not the new G.O.A.T). In an interview after we learned about this infraction this was a pertinent.

    AMOS: So they cheated?
    Mr. PRAGER: Yes, they did. Baseball has a sort of strange relationship with the stealing of signs. When you're standing on second base and you're peering in and stealing the sign with the naked eye, baseball not only allows that, it applauds that. But when, on the other hand, you use a telescope, they don't feel that that's appropriate.
    The full interview can be found here - it is very appropriate for this season.
    Of course this is not a full measure of cheating, stealing signs, cutting up or doctoring the ball and the Twins have not been immune - check out Joe Niekro
    Of course Joe was a former ASTRO!
  2. Like
    Dantes929 reacted to mikelink45 for a blog entry, Why the Eddie Rosario hate?   
    Why am I seeing shots at Eddie Rosario all over TD? No, he is not our best player, but he is a good player. He gets 1.6 WAR this year according to Baseball Reference. He had a line of .276 /.300/.500/.800 this year and in the little aside on the MVP for this year he sounds like he should be LVP. Last year he was .288/.323/.479/.803 and the same site named him MVP. Now we want to trade him for a broken bat and one of the regular season rabbit balls. What is going on.
    He is not HOF, but he is good. Who will take his place? Who will hit 32HRs and 109 RBIs if he is gone? Can we guarantee Larnach or Kiriloff are ready to do it? I hate having to be the one to speak up for Eddie, but someone has to question the madness.
    Here are some highlights - go ahead 3-run home run https://www.mlb.com/video/eddie-rosario-homers-21-on-a-fly-ball-to-right-center-field-luis-arraez-scores-m
    Astudillo and Rosario lead win
    Rosario 4 hit game https://www.mlb.com/video/rosario-homers-in-4-hit-game
    Garver and Rosario lead win
    Home Run 31 https://www.mlb.com/video/eddie-rosario-homers-31-on-a-fly-ball-to-right-center-field
    No he is not great - but he is good and if we choose to trade him it should not be because we want to get rid of him, but because we get a player who can do even more to help us win in the post season.
  3. Like
    Dantes929 reacted to Ted Schwerzler for a blog entry, A Season of Availability for Byron Buxton   
    In 2018, the Minnesota Twins star centerfielder Byron Buxton has played just 28 games at the major league level. Among hitters with at least 90 plate appearances, he checks in third from the bottom (above just Trayce Thompson and Magneuris Sierra). With a potential to play a maximum of 162 games in 2018, Byron has gotten in just 61 across all levels of pro baseball. If there's anything to take away from a lost season, it's that the most important trait going forward has to be availability.
    Injuries are always going to be a part of athletics, and at times, you're going to deal with relative flukes. From migraines to a foul ball breaking your foot, Buxton has tested that theory in earnest during 2018. What's unfortunate however is that this isn't the first instance in which the uber-talented outfielder has dealt with this type of setback. Byron has missed time in each of the past few seasons, and most of that time on the shelf seems at least somewhat preventable.
    By playing the game with reckless abandon, Buxton has thrown himself into outfield walls more often than he'd probably like to admit. The catches and highlights from those moments play on loop for years, but it's worth wondering what the opportunity cost is. Slamming into the wall in order to make a single out while trading a few games of availability seems like quite the ask. It's a difficult line to decipher when you're questioning if 110% effort is truly the best plan for long term success.
    From my vantage point, the most integral thing for the Twins to get Byron Buxton on track is a level of consistency. Allowing him to thrive at the major league level likely comes through a repetition of quality at bats and positive results. That blueprint requires him to be on the field, and in a position to compete on a daily basis. There's so much talent to be put on display, and he's significantly beyond the highest minor league level (as we've seen since his latest activation from the disabled list). Distancing him from the nicks and bumps that have taken Buxton off the field has to be the next step in this journey.
    Not all of Buxton's injuries are related to his centerfield exploits. He's hurt his wrist on the basepaths and at the dish, obviously migraines are a bodily issue, and things like an errant foul ball are simply bad luck. No matter what the malady though, having the Twins training staff best position Byron for success is imperative to his future development. Maybe the answer is to add muscle mass, or maybe it's having a more distinct understanding of outfield dimensions. At any rate, a new design taken with a focus on consistent health seems of the utmost importance.
    There's no reason to panic on the player at this point. Buxton is lightyears ahead of where his predecessor Aaron Hicks was at this point. Hicks is now the best centerfielder in baseball not named Mike Trout. Byron is also on par with the likes of Torii Hunter and Kirby Puckett at the same age. The talent and tools are all there for him to succeed, but he also needs to be physically capable of putting them on display in a more routine fashion.
    Telling a player to take their foot off the gas pedal is never an optimal plan of action. I don't know that it's the right one to suggest for a guy that's coming off being the best defender in all of baseball either. If there was something I found myself hoping Torii could impart on Byron during spring action down in Fort Myers, it was how to play all out while still protecting yourself for the long run. The Twins Hall of Famer only missed significant time once in his ten full seasons with the club. It's worth speculating that Buxton could end up being better than Spiderman if he can consistently stay on the field.
    Lost seasons from some of Minnesota's most important young players was always going to spell doom for the 2018 campaign. Going forward, the amount of time that Byron Buxton can limit away from the field of play only benefits the overall success of the organization. There's still a star in the making here, and worrying about the on field exploits does nothing for me. Keeping the young man healthy and in the action remains the biggest piece of the puzzle.
    For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  4. Like
    Dantes929 reacted to mikelink45 for a blog entry, Wins do count   
    https://www.si.com/more-sports/2011/07/01/kaplan-spahnmarichalToday I was motivated by reading an article on ESPN by Bradford Doolittle - hitting the reset on pitcher wins http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/21439977/hitting-reset-button-starting-pitcher-wins-baseball
    As a baseball fan who started out rooting for Warren Spahn, Lew Burdette, Hank Aaron, and Eddie Mathews of the Milwaukee Braves and then moving over to the new Twins as an usher for their first season my views are tainted by history and, while I like many new stats, I am bothered by the tendency to throw out the old stats with the recycling.
    Over and over I hear that wins don't count, then we drool over our greater win totals. True it is a team game and the wins by an individual pitcher have to be looked at under a new lens since the idea of a complete game where the pitcher really does control the outcome has changed and now we have shifted to the bullpen as masters of the mound, but the true aces rise above this.
    Sale and Kluber, Kershaw and Scherzer are not just great starters, they actually win games, even though they do not pitch very many complete games. To understand my love of the complete game and the true aces you should read about the Spahn/Marichal game in 1963 - https://www.si.com/more-sports/2011/07/01/kaplan-spahnmarichal
    How nostalgic this game is for me.
    Now admittedly in this era it is a thrill to see two starters go 7 innings against each other, but that does not diminish the win and loss records. It is true that the scorer never invokes his right to award the win to the most deserving so a relief pitcher can come in throw one ball and then get the win, but that is not all that common. The starter gets his record because he pitches long enough, often enough to get to the position to win.
    ​And I understand fielding and hitting are essential I remember when Ryan won the ERA title in 1987 came with an 8 - 16 record, hardly a great pct. Yet he overcame the poor teams he pitched for to surpass 300 wins just as Blyleven won 287 games pitching with some mediocre teams. I give him credit for this win total in addition to the new stats that pushed him in the Hall of Fame.
    I do not want to negate the new approach. In fact the bullpen era will create some interesting statistical aberrations that challenge our ability to compare pitchers from one era to another, but take nothing away from those winners of yesteryear.
    It is common place to always state today's athletes are the best ever. Kershaw is being anointed by ESPN weekly and he deserves his recognition, but necessarily his ranking. Give the same diet, training and opportunities, the greats of the past would be the greats of today and the greats of today put in another era would still rise to stardom.
    So how do we judge players? Old stats, new stats, the eye test? Maybe all of them. If real baseball was just a statistical exercise we could dispense with the field and just play strato-matic, but the human element is what gives it greatness and is the reason we still talk about players like Cy Young and Honus Wagner even though they are simply grainy photographs and statistical lines in our life times.
  5. Like
    Dantes929 reacted to Brandon Warne for a blog entry, WARNE: Power Ranking the Twins 25-Man Roster — 2.o   
    One exercise that is fun, and in the interest of full disclosure gets a lot of people reading and talking, is ranking things in order as a “power ranking.” No seriously, if you call something a “power ranking” you’re guaranteed to see traffic go through the roof. I’m thinking of calling my podcast “power ranking.”
    OK, I’m kidding.
    But it’s a fun exercise to apply to a team’s 25-man roster. My general theory — and this can be altered if viewers think there is a better way — is to base a player’s ranking on how they’ve played to date, with a bit more weight placed on recent performance. We’ll also consider myriad reasons why players might be doing better than others, such as role the player was used in and so on, but at the very least, this is to get people talking.
    In parenthesis, you’ll find the previous ranking for each player. We last did rankings on May 25, and will most likely do them one more time before the end of the season. Or perhaps more often, if people suggest they really like them. Send hate mail to Tom Schreier.
    1. Eddie Rosario (Previous ranking: 18)
    It’s not just that he’s been hot lately, but his season numbers are really starting to look great. Rosario is hitting a stellar .296/.337/.503 for the season. That’s good for a wRC+ of 119 — 11th among qualified left fielders. That’s ahead of some pretty good players, too, like Nomar Mazara, Andrew Benintendi, Matt Kemp, Brett Gardner and Michael Brantley. Since July 1 — Rosario’s five-hit game — he’s hitting an insane .333/.376/.581. Wonder if anyone has written about him lately?
    2. Ervin Santana (no change)
    Santana’s had a fine year, even with all the ebbs and flows. Through 24 starts, Santana has five complete games and a 3.28 ERA. However, that comes with a 4.71 FIP, thanks in large part to 25 homers allowed and not particularly strong strikeout and walk rates. He’s a sturdy No. 2 on a team that has no ace — so everyone moves up a notch. It’ll be interesting to see how holding onto him plays out. He’s managed to avoid serious injury for almost all of his career, but father time is undefeated.
    3. Brian Dozier (4)
    Just another ho-hum 20-homer season for Dozier — his fourth in a row. He’s hitting a solid .258/.334/.473, playing fairly steady defense and has hit a robust .298/.350/.605 over the last 30 days. Only Rosario (160) has a higher wRC+ over the last 30 days than Dozier’s 148. It’d be nice to see what he could do hitting third or fourth, no?
    4. Miguel Sano (1)
    Miggy gets big props for hitting .269/.354/.511 on the season, but he’s been pretty cold of late. Over the last 30 days, he’s hitting just .255/.295/.439, and he hasn’t been particularly good at staying within the strike zone after starting the season off really strong in that respect. It’s been a fine season, but it would be nice to see it ascend to a great season for the young monster.
    5. Jose Berrios (6)
    A rough couple starts have sullied his overall season numbers (4.27 ERA), but he’s still improved by leaps and bounds from last year, isn’t walking anyone and is keeping the ball in the yard. Chalk it up to the ebbs and flows of being a young starter.
    6. Trevor Hildenberger (NR)
    Hildy gets the nod over the elder Belisle solely because of the beginning of the latter’s season. Both have been absolutely terrific of late, as Hildenberger hasn’t walked a batter in the last 30 days with 11.5 strikeouts per nine innings and a groundball rate of 55.6 percent. He could just as easily pitch the ninth inning moving forward if manager Paul Molitor so chooses. He has some interesting options out there.
    7. Matt Belisle (22)
    Forget the start of his season or even the home run he allowed to Justin Upton; Belisle has been terrific now for about two months and deserves some love. Sure, he’s not an ideal option to close games. Nobody on the team is, really. But since his blow-up in San Francisco back in mid-June, look at these numbers: 22 games/24 innings, 23-5 K/BB ratio, 1.13 ERA, .209/.261/.326 line against. That’s legit.
    8. Tyler Duffey (7)
    Duffey hit a bit of a speed bump not too long ago that pushed his ERA over 4.00, but he’s on the cusp of bringing it back under (4.04) as he’s been brilliant for the last month. Over the last 30 days, Duffey has a 1.42 ERA (2.35 FIP), more than a strikeout per inning and 0.7 BB/9. He could also be in the mix to close out games.
    9. Bartolo Colon (NR)
    The BART has gotten better with each passing start. He’s got a 4.02 ERA with the Twins, and despite virtually no strikeouts (4.6 K/9) has walked 0.9 batters per nine and has managed to keep the ball in the park for the most part (1.2 HR/9). There’s virtually no risk here, as he can be immediately DFA’d if he falls apart. But the value he’s already provided has been a really, really nice find for the Falvey-Levine duo.
    10. Byron Buxton (12)
    He just pushed the OBP up above .300, and he’s been terrific over the last 30 days: .313/.370/.415. If he ever does that over a full season, he’s a full-fledged superstar.
    For players 11-25, click here to go to ZoneCoverage.com!
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