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Doctor Gast

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  1. Like
    Doctor Gast reacted to Andrew Mahlke for a blog entry, What should the Twins offer Byron Buxton?   
    Back in March, Matthew Trueblood wrote an excellent article on Twins Daily about what a potential Byron Buxton extension would look like. Now, obviously this was before Buxton’s phenomenal (injury plagued, but still phenomenal) 2021 campaign. After the season Buxton had, his value for a future extension skyrocketed.
    With Byron Buxton up until about 2019, the main question was always: “Will he be able to hit major league pitching?”. He always played phenomenal defense, ran the bases ridiculously well, and had an incredibly strong arm. He just had to put it together at the plate. Well, since the start of 2019, Buxton is 20th in the MLB in OPS and 4th in the MLB in slugging percentage. Buxton has really put it together at the plate in the last 3 seasons and it has been a joy to watch. 
    Before we get into his contract specifics, let’s highlight how special Byron Buxton is.
    5-Tool Player
    Byron Buxton helps the Twins win games, plain and simple. Since the beginning of 2019, the Twins are 104-68 when Buxton plays, and 106-106 when he does not. This means that they play at roughly a 98 win pace when he is on the field and an 81 win pace when he is not. This is the difference between not making the playoffs at all and getting home-field advantage in the playoffs. Let’s take a dive into what makes Buxton such a difference-maker for the Twins.
    Hitting
    I mentioned earlier how Buxton has really found his stride with his swing. Back in May of 2019, towards the beginning of Buxton’s outbreak, Parker Hageman wrote a phenomenal article about Byron Buxton’s swing. He took a deep dive into the swing adjustments Buxton had made that year that led to his success. Ever since then, his career has taken off.
    Buxton has been riddled with injuries his entire career, that is no secret. But since 2019, out of all players with a maximum of 700 plate appearances, Buxton leads with 102 extra base hits. The next closest player is Buxton’s teammate, Mitch Garver with 79 extra base hits. With limited appearances, Buxton is thriving.
    Using Baseball Savant’s handy Affinity feature, you can see which players have the most similar batted ball profiles to each other. In 2021, the most similar batters to Buxton were Yordan Alvarez, Fernando Tatis Jr., Rafael Devers, Salvador Perez, Josh Donaldson, and Aaron Judge. Buxton is up there with the cream of the crop. If you follow baseball at all, you know all of these guys are absolute stars and Buxton’s name belongs in that conversation as well.
    2021 was his best year yet. He had a 169 wRC+, had 42 extra base hits (19 home runs), and a 1.005 OPS. Buxton proved in 2021 that he couldn’t just hit, but absolutely MASH major league pitching.
    Defense
    Buxton has always been elite defensively, winning a platinum glove as the AL’s best defensive player in 2017. Since 2016, Buxton has 58 outs above average (OAA), the 5th most among all center fielders. All of the players ahead of him (Lorenzo Cain, Kevin Kiermaier, Billy Hamilton, and Ender Inciarte) played at least 140 more games than Buxton in that span. If Buxton had played 140 more games, he would have the most OAA by 10 outs. It is safe to say that when Buxton is healthy he is the best defensive CF in baseball. He also has an absolute cannon in the outfield. His arm strength has been measured at 99 MPH before, so he definitely has an above average arm.
    Speed
    Buxton has always been one of the fastest players in the MLB. In 2021, Buxton was in the 99th percentile in sprint speed. His average sprint speed was 30 ft/sec and he had the fastest average home to first time at 4.00 sec. Buxton is a game-changer on the bases and has made a huge impact on many games on the basepaths, most notably walking off the Detroit Tigers on a seemingly routine ground ball to the shortstop. 
    Overall Value
    Since 2019, Buxton has been worth 8.1 fWAR in 187 games, or a pace of 7 fWAR per 162 games. To put that number into perspective, there were zero position players with a WAR of 7 or over in 2021. In the last full season, 2019, the only players with a WAR 7 or above were Mike Trout, Alex Bregman, Christian Yelich, Cody Bellinger, Marcus Semien, and Anthony Rendon.
    Buxton’s WAR in 2021 was 4.2 over 61 games. Extrapolated to 162 games, that would be the equivalent of 11.2. That is absolutely ridiculous. That would be tied for the 17th best single season of all time in terms of WAR.
    Injuries
    Just looking at his raw per 162 numbers, you would think that the Twins should sign Buxton to a 10 year, $500 million extension. Unfortunately, Buxton has been injury prone throughout his career. As of July 2021, Buxton had only played 181 of 484 possible games since 2018. It is hard to justify giving him a big extension if he isn’t going to be healthy for a majority of it.
    Extension structure
    In short, I would offer Buxton an extension over seven years. It will start in 2023 and go through 2029, his age 29 through 35 season. As Buxton ages, his defense and speed will most likely deteriorate and he will not be as valuable. You also have to factor in his injury history so you won’t be paying full price.
    Consider the following:
    Since 2019, Buxton has played 187 of a possible 384 games, or 48% of possible games.  Since 2019, Buxton has accumulated 8.1 WAR in 187 games, or 7 WAR/162 games According to Fangraphs, you should pay $8M/WAR. So,
    If Buxton were to play 162 games, he would be worth 7 WAR x $8M/WAR = $56M/year This is obviously egregious, especially considering the Twins usually have a payroll from 125-140M.
    According to spotrac, with the exception of the Dodgers, the top payrolls are right around $200M. We are going to assume those teams are able to use the $8M/WAR calculation
    Since the Twins will use maximum 140M of payroll, 70% of what the top payrolls use, we will also use 0.7 as our multiplier for the WAR value calculation.
    $8M/WAR x 0.7 = $5.6M/WAR
    Using our new 5.6M/WAR, he would be worth roughly $39M a year if he played 162. I think this is fair for a player of his caliber. He has been an MVP level player the last 3 seasons, and shows no signs of stopping.
    Besides injuries.
    Since Buxton has only played about 48% of possible games, I would pay him 48% of that $39M per year.
    39M x 0.48 = about $19M a year. This is the base salary I would give Buxton. His base contract should be 7 years, $133 million
    However, we should account for the fact that there is a chance he remains healthy. This is where it gets tricky. This is where I bring in incentives to the contract.
    Buxton’s 7 WAR per 162 is worth 0.043 WAR per game. The current contract is assuming he plays 80 games If Buxton plays 120 games, he will get the original 19 million plus an additional amount of money We will determine this amount of money by multiplying his WAR per game by the additional 40 games he will be playing
    40 games x 0.043 WAR per game = 1.7 WAR x $5.6M per WAR = $9.5M If Buxton plays 120 games, he should earn an additional 10 million.
    For 130 games, he will be worth an additional 2.4 million using that formula For 140 games, he will be worth another 2.4 million And for 150, he will be worth 2.4 million more. Contract Summary
    Base contract: 7 years, $133 million ($19M AAV)
    120 games incentive: $9.5M/yr ($28.5M AAV)
    130 games incentive: $2.4M/yr ($30.9M AAV)
    140 games incentive: $2.4M/yr ($33.3M AAV)
    150 games incentive: $2.4M/yr ($35.7M AAV)
    If Buxton plays 150 games, he could be making up to $35.7 million per year. This is the contract I would propose to Buxton because he would be getting a good amount of guaranteed money and it also helps him understand that playing a certain amount of games could get him an absurd amount of money.
    How does this contract compare?
    A salary of 19M per year (if he meets no incentives) would make him the 27th highest paid position player in baseball. Since 2019, he is 33rd in WAR among all position players, so this base contract would be just about right. If he meets all of the incentives, he would be the highest paid position player in baseball, which is fair considering the amount of talent he has and his production over a full healthy season would be at an MVP level. I think at his peak, he will play about 120-130 games, making his salary between 28 and 31 million. This would put him in the range of the 5th to 8th highest position player in the league. 
    TL: DR version
    Pay Buxton a base salary of $19 million a year for 7 years, with games played incentives from 120 games to 150 games of various amounts that could net him up to $35.7 million per year.
    Conclusion
    Byron Buxton is a generational type of talent and I haven’t seen anyone like him in a Twins uniform my whole life. It would be a mistake to let him go just because of financial concerns. He is a player that you would rather overpay than not pay at all, so priority number ONE this offseason needs to be extending him. If there’s one player to offer this type of contract to, it’s Buck.
    Thank you for reading, and Go Twins.
     
  2. Like
    Doctor Gast reacted to AChase for a blog entry, Non-tendering Taylor Rogers Would Be a Huge Mistake   
    I'm seeing a lot of discussion suggesting the Twins may consider non-tendering Taylor Rogers. There's no debate about Rogers's ability or performance, but the concern seems to be whether or not he's worth his projected ~$7MM salary in his final year of arbitration (per MLBTradeRumors).
    I believe Rogers is worth it and then some. It's not close. Non-tendering Taylor Rogers would be a huge mistake.
    Below are the 22 free agent contracts offered to relief pitchers in the last three offseasons with and average annual value of $7MM or more:

    First, note that $7MM is clearly not an exorbitant amount for a quality relief pitcher. On average over these three years, about 7 relievers achieve that AAV or more.
    But how does Rogers compare to those elite arms? On a rate basis, Rogers has been worth 2.0 WAR/60IP. As shown above, this is matched by only 2 players: Liam Hendriks at 2.4 and Andrew Miller who ties Rogers at 2.0. It's the same story in FIP (unsurprisingly); Rogers's 2.62 is bested by only Miller's 2.16 and Hendrik's 2.17. By just about any measure, Rogers can be considered a standout among these relievers. In fact, he would be would be one of the very best RPs to enter the FA market in recent years. He's been that good.
    There's more to like about Roger's recent performance too. His velocity on both pitches has continued to climb, reaching new highs with his fastball (95.7) and his slider (84). He posted a new career high in K% at 35.5, easily improving his 2020 performance of 26.4 and his previous best of 32.4. Only four RPs in 2021 can claim a better K-BB% than Rogers, and his groundball rate of 50.0% is a return to form.
    All of this leads to a career best FIP of 2.13. In fact, only Josh Hader and former teammate Ryan Pressly finished 2021 with a FIP- better than Rogers's 50 (minimum 40 IP). I'd make a case that Taylor Rogers has been easily one of the top 5 left-handed relievers in baseball at any point over the last 4 years. On a counting or rate basis, only Hader has been better by WAR.
    Projections like Rogers as well. ZiPS has projected him to be worth 1.1 WAR in 2022, his age 31 season (and 2023). The usual suspects are ahead of him: Edwin Diaz, Hendriks, and Hader as the only other lefty. These projections were prepared prior to the 2021 season, so it remains to be seen what the projection systems think of him after his season. On one hand, he did have his best year as a big leaguer. On the other, he did end his season injured, leaving a cloud over his status for 2022.
    If he stacks up well in such elite company, how much is Rogers worth in the free agent market? It's tough to say, especially with his recent injury. I will point out that Hendriks and Miller, the two pitchers in the last three years with an obviously better free agent case than Rogers, combined to receive 6 years and $88.5MM for a $14.75MM AAV. All together, the 22 contracts above average almost exactly 2 years and $20MM, a $10MM AAV. Rogers is also younger than many of the names above at the time of their contracts, and he has a longer track record of elite performance than almost all of them. I think it's reasonable that a healthy Rogers would receive something north of $10MM annually for 3+ years.
    Rogers's finger injury really is the only question here. We all know a healthy Rogers is worth more than his arbitration figure, but we don't know how much this injury will impact his game in 2021, if at all. Only the Twins and Rogers can know for sure, and we can only speculate until the day Rogers is offered arbitration, signs a deal, or not. And any team interested in his services for next year should be concerned.
    However, it's worth pointing out two things: Rogers has been exceptionally durable through his entire career, and he may be be worth his arbitration amount either way. Look at the list of names above again. There's a lot of serious arm injuries in there. Betances landed a deal with the Mets despite him appearing in just one game the previous season as he recovered from his shoulder impingement and a torn Achilles. Trevor Rosenthal got two of these deals. He received the first after missing more than a season recovering from Tommy John surgery. The second contract came after he recently passed through waivers unclaimed.
    Even if you think poorly of his prospects in 2022 due to injury, perhaps it would be a perfect time to work out a multi-year extension based around vesting options. They may not get a ton of value next year, but he would have time to make up for it into the future.
    My point is this: Rogers is one of the very best relievers in the game, especially from the left side. For a Twins team desperate for pitching, replacing his production would be very costly in either dollars, prospects, or both, and there's almost no one in the league who could replace him anyway. It's worth mentioning too that he's smart, regarded as a leader, and well liked by teammates, media, and fans alike. Sure, his injury is worrisome. But in a similar way as Buxton, that risk is one of the only ways the Twins may be able to afford real, impact talent for this roster. If the Twins don't take that risk, there will be several teams that will, just as they have shown in the past.
    Sign Taylor Rogers. You'll likely come to regret it if you don't.
  3. Incorrect
    Doctor Gast reacted to Tim for a blog entry, Jorge Polanco and The Twins   
    For as much as a buzzkill the Twins 2021 season was, Jorge Polanco gave many Twins fans a reason to watch. 
    Breaking out in 2019, Polanco hit 22 HRs and drove in 79 RBI with a slash line of .295/.356/.485. Polanco scuffled during the 2020 covid shortened season but was also playing with an ankle injury that required offseason surgery and ultimately a shift to second base.
    The ankle clean up and position switch seemed to have paid off as Polanco had a career season in 2021. Overall he finished the season with a .269 AVG and an OPS of .826. Oh, and 33 bombs + 98 RBI. That's good for a WAR of 4.8 according to baseballrefrence. 
    One would think now would be a poor time for the Twins to move Jorge Polanco in a trade. The stacked free agent class includes Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Trevor Story, Marcus Semien, and Javier Baez. Teams looking for a shortstop or second basemen will have plenty of options to chose from.
    But at what cost?
    Carlos Correa and Corey Seager are 1A and 1B in the class. Both are expected to receive contracts upwards of 260 million. Trevor Story had a down year offensively, but still grades out as one of the best defensive shortstops in the game. He also is only 28 and teams will convince themselves he returns to form at the plate... 150-175 million sound right? Marcus Semien's fantastic 2021 campaign probably netted him a deal north of 115 million, as he was a top 5 hitter in baseball for much of the season. Javier Baez is a complete toss up for me. He is incredibly streaky at the plate, but got hot during his stint with the Mets and switched his approach at the plate. His ability to move around the diamond defensively and play a solid shortstop, second, and third is still a huge asset. You can't deny the flair and energy he brings to a team as well, star power means tickets... I'd guess a team buys in and pays close to 100 million.  While there are plenty of options teams can go on the open market, none will sign cheap. Aside from potentially Baez, you aren't bringing any of those players in for less than 100 mil, at the minimum. Fortunately, for the teams hesitant to commit that type of money, there is another option.
    Jorge Polanco
    **Before I'm slandered below for suggesting the Twins should trade their 2021 MVP, consider the facts.**
    Contract - Jorge Polanco, currently 27, is signed through 2025 at what is essentially a 4 year 35.5 million dollar contract. When you stack that up against what the market is going to command for the available options, that deal is an absolute bargain. Internal Replacements -  Second Base is really a position of strength for the Twins. Luis Arraez, still only 24 and under team control until 2026, has a career .313 AVG and .374 OBP over 275 games .. Yes, you are missing out on the power, but baseballreference had his 2021 WAR at 3.4, so by no means is it a massive downgrade. He isn't arb. eligible until 2023 as well.. Nick Gordon or the crown jewel in the Berrios deal, Austin Martin, could also be guys that could step into the position at some point next year. State of The Organization - The Twins need to look at this an opportunity to try and expedite the rebuilding process. Reality is 2022 is going to be a lost year, regardless of whether Polanco is on the roster or not. Is 2023 the year? Who knows, a lot will need to go right for the Twins between now and then .. But at that point you've only lost value on a player that will have 2 years remaining on his steal of a contract.  If you are hesitant to put Polanco in the same tier as the players in this upcoming FA class, Since 2019, here's where Polanco stacks up against the top middle infielders. 

    That's a 3 year sample size of productivity that puts him square in the discussion offensively as a top tier middle infielder. 
    Yes I am aware that some players on the list were injured, but that's apart of the game. Polanco was too.
    Who might be interested?
    The best fit for Polanco would be an organization that is entering their window to compete for a championship. Given how cheap his contract is, teams would have the ability to sign free agent starting pitching, which typically works out better, than say giving a position player like Javy Baez a 5 year / 100 million dollar deal. That model seems to have paid off for the Astros as well as the Dodgers to some extent.
    What teams fit that bill? I highly doubt an organization will trade for Polanco with intentions of playing him at short. So i'll highlight just teams with a second base need, There's a few, here are my favorite options.
    The Mariners, who received a 0.3 WAR from the second base position this past year, would be a great trade partner for the Twins. They don't really have a solidified plan at 2nd and on the prospect side it's slim.  Ranked with Baseball Americas top farm system, they have plenty of intriguing pitching prospects to deal from. Emerson Hancock, Matt Brash, George Kirby, and Brandon Williamson all look to be be starters long-term.. (I believe Brash will be the best) .... What about Noelvi Marte? one can dream.
    Miami has reportedly been getting pressure from ownership to win now and could be a possibility. This would mean they are comfortable moving Jazz Chisholm from 2nd to Short .. If they are, the Marlins hands down have the most pitching prospect depth to deal from in all of baseball. Max Meyer, Edward Cabrera, Eury Perez, and Jack Eder (though recovering from TJ) all could be in play ... (I'll take Perez of the 4 please).
    If the Blue Jays prioritize Robbie Ray over Marcus Semien, count them in as a Polanco fit. Toronto is right in their go for it window and may lean toward having a proven veteran to replace the production rather than banking on a prospect. A package of Orlevis Martinez/Jordan Gorshans and Nate Pearson doesn't sound all too bad. 
    __
    The Twins have a lot of work to do if they wanna get on back on track in the coming years.. This is all speculation, though I think it certainly is a route the Twins have to at least explore this winter. 
    Regardless, of what you want the Twins to do with Polanco, there is no denying he would bring back a haul. That might be the best thing for the Twins sustaining long-term success.
    *Also, don't check Baseballtradevalues.com for the prospects I mentioned. It rarely is correct, as most of us learned with the deals that occurred at the deadline. 
  4. Like
    Doctor Gast reacted to Sherry Cerny for a blog entry, Does the "Shoe" Fit?   
    After suffering a 4 day break in baseball for COVID 19 precautions, I had been looking forward to Tuesday night. It seems that the Twins while having a great cohesion had issues since day one. The Twins have played through Donaldson’s day 1 injury, missing Buck due to a stomach virus (jury is still out on that one) and Simmons stepping out for COVID protocol on April 14th, but the one thing the Twins still cannot seem to play through is their pitching. The double headers, late nights and early games gassed out our pitching to the point where Willians Astudillo would step into the pitching line up - in an already losing game - to the Angels showing his skills and fast pitch form to the MLB.
     
    Matt Shoemaker, a pitcher the Twins acquired in February 2021, was an all-star in his own right when he played in 2014 as a rookie. As reported by Do-Hyoung Park, Shoemaker has been struggling with an onslaught of injuries since 2017 and has been continuing to fall further down after 2019 when he tore his ACL. The Twins, fully expecting him to be healthy and the No. 4 contributor to the rotation, spent 2 million dollars on the 34 year old right hander, who barely had played any games since 2017.
     
    Shoemaker has only pitched in 2 games thus far for the Twins and neither were truly magical or anything that showed promise. His first game on the road in Detroit, where he pitched six innings and only one run got let in the 5th in the 22 batters he saw. He would take home the win in that game. In the next game against Seattle, he would pitch 5 innings and give up 4 runs and 7 hits leaving the game with an ERA of 4.09. The longer he stayed in the more damage that got done.
     
    Tonight, after sitting out for 9 days, the RHP would once again take the mound against the A’s. The Oakland A’s are barely over .500 - a game that could have been our first W on the road since April 7th against the Tigers - and get us back on track for what started out as looking like a winning season. Shoemaker came out and pitched 3.1 innings and in that time allowed two runs and had 67 pitches before Alcala came in as the relief pitcher in the 4th. The Twins would fall 7-0 in game one of a double header after a grand slam served up by Alcala, accompanied by the runners left on base from when Shoemaker was on the mound. Not the start to the night the team and the fans were looking forward to.
     
    In his first three games Shoemaker has continued to slide down hill. It may be just acclimating to the team, maybe it’s the 9 day rest...but the trend is showing that once again, the Twins took a chance on an arm that isn’t truly benefiting the roster and is leaving us with leaning on other utility players like Astudillo to come in and give us the outs we need. This “Shoe” just may not be the right fit.
  5. Like
    Doctor Gast reacted to mnfireman for a blog entry, Outta LF......   
    This may be different by the end of the season, but I think the current offense could use Eddie. His defense is even above average by sabermetrics.
     
    Twins LF - .185/.224/.241 0 HR 5 RBI
    Rosario - .245/.304/.434 2 HR 8 RBI
  6. Like
    Doctor Gast reacted to weinshie for a blog entry, Why the Red Sox will sweep the Twins   
    A few minutes ago, I made a bet with a Minnesota sports aficionado (Darren Wolfson) that the Red Sox would sweep the twins in Wednesday's double header. For the record, I did not make the bet ($10 and a mea culpa tweet) because I am an attention whore or because I hate the Twins. (Though I AM an attention whore and I am not a fan of how the Twinks have played of late). I just have a baseball vibe and, from what I've observed the past couple weeks, it just seems like the Twins have yet to hit baseball rock bottom this season. I figure the Sox will assist them with their downward spiral.
     
    So here's why I made the aforementioned bet:
     
    1. Rocco will make a bonehead move
    He's a good manager, but he errs on the side of letting the starting pitcher go too long. Today, he allowed Happ to pitch to a tie -- even though he was giving up lots of hard contact. Arguably, he should have taken Happ out one or two at-bats earlier.
     
    While today's move was a bit of a nit-pick, Sunday's loss to the Mariners should fall squarely on Baldelli's shoulders. In the 6th inning, Shoemaker began the inning by tossing up a homerun ball to Seager. Then another rocket. And another. My dog and her fleas knew Shoe was done. What did Rocco do? Let him give up a 3-run jimmy-jack to some cipher. The game never should have gotten that close, and it's Rocco's fault it happened.
     
    Rocco loves Kenta and Jose -- and will probably make the same mistake tomorrow.
     
    2. Sano will play
    Miguel just plain sucks now. There's no two ways around it. He'll strike out to end a threat. Or strike out to begin a non-threat.
     
    3. This ain't Detroit's offense
    The Twins' pitching has looked good, but they've gone up against Milwaukee, Detroit and Seattle. Here are some of the feared hitters they've faced repeatedly: Jackie Bradley, Jr, Niko Goodrum and Jose Marmolejos. The Red Sox can hit. They got thump, and they Twinks gonna feel it.
     
    4. Colome
    It's not just physical. It's totally mental now, like RON DAVIS mental. I won't go into more detail so as not to trigger those who still experience PTSD from the 1980s.
     
    5. I'm an attention who....
     
    You get the idea. Just don't come crying to me when you are crying in your beer tomorrow evening in bewilderment...
  7. Like
    Doctor Gast reacted to mnfireman for a blog entry, Tyler Clippard   
    I had really hoped the Twins had signed him, turns out to be a good non-signing.
     
     
    https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2021/03/tyler-clippard-shut-down-six-weeks-with-capsule-sprain.html
  8. Like
    Doctor Gast got a reaction from Channing1964 for a blog entry, Josh Donaldson's calves?   
    I've thought about writing this blog for some time now. I trust that Donaldson is surrounded by professionals so I've restrained myself from writing on this subject.
    I'd like to start with personal testimony. A short time ago, I had a surgery and was bed ridden for some time. As soon as I went back to my walking. As usual I stretched out and started my walk. I started out with just a short walk but my calves and hamstrings cramped up like everything. I knew muscle cramps is a deficiency of magnesium. So I started to take magnesium supplements and the cramps went away immediately. Recently I reduced and eliminated taking supplements and my legs started to tighten up when I stretched out.
    I'm sure Donaldson goes through a regiment of stretching, massages, soaking, use heavy duty calf supports and even most likely was tested for magnesium deficiency. But magnesium blood tests can be deceiving. Magnesium is necessary for proper cell development like muscle, nerve, bone etc. most Americans are deficient of it.
    I don't recommend Donaldson to nurse his big calves with "milk of magnesium" (sorry I couldn't resist). But I do suggest maybe a magnesium cream, a magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt) soak. Donaldson really works those calves so he might need to take magnesium supplements. Magnesium is normally safe but you can over do it so I recommend to consult his health care giver.
    I'd really like to see him overcome this problem and be a super star with the Twins.
  9. Like
    Doctor Gast got a reaction from ScrapTheNickname for a blog entry, Josh Donaldson's calves?   
    I've thought about writing this blog for some time now. I trust that Donaldson is surrounded by professionals so I've restrained myself from writing on this subject.
    I'd like to start with personal testimony. A short time ago, I had a surgery and was bed ridden for some time. As soon as I went back to my walking. As usual I stretched out and started my walk. I started out with just a short walk but my calves and hamstrings cramped up like everything. I knew muscle cramps is a deficiency of magnesium. So I started to take magnesium supplements and the cramps went away immediately. Recently I reduced and eliminated taking supplements and my legs started to tighten up when I stretched out.
    I'm sure Donaldson goes through a regiment of stretching, massages, soaking, use heavy duty calf supports and even most likely was tested for magnesium deficiency. But magnesium blood tests can be deceiving. Magnesium is necessary for proper cell development like muscle, nerve, bone etc. most Americans are deficient of it.
    I don't recommend Donaldson to nurse his big calves with "milk of magnesium" (sorry I couldn't resist). But I do suggest maybe a magnesium cream, a magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt) soak. Donaldson really works those calves so he might need to take magnesium supplements. Magnesium is normally safe but you can over do it so I recommend to consult his health care giver.
    I'd really like to see him overcome this problem and be a super star with the Twins.
  10. Like
    Doctor Gast got a reaction from tarheeltwinsfan for a blog entry, Josh Donaldson's calves?   
    I've thought about writing this blog for some time now. I trust that Donaldson is surrounded by professionals so I've restrained myself from writing on this subject.
    I'd like to start with personal testimony. A short time ago, I had a surgery and was bed ridden for some time. As soon as I went back to my walking. As usual I stretched out and started my walk. I started out with just a short walk but my calves and hamstrings cramped up like everything. I knew muscle cramps is a deficiency of magnesium. So I started to take magnesium supplements and the cramps went away immediately. Recently I reduced and eliminated taking supplements and my legs started to tighten up when I stretched out.
    I'm sure Donaldson goes through a regiment of stretching, massages, soaking, use heavy duty calf supports and even most likely was tested for magnesium deficiency. But magnesium blood tests can be deceiving. Magnesium is necessary for proper cell development like muscle, nerve, bone etc. most Americans are deficient of it.
    I don't recommend Donaldson to nurse his big calves with "milk of magnesium" (sorry I couldn't resist). But I do suggest maybe a magnesium cream, a magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt) soak. Donaldson really works those calves so he might need to take magnesium supplements. Magnesium is normally safe but you can over do it so I recommend to consult his health care giver.
    I'd really like to see him overcome this problem and be a super star with the Twins.
  11. Like
    Doctor Gast got a reaction from Dman for a blog entry, Josh Donaldson's calves?   
    I've thought about writing this blog for some time now. I trust that Donaldson is surrounded by professionals so I've restrained myself from writing on this subject.
    I'd like to start with personal testimony. A short time ago, I had a surgery and was bed ridden for some time. As soon as I went back to my walking. As usual I stretched out and started my walk. I started out with just a short walk but my calves and hamstrings cramped up like everything. I knew muscle cramps is a deficiency of magnesium. So I started to take magnesium supplements and the cramps went away immediately. Recently I reduced and eliminated taking supplements and my legs started to tighten up when I stretched out.
    I'm sure Donaldson goes through a regiment of stretching, massages, soaking, use heavy duty calf supports and even most likely was tested for magnesium deficiency. But magnesium blood tests can be deceiving. Magnesium is necessary for proper cell development like muscle, nerve, bone etc. most Americans are deficient of it.
    I don't recommend Donaldson to nurse his big calves with "milk of magnesium" (sorry I couldn't resist). But I do suggest maybe a magnesium cream, a magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt) soak. Donaldson really works those calves so he might need to take magnesium supplements. Magnesium is normally safe but you can over do it so I recommend to consult his health care giver.
    I'd really like to see him overcome this problem and be a super star with the Twins.
  12. Like
    Doctor Gast reacted to Danchat for a blog entry, 2021 Prospect Rankings: 1-8   
    #8 - Matt Wallner OF (1st Round 2019, Southern Miss)
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    Another bat-first prospect, Wallner has some serious power behind his bat after hitting 58 HRs at Southern Mississippi (in just 872 PAs!). He did alright at Elizabethton, and his main concern as a hitter will be limiting the strikeouts. Defensively he's a subpar runner and will be limited to corner OF, if not 1B. He also pitched part-time in college, which means he's got the arm to throw out runners.
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    #7 - Brent Rooker 1B (1st Round 2017, Miss State)
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    Rooker's very similar to Sabato and Wallner, but unlike them, he's ready to play in the majors. He did well in his first week of games in the majors before fracturing his wrist on a pitch, and we saw a glimpse into his upside. He's got the power to hit 25+ HRs a season and his batting average did not suffer much in the minors. Strikeouts will be a concern, as he had a dangerously high 33.8% strikeout rate at AAA. Despite that he still hit .928 OPS with a super strong .399 OBP. Defensively, he really shouldn't be playing in the outfield. He hasn't played a ton of 1B, but hopefully he's given plenty of practice there because that would be an ideal place to end up. Otherwise he'll be a DH his whole career.
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    #6 - Jordan Balazovic RHP (5th Round 2016, HS)
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    The Twins have gone through a drought of starting pitcher prospects for at least 10 years, and have been desperate to get a guy like Balazovic up and going. He mowed through Fort Myers A+ in 2019 with a strong 2.84 ERA, a phenomenal K/9 rate (11.8) without a bad BB/9 rate (2.6). He uses a strong mix of a 94-95 MPH fastball that acts a sinker, and sprinkles in similar-looking curveballs and sliders. He needs to get more innings under his belt and I don't think he profiles as a #1 or #2 starter, but he has a clean injury history and he'll likely be starting in AA at the young age of 21. Balazovic has a bright future in the big leagues if he continues down the path he's headed.
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    #5 - Jhoan Duran RHP (International from Dominican Republic, acquired in 2018 trade)
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    The top pitching prospect, Duran turned his career around once arriving in the Twins organization, going from a #20-30 prospect in Arizona to top-tier prospect. Duran's fastball has sped up the past couple season, sitting in the upper 90s and he'll hit 100 every once in a while. His secondary pitch is a splitter that can hit 94, and consistently fool hitters with its fastball-speed. His command can be a bit shaky at times, but that's even been a huge problem for him. Duran does have the toolset to be a dynamite reliever, but he's successfully pitched a starter's workload in the minors and should land in the rotation. Perhaps he pitches in the Twins' bullpen down the stretch in 2021 as his first dip into the MLB pool.
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    #4 - Royce Lewis SS (1st Round 2017, HS)
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    Most prospect rankers won't agree with this, but I'm not as high on Lewis as most are. The first overall draft pick in 2017, Lewis had very strong 2017 and 2018 seasons, but he hit poorly in 2019 at A+ and AA. He was promoted to AA despite hitting .665 OPS, and proceeded to hit .649 OPS there. Critics have pointed out that Lewis' swing does not look good and his approach at the plate needs heavy refinement, and his pitch recognition is currently poor. He's still young, turning 22 this summer, but I don't think he's particularly close to being MLB-ready. There has also been debate about whether he will end up at SS or CF, as he has the raw speed to handle both. This ranking has mostly been negative, but Royce has the potential to become a talented hitter with 60-65 power potential and has the highest ceiling of any prospect on this team. I just get the sense that Lewis will become a hitter whose approach at the plate won't click until Year 4 or 5 of his career.
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    #3 - Alex Kiriloff OF (1st Round 2016, HS)
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    The Twins are poised to make Kiriloff their starting LF in 2021, and it's not hard to see why. He has a career .317 batting average in the minors, and that's no fluke. Scouts rave about his ability to make consistent contact on tough pitches, he has has some serious power behind his swing, with the potential for 20+ HRs a year. Kiriloff's focus on contact has kept the number of walks low, but that's not a big concern if he hits > .300. He's had a couple of wrist injuries and missed the entire 2017 season. Defensively Kiriloff is one of the lower prospects on this list, and while he has a good glove and a great arm, he may end up at 1B. Hopefully his bat will end up somehwere in the #2-4 spot in the lineup one day.
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    #2 - Ryan Jeffers C (2nd Round 2018, UNC Wilmington)
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    This is probably the highest you've ever seen Jeffers on a prospect ranking, but I am comfortable putting him this high. Good catching prospects are rare, and Jeffers is the entire package. He was yet another 'questionable draft pick' in the 2nd round, but the Twins organization sculpted him into one of the best defensive backstops in the minor leagues after initial scouting reports claimed he wouldn't be able to stay at catcher. He ranked as a top-notch pitch framer, and showed as much in his 26 game debut in 2020. His bat was always his calling card, and it didn't disappoint in the minors with a very strong (.296/.383/.453 .836 OPS). He'll take a lot of walks and has the potential for more power. Jeffers is ready to graduate off this list and will push for the starting role as the Twins' catcher.
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    #1 - Trevor Larnach OF (1st Round 2018, Oregon State)
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    I conclude with another bat-first position player, of whom has the best minor league track record to this point. Larnach covered 4 levels of the minor leagues through only two years (2018-19) and held his own at every level, never dipping below a .295 batting average or .840 OPS. In total he's recorded a (.307/.385/.468) triple slash, and that's even with only 18 HRs in that stretch. He's got more power in that bat, no doubt. Larnach will take plenty of walks too, as his K/BB ratio was very healthy too. Defensively he's a bit on the slower side, but I think he will work as a RF with a decent glove and strong arm. Once he figures out the big leagues, Larnach is a hitter whose name should be penned into the #3 spot in the lineup and be let loose to rake to his heart's content.
    ||
    I will add one more blog post soon going over my formula of how these rankings were calculated. Until then, let me know what you think!
  13. Like
    Doctor Gast reacted to Danchat for a blog entry, 2021 Prospect Rankings: 9-16   
    Continuing on from Part 2:
     
    #16 - Blayne Enlow RHP (3rd Round 2017, HS)
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    Enlow has had a very average minor league career so far. He throws 4 different pitches, which gives him an edge to be a starting pitcher, but his K/BB ratio (2.39) leaves a lot to be desired. He averages 92 MPH but can touch 95-96 on occasion. Enlow still has time to take a big step forward, and a good 2021 season could vault him into the top 10.
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    #15 - Edwar Colina RHP (International from Venezuela, 2016)
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    Ignore his bad outing in the final game of the 2020 season, I think Colina has a bright future, albeit as a reliever. His fastball can reach up to 100 MPH, and in combination with a strong slider, he was able to average about a strikeout an inning. Walks have been a problem for him, with a career 3.9 BB/9. He found more success in 2019 once he mostly ditched his changeup, though if he could bring that back, his repertoire would be all the more stronger. Colina should bounce between AAA and the MLB team in 2021, with the hope that he can figure things out like Jorge Alcala did in 2020.
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    #14 - Misael Urbina CF (International from Venezuela, 2018)
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    Urbina gets the nod over the other top [internal] international prospects after he had a strong 2019 in the Dominican Summer League, hitting .825 OPS. Urbina is ahead of most other prospects his age (he'll turn 19 soon), as scouts praise his plate discipline and hand-eye coordination. If he can develop power later on, he should jump up into the top 5. He was a base-stealing threat as well, but it's questionable if he'll continue to be such a fast runner after he puts on more muscle.
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    #13 - Keoni Cavaco 3B (1st Round 2019, HS)
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    Many considered Cavaco to be a reach in the draft at pick #13, and his play in rookie league only confirmed this for some. Cavaco hit .470 OPS with a dreadful 38% strikeout rate. Hope should not be abandoned for the young infielder, as many project him to have a 55 to 60 power ranking, and he's working on accessing this power. He's also blazing fast, having enough quickness to play SS, but is currently error-prone. Cavaco needs to get his career on the right path with a strong 2021 season.
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    #12 - Cole Sands RHP (5th Round 2018, Florida State)
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    Sands has dealt with some injury issues, but when he's healthy, he deals. He had a quality fastball that touches 95/96 and mixes in a curveball that might be the best in our system. He turned in a strong 2019 season, posting a 2.68 ERA in 18 starts with healthy K/BB numbers. Sands turns 24 in 2021, and needs to pitch a whole season (likely at AA) to prove himself as a starting pitcher. He could challenge for a spot in the 2022 rotation if all goes well.
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    #11 - Matt Canterino RHP (2nd Round 2019, Rice)
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    We haven't seen a full season in the minors from Canterino yet, but the scouts are raving about him. He's recently developed a nasty changeup that complements his strong fastball, which has already seen an increase in speed since his college days. He's going to be getting strikeouts by the dozens, if his track record is anything to go by. Canterino is still a ways away, and for pitching prospects, I don't count chickens until the eggs are close to hatch.
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    #10 - Gilberto Celesinto CF (International from , acquired in 2018 trade)
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    Unquestionably the best outfielder defensively on the prospect ranking, Celestino boasts a 60-60 run and fielding toolset and could be an elite defender in CF. As you might expect, his bat has been a bit shaky in the minors, as his 2019 season ran hot and cold - his first half was dismal, but his second half was stupendous. He won't be a power hitter in the big leagues, but he did knock out 10 HRs. Celestino profiles as a CF in the same vein as Kevin Kiermaier or Kevin Pillar.
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    #9 - Aaron Sabato 1B (1st Round 2020, North Carolina)
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    The Twins just can't resist a good hitting prospect, no matter how their caliber of athleticism. Sabato, the Twins' latest 1st rounder, crushed the ACC conference at college as he had a crazy .332/.459/.708 line. That's only over 368 career PAs, however. He's already rated as a 60 power hitter, meaning he could be a 30+ HRs a year guy. The problem will be what position he plays... it's either going to be 1B or DH. He's already a hefty guy and will need to learn how to play 1B. I don't mind having a pure hitting prospect like this, there's just a few too many of them just like him for my taste.
  14. Like
    Doctor Gast reacted to Danchat for a blog entry, 2021 Prospect Rankings: 17-24   
    Continuing on from part 1:
     
    #24 - Gabriel Maciel CF (International from Brazil, acquired in 2018 trade)
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    The second best prospect acquired in the Escobar trade, Maciel is a speedy outfielder who loves to spray singles all around the field. He's a frequent base stealer who's capable of swiping 20+ a year, but gets caught more often than he should. He has a career .288 average in the minors and will rarely strike out, but the downside is that he has little power. Not just a lack of HRs, but also 2Bs and 3Bs. He profiles as a 4th OF who will be useful as a pinch hitter, defensive replacement, and pinch runner.
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    #23 - Luis Rijo RHP (Acquired in 2018 trade)
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    Rijo jumped onto the scene after a great 2019 season as he posted a 2.86 ERA over 19 starts at single A Cedar Rapids. Sporting a WHIP of nearly 1.0 and a healthy 8.3 K/9, Rijo's fastball touches 95 and his secondary pitches are rated well. Scouts have critisized the 'hitability' of his fastball and deemed his curveball to be too predictable, which probably factors into why he was passed up in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft. He's still got time to improve his pitches and build more innings in the minors to try and become a #4/5 starter. Unlike other pitching prospects, he doesn't strike me as a future reliever, unless he becomes a long reliever.
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    #22 - Nick Gordon SS/2B (1st Round 2014, HS)
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    Gordon has had a long and drawn out minor league career, but seemed to be heading towards the majors in 2019 once being added to the 40 man roster, but a leg injury prevented that (he was a near lock to at least be called up in September). He then had a long bout with COVID in 2020 and never even made it to the alternate site. He's now 25 and has just one option left, but remains on the roster. His minor league track record isn't bad, as he's been a decent pure hitter (.276 average), but he never developed any power and will likely end up like his older brother Dee - a sub .700 OPS hitter. To provide value he'll need to become a strong defensive player, but he's also got a shaky track record as a fielder and might end up as a second baseman. All in all, Gordon will likely settle into a utility role if he can crack the majors.
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    #21 - Spencer Steer 2B (3rd Round 2019, Oregon)
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    Steer had a quality debut in 2019, hitting .949 OPS at Elizabethton and went to single A Cedar Rapids and hit for .358 OPS (.745 OPS). He handled 3B and 2B primarily, and doesn't seem likely to play SS. The Twins will need to figure out how to develop his power, after hitting just 12 HRs in 3 years at Oregon (and 4 in the minors so far). The scouts seem to believe that there is potential for more pop in his bat, and that would elevate him into a top 15 spot if he could.
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    #20 - Ben Rortvedt C (2nd Round 2016, HS)
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    Ben seems destined to be a long-term backup catcher in the big leagues. Scouts rave about his defensive capabilities behind the plate, consistently blocking balls in the dirt, pitching frame, and throwing out runners. He's also go the potential to hit a few HRs and will take plenty of walks. The main problem is that he's a mediocre hitter, likely doomed to be a .210-.230 hitter in the majors. MLB teams will put up with that if he's as good defensively as the scouts say.
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    #19 - Wander Javier SS (International from Dominican Republic, 2016)
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    The Twins poured $4M into Javier in 2016, and the returns don't look good so far. After hitting well in Elizabethton in 2017, Javier missed 2018 with an injury, and turned in a very poor 2019 season at Cedar Rapids. Javier needed a rebound year in 2020 to get back on track, and now he's already Rule 5 eligible despite having just 552 professional PAs. Javier should be better than a .177 hitter, and has a skillset that should play at SS, but his time is running out. He needs several years in the minors just to get back on track, but if he could, he's got the potential to be a top 5 prospect. Everyone below him on the rankings doesn't have close to the ceiling Javier does.
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    #18 - Travis Blankenhorn 2B/3B (3rd Round 2015, HS)
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    Like many other prospects in this system, Blankenhorn's strength is hitting the ball hard, and is a bit on the chunky side. Splitting most of his time between 2B, 3B, and LF (he stopped playing 3B at AA, though), Travis took a step forward in 2019 at AA and crushed 19 HRs with a nice .278 average. He doesn't take a lot of walks, and his strikeout rate isn't a big concern. He's on the slower side, and would likely be a liability at 3B and LF. He's got the bat to play 2B, and he's probably ready to get his first big chance (he got into 1 game with the Twins in 2020). Expect to see him on the bench and play a bit in Marwin Gonzalez's old role when injuries inevitably hit.
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    #17 - Jose Miranda 3B (2nd Round 2016, HS)
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    Miranda is the last player on this list to have been passed over in the Rule 5 Draft. He boasts a solid set of tools but nothing splashy - he looks the part to handle 3B, but his bat has never quite developed. In almost 600 PAs at Fort Myers, he hit just .659 OPS. Scouts think there's potential for more power (just 8 HRs in 2019) and multiple sources lauded his bat speed and swing, but so far he's been unable to realize his potential. He needs to take a big step forward if he's going to want to become a starter in the big leagues.
  15. Like
    Doctor Gast reacted to Allen Post for a blog entry, Simmons Signing Bucks Twins' Recent Free Agency Trend   
    Thad Levine and Derek Falvey finally popped the champagne to start the Twins free agency party by signing shortstop Andrelton Simmons to a one-year $10.5 million deal Wednesday evening. It was the type of deal myself and many others were waiting for. Simmons is a defensive genius and a solid hitter to boot, so, as long as he stays healthy, he’ll be a huge upgrade as the Twins’ everyday shortstop.
     
    Two weeks ago, I wrote an article that ranked a few of the Twins’ offseason targets on the “Fun Meter” and I didn’t talk about Simmons, but, if I had, he would’ve fared rather well. “Simba” is a defensive highlight machine. He’s got quick feet and a long, lanky frame that give him nearly boundless range. And, his immensely skilled hands and cannon for an arm mean that no bad hop is really all that bad and no throw is too hard to make. Even beyond the physical stuff, though, Simmons’ instincts and hustle allow him to confuse and confound baserunners and make plays that no other shortstop even considers. Just watch.
     

     
    As you can probably tell, I’m fairly excited about what Andrelton Simmons in a Twins jersey will look like, but this move wasn’t just made to increase the Twins’ representation on SportsCenter’s Top 10; it makes baseball and money sense, too. Simmons’ one-year $10.5 million deal is perfect for this mid-pandemic free agency period. In a time when money is a bit of a concern across professional sports, the Twins got a top-quality shortstop without making any long-term commitment. If Simmons is the player we all hope and expect him to be, the front office can work on bringing him back for 2022, but if he’s not, they can move on and he’s off the books after only a year. There’s no long-term money risk. The Twins have had success with this low-risk approach before, with Nelson Cruz being a guy that worked out and Logan Morrison being a guy they were glad to move on from.
     
    The Simmons move is interesting for another reason, though – Simmons is a very different player than the free agents this front office regime has signed so far. In their time leading the club, Levine and Falvey’s big non-pitcher signings have been Morrison, Cruz, and, of course, Josh Donaldson. Those guys – all big, burly sluggers – show the commitment this front office duo has to playing modern-day baseball, where launch angle, exit velocity, and ultimately homerun hitting is put at a premium. That effort has paid off, as the Twins are now a power-hitting team, and a record-breaking one at that. But Simmons is a different type of player with a completely different skill set. Those guys bring brawn and brute force. Simmons brings dynamism and nuance. Those guys create runs (well Morrison didn’t), Simmons saves them. Players like Simmons still have a place in modern baseball – and there are stats to prove it – but this signing marks a break in the trend from the Twins’ front-office shot callers.
     


    The Twins shifted their focus from power hitting to defense by signing Simmons 
    And that, in itself, is kind of fun. Not too long ago, the Twins were anything but a power team and, with very few long balls to get excited about, Twins fans learned to appreciate the little things. Defense, hustle, and contact hitting were the Twins’ bread and butter and guys like Jason Bartlett, Alexi Casilla, and even Darin Mastroianni were some of the most likable players on their teams (What’s that? I was the only guy who liked Mastroianni? Oh, okay.). By no means do I want to go back to those days, but to have Simmons, a guy who does all the “little piranha” things, but at a superstar level, is going to be great to watch.
     
    Homerun hitters are good fun, but baseball needs action in the field and on the basepaths. Those Twins teams of yesteryear, even when they weren’t good, always had that. Now, Simmons, who can make a special play out of nothing, is bringing it back to Minnesota.
  16. Like
    Doctor Gast reacted to Danchat for a blog entry, 2021 Prospect Rankings: 25-30   
    I'm attempting my first batch of prospect rankings ever! Here's how it will go:
     
    I'm calling this an Aggregated Prospect Ranking. That means that I'm outsourcing opinions from several sources to form my own rankings - I haven't watched most of these players, so there isn't a whole lot that I can add from a scouting standpoint. I would, however, like to weigh the rankings to factors measured by others; for example, boosting a player's ranking due to position scarcity, or quantifying how their minor league play boosts their odds at panning out in the majors. It'll make for a useful ranking to look back on in the future, but just remember that I'm not an expert!
     
    I will reveal my formula for ranking the players where they are in the final article... and there will be some selections that some will find surprising. But I hope you will enjoy it!
     
    Sources:
    MLB.com Pipeline: https://www.mlb.com/prospects/twins/
    Fangraphs: https://www.fangraphs.com/teams/twins
    Baseball Savant: https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/savant-player/dakota-chalmers-663793?stats=career-r-pitching-milb
    Other Prospect Rankings on Twins Daily
     
     
    Honorable Mentions
    Outside the Top 30
     
    RHP Griffin Jax - The former 3rd rounder has been available to be taken in the Rule 5 Draft in 2019 and 2020, but with no takers. He's stuffed the stat sheet in the minors with consistently low ERAs, but does not get strikeouts often and his stuff is likely not going to cut it in the MLB. He's already 26 and in AAA, which makes him a spot starter at best.
     
    OF Kala'i Rosario - A 5th rounder in the very small Twins 2021 Draft Class, Rosario is a high schooler out of Hawaii. Scouts expect him to develop some power as he gets older. I could see him cracking prospect lists in 2022-23 if all goes well.
     
    RHP Bailey Ober - Despite topping out around 87 MPH, Ober drew tons of strikeouts and clean innings in his first full season in 2019 between Rookie league, A+, and AA. The Twins saw enough promise in him to hand him a 40 man roster spot and could make his MLB debut this year. Ober will likely need to move to the bullpen to get a few more ticks on his fastball, but his breaking pitches and command are top notch.
     
    RHP Dakota Chalmers - Acquired in the Fernando Rodney trade, Chalmers was added to the 40 man roster in late 2019, meaning he's already burned an option. He has a fastball that tops out at 96 and has the secondary pitches to consistently strike anyone out, but he's outside of the top 30 due to an inability to throw strikes and a spotty injury history. If he ever does crack the majors, it'll likely be as a reliever since he's never pitched more than 67 innings in a season.
     
    OF Willie Joe Garry Jr. - He didn't hit so well in Elizabethton(rookie league) with a .228/.301/.365 line, but scouts are never-the-less still excited for him. The lefty has the tools to be a CFer with a strong arm, but his bat has a long way to go. He's not much more than a lottery ticket at this point.
     
    3B Seth Gray - Gray had a decent debut at Elizabethton with a .225/.336/.445 (.781 OPS) line. He already has hit for power, as he swatted in 11 HRs in his first 257 PAs, and drew 30 walks in that span. His fielding ability is questionable, as it's fair to wonder if he'll stick at 3B.
     
     
    The Top 30
     
    #30 - Yunior Severino 2B (International from Dominican Republic, acquired in 2018 trade)
    Severino had a quality rookie season in 2018, but fractured his thumb in 2019 and didn't play much. Still only 21, Severino has plenty of raw strength, but has yet to put it on display. He's going to be striking out a lot. He has a strong enough arm to play any spot on the diamond, but his bigger frame will likely put him at 2B.
    |
    #29 - Emmanuel Rodriguez OF (International from Dominican Republic, 2019)
    We haven't gotten to see our top international prospect from the 2019 class thanks to the virus. He'll turn 18 this year and has a long road ahead of him, but boasts a jack of all trades toolset. He's got a strong arm and enough speed to play center, and even some pop in his bat.
    |
    #28 - Alreick Soularie OF (2nd round 2020, Tennessee)
    Many questioned this pick at the time, and you can count me as one of them. Normally I'd be placing a 2nd rounder coming out of college higher on the list, but there are too many question marks surrounding Soularie to earn a high ranking. He appears to be a one tool prospect - he can hit. He managed a .336 batting average at Tennessee and reportedly shows great bat control. He was not good defensively and has a ways to go if he wants to be a corner outfielder.
    |
    #27 - Josh Winder RHP (7th round 2018, Virginia Military Institute)
    Winder put himself on the radar with a strong 2019 campaign, sporting a WHIP under 1.0 and a shiny 2.65 ERA. He even managed 5.96 innings a start. He was old for pitching at Low A (22), and may not have the type of pitches that makes him a true threat in the big leagues, but the results are there. He will be Rule 5 eligible in 2021.
    |
    #26 - Will Holland 2B (5th round 2019, Auburn)
    Holland had a rough outing at Elizabethton hitting .192, Holland profiles as an athlete who is still figuring out how to hit. Fangraphs rated him with the highest "run" tool, but thinks he'll end up at 2B, while MLB.com's report claims he can stick at short. If he can hold up defensively at short, he'll have a chance to develop into a quality utility infielder.
    |
    #25 - Danny De Andrade SS (International from Venezuela, 2021)
    The Twins just acquired De Andrade two weeks ago, spending $2.2M to land him as their top international free agent of the year. He ranked as a top 10 international prospect in this year's class. The 16-year-old has a solid frame to grow into, but none of his tools stands out. We don't have many pure shortstop prospects in our system, so it would be ideal if De Andrade could rise up to be one of the better ones.
     
    Coming up next: #17-24
  17. Like
    Doctor Gast reacted to Andrew Luedtke for a blog entry, Does the Simmons Move Hint at Which SP the Twins Could Target?   
    Twins fans were rightfully excited about acquring slick fielding SS Andrelton Simmons last night.
     
    If you want to spend a fun 10 mintues, check out his defensive highlight reel

    There's no doubt that grabbing the best defensive SS since Ozzie Smith will upgrade the Twins roster.
     
    Combine Simmons with already strong defenders in Buxton, Donaldson, Jeffers, and Kepler, you can see how quickly the mind would shift to "well, what does this mean for their pitching?".
     
    In my opinion, this means two things:
     
    1) It upgrades the Twins existing staff (and should be helpful to one guy in particular)
    2) It might tell us a bit about who the Twins could target next for a SP, given their newly upgraded defense
     
    Simmons Impact on Existing Twins Pitchers:
     
    Looking purely at GB% (calculated by the number of ground balls induced/number of balls put in play), we know that based on an improved defense, the more balls hit on the ground, the higher chance they have to be converted into outs than they did 24 hours ago (pre-Simmons signing).
     
    It's even more fun to look at how much better the Twins defense is than in 2017 when Falvey and Levine took over. JD Cameron takes a look into that here.
     
    From Fangraphs, a "ground ball pitcher" is any pitcher who has a GB% over 50%. League wide in 2019 - 2020, the average GB% was 42.8%.
     
    Here is how the Twins current staff stacks up by GB% using combined stats from the 2019 and 2020 seasons.
    For the most part, the majority of the staff has a below average GB% (would love to see what this chart looked like for the 2004 pitch-to-contact Twins).
     


     
    Two names stand out here.
     
    1. Randy Dobnak - GB% of 58.8%***
    2. Taylor Rogers - GB% of 48.2%
     
    ***Since he came into the league, Randy Dobnak ranks 7th out of 284 pitchers in GB%.
     
    Which SP could the Twins acquire that would benefit most from the Twins defense?
     
    Given that any ball hit on the left side of the infield should be vaccumed up quicker than a Dyson, maybe this shifts how the front office approaches filling out the rotation. Ground ball pitchers stand to gain a lot if their infield can consistently convert more ground balls into outs.
     
    It's the little things in baseball that make the major differences.
     
    From 2019 - 2020, there were 284 pitchers that threw at least 75 IP.
     
    Below are the ranks and GB% for the remaining free agents.
     
    For this exercise, I only focused on FA that had a GB% at 44% or higher.
     
    You can see the entire list from Fangraphs here.
     
    Brett Anderson - 55.2% (17th)
    Jake Arrieta - 51.4% (30th)
    Adam Wainwright - 47.4% (71st)
    Cole Hamels - 47.0% (79th)
    Aaron Sanchez - 46.9% (81st)
    Homer Bailey - 44% (128th)
     
    Below are the ranks for potential trade candidates that have popped up in rumors. Again, I only focused on players with a GB% of 44% or higher.
     
    Luis Castillo - 56.1% (13th)
    Sonny Gray - 50.9% (35th)
    German Marquez - 49.5% (52nd)
    Jon Gray - 46.9% (81st)
     
    BONUS. Here are a couple bullpen free agents that could benefit from a good defensive infield:
     
    Jeremy Jeffress - 50.0%
    Alex Colome - 47.7%
     
    So there you have it. I will be interested to see how the Twins defense positively impacts the pitching staff all year long. Specifically, I am excited to see what this means for Randy Dobnak.
     
    For now, I am most interested to see what the Simmons acquisition means in how the Twins front office addresses the rest of their pitching needs.
     
    Do any names on this list jump out to you as being good targets for the Twins? Maybe now even moreso with a Simmons addition?
  18. Like
    Doctor Gast reacted to Allen Post for a blog entry, Ranking Twins' Offseason Targets on the Fun Meter   
    Let’s forget for a second about WAR, launch angle, and exit velocity. Push your thoughts of FIP, xFIP, and BABIP to the side, and remember why we all got into baseball in the first place. It’s fun. So, I’ve compiled a short list of potential future Twins, and rated how fun they’d be in Minnesota from Boring to Very Fun. Enjoy.
     
    Javier Báez – Very Fun
    The Twins are in the market for a new shortstop and the Cubs seem to be in fire sale mode, so a move that sends Báez to Minnesota might be in both clubs’ best interests. And, simply put, Báez maxes out the fun meter. He’s a still relatively young, swagger-filled middle infielder that does amazing things in the field and sports a good amount of pop in his bat. Forget about his mediocre 2020 stats for a second – watching Báez play is fun because he has the look and the confidence of the best player on the field even if he really isn’t anymore. He’s been on the cover of The Show, something nobody else on this list can claim. And, I’ve kind of buried the lede here – the coolest part about El Mago (cool nickname too) are his tags.
     

     
    Trevor Story – Kinda Fun
    Trevor Story, another shortstop trade possibility, gets a Kinda Fun designation because, though he may be the best available option at short, he doesn’t boast the star power and flair of Báez and others. Don’t get me wrong – Story is a star; he’s great in the field and at the plate, but looking at his stats on baseball reference is almost more exciting that watching him play. It doesn’t help that he’s been marooned off in Colorado, but Story just doesn’t have that “it factor” or special skill that sets him above the other great shortstops in the league, at least in terms of fun-ness. He does have a pretty mean bat flip, but there’s no crazy tag compilation out there on YouTube, for example. He’ll be a very welcome addition to the Twins if he comes, but a middle-of-the-road rating on the fun meter feels right.
     
    Marcus Semien – Boring
    Marcus Semien is probably the best shortstop available on the free agency market, but there’s a reason a lot of Twins fans would rather give up young talent in a Báez or Story trade than simply sign the former Oakland shortstop. Signing Semien would just give off the feeling that they needed a shortstop and signed a shortstop, not the shortstop that anybody really wants. Semien has been a top-tier player in the past, but a pretty dismal 2020 makes him feel like a more expensive Jorge Polanco rather than a Polanco replacement, and spending on a player that does little to change the status quo is the opposite of fun. Perhaps if I allowed myself to make a joke about his last name, I could bump him up a few levels, but I’m not going to do that so he’s stays at Boring.
     
    Nelson Cruz – Fun
    Perhaps the Twins’ biggest question of the offseason is whether to bring Nelson Cruz back or not and, while our opinions may vary widely on whether it’s wise to spend on a 40-year-old DH, that’s not what I’m here to talk about. Nelson Cruz is fun. With Cruz, there’s no “shiny new car” feeling because he’s been in Minnesota for two years, but there’s a reason he’s been your dad’s favorite Twins player those two years. He’s been a star in the league for the better part of a decade and we love when stars come to Minnesota, especially when they lead the team to an MLB record for home runs. Even better, Cruz’s locker room personality is the driving force behind the “Bomba Squad” moniker and the team identity that’s the Twins last few years on of the most fun teams in the league.
     


    Marcell Ozuna – Fun
    Should the Twins decide against bringing back Cruz, Marcell Ozuna could serve as a long-term high-end option at DH. Though losing Cruz might be sad for many Twins fans, they’d be getting no downgrade in the fun department with Ozuna. He’s a big, muscular dude who wears a bright chartreuse arm sleeve and hits bombs. Massive bombs. In large quantities. Last year, Ozuna led the league in home runs and runs batted in and, though there are certainly more intelligent stats, big homer and RBI guys are very fun to have in the lineup. Advanced stats fans should like him too, as his exit velocity numbers and hard hit percentage were among the best in the league last year. The only thing keeping Ozuna from rising into the Very Fun tier is the possibility of a regression that could make him a Sanó-esque strikeout frustration.
     

     
    Trevor Bauer – Very Fun
    Now, the Twins odds acquiring the free agent ace and reigning NL Cy Young winner aren’t that great, but he falls into the Very Fun category, so it’s fun to imagine. Bauer is and always has been controversial, so he may not be every Twins fan’s cup of tea, but that’s exactly why I would love to have him so much. The guy who talks the most and angers the most people is exactly the type of guy you want on your team, as long as he’s playing well. And fresh off a Cy Young year, he’s certainly doing that. Above all else though, Bauer has a curious and innovative baseball mind that, as a fan, is fun to see on your favorite team. His appreciation for the craft of pitching is something that every Twins fan ought to be able to appreciate, even if some don’t like his attitude. Also – He’s a fun follow on YouTube.
     

     
    Sonny Gray – Not That Fun
    Gray, who was Bauer’s teammate last year in Cincinnati, would also be a good addition to the Twins rotation, but he’s not nearly as exciting. With a career ERA in the threes and a WHIP in the 1.2 range, Minnesota fans would probably be happy to have him, but we also managed to make Carl Pavano seem exciting. The fact is that, since he burst into the bigs as a rookie, nobody has ever called you excitedly to say “Hey, did you see what Sonny Gray did last night?!?!” unless they were a Yankees fan complaining about his poor performance in pinstripes. Gray seems like a fun guy to know and have in the locker room, but that doesn’t make him a fun player to watch. If he signs with Minnesota, he’ll be a mid-rotation out-getter more than a jersey-seller.
     
     
    Trevor Rosenthal – Kinda Fun
    The Twins haven’t had a true flamethrower in the bullpen (other than Brusdar Graterol’s 10 games) in a long while, but that’s what they would get by bringing in free agent reliever Trevor Rosenthal. Rosenthal looked on the brink of exiting the league not too long ago but was dominant down the stretch for the Padres last year, and he regularly touched triple-digit velocity. A dominant hard-throwing reliever is one of most exciting players to watch and have on your team, so Rosenthal, should he sign, would be a very entertaining player to have around. However, he’s only a year removed from being an out of control
    , and those guys are torturous to watch. I’ll hedge my bets and put him at Kinda Fun.
  19. Like
    Doctor Gast reacted to Ted Schwerzler for a blog entry, The Twins Want a New Shortstop?   
    Over the past couple of weeks, it has been rumored that the Twins are acting as a shark circling blood in the water. Waiting for an opportunity to make a big move like they did last offseason, it’s been anyone’s guess as to what that may be. Today it was reported that the move could come up the middle.
     
    Trevor Bauer is the premier free agent this winter, but shortstop talent is aplenty as well. Andrelton Simmons is a perennial Gold Glove type, while both Didi Gregorious and Marcus Semien bring a more balanced offering in a stopgap type situation. Ken Rosenthal reported today that Minnesota is considering moving Luis Arraez and shifting Jorge Polanco to second base. The question then becomes, who plays short?
     
    Arraez broke onto the scene in 2019 and immediately became a fan favorite that looked the part of a Tony Gwynn clone. With great command of the zone and an innate ability to make strong contact, multiple batting titles were projected for his future. Dealing with a slow start in 2020, and lingering knee issues, he finished the year off fine. It’s probably fair to describe him as virtually what we see being who he is. There’s going to be a high average, he won’t strike out, and he’s passable at best on defense. On its own, that works fine for Minnesota.
     
    The problem here is that Jorge Polanco is miscast as a shortstop. His arm strength is questionable, and while improved in 2020, his range is suspect. That’s easier to overlook when the power production is what it was in 2019, but he dealt with a nagging ankle issue last season and just underwent another surgery to correct it. There was some talk he could take over as Minnesota’s replacement for Marwin Gonzalez, but you’d probably be sacrificing lineup prowess in that scenario. Moving him to second base seems like a much more fluid fit.
     
    So, what happens at short? Royce Lewis is obviously seen as the heir, but there’s plenty of warts to dissect there. His 2019 was not good, and despite glowing reports from the CHS Field alternate site last season, 2020 featured no real game action. A handful of national names continue to suggest he’s not a fit at short long term, and a spot in centerfield makes more sense. That alone isn’t enough to bump him off the position now, but it might be worthy to consider him less than untouchable.
     
    At the current juncture two of the game’s best shortstops are on the trade market. Cleveland is going to move Francisco Lindor this offseason, and the Colorado Rockies should be sending Trevor Story out. Neither are under team control past 2022 and as always you have the Coors effect in play (.760 OPS away .994 OPS home) for Story. Both players are going to command an absolute premium and depending on what Derek Falvey and Thad Levine are willing to give up, the hope would likely be an extension works out following a swap.
     
    Despite lost revenues in 2020, the Minnesota Twins can’t afford to wait out their next move. The farm system has some very good top prospects, and the depth is also pretty solid. It’s this core however that the front office has been fine tuning, and the window to go all in is the immediate future. With Josh Donaldson having three years left on his mega deal, pairing him and the homegrown core should be of the utmost importance. What impact Royce Lewis or Jordan Balazovic have as key pieces two or three years from now could be the start of an entirely new competitive cycle.
     
    This front office can’t go all in and throw care to the wind, but they’ve also never shown a reason to believe that’s how they would operate. Donaldson seemed like a great fit for Minnesota all along last winter, and the Twins picked their spot to get the deal done. Nothing may be imminent on a big splash front right now, but the makings of smoke seem to be billowing and there’s plenty of reason to fan for some flame.
     
    For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  20. Like
    Doctor Gast reacted to weinshie for a blog entry, PCIs: why the Twins might have trouble with Houston   
    The non-injury injuries: why the Twins might have trouble against Houston
     
    The Minnesota Twins completed the whirlwind COVID season atop their division. They are a different team than the one that won over 100 games last year, and probably much more likely to make an October run, thanks to improved starting pitching. On paper the Twins are a better team than the Houston Astros this year. From starting pitching to bullpen to lineup, Minnesota is just superior.*
     
    But one significant issue could end the Twins’ march into October before it begins: Performance Compromising Injuries, or PCIs.
     
    The Twins know all too well how injuries can impact a player’s on-field performance. When Joe Mauer returned to the field after a concussion, he admitted that he didn’t really see the ball as well as before. His K rate escalated; his hitting abilities went from elite to very good. While Mauer’s injury persisted to the end of his career, other maladies are far less debilitating long-term. Still, some short-term injuries can destroy quality performance on the field.
     
    Just ask Max Kepler.
     
    Last year, he suffered a shoulder issue in September. He “healed” and played all three postseason games against the Yankees. Chances are the lingering issues impacted his playoff at-bats. He ended up hitting 0.00.
     
    This year, several Twins look out of sorts in the batter's box, perhaps due to the dreaded PCI. Ball-killer Nelson Cruz has been unable to barrel up pitches over the past month, a month that he’s battled hip pain. Pitches down and away – ones that previously found the right-center field gap or beyond – are now nestling into catchers’ mitts for strikes.
     
    If Josh Donaldson plays through calf problems, one can only wonder how much it will affect his swing. Kepler rejoins the list of PCI concerns. Since his groin strain, he has had games where he simply misses inside fastballs.
     
    The most significant player who might have a PCI is someone who hasn’t even visited the IR this year: Jorge Polanco. With the exception of a few games, Polanco’s hitting has been off. His power is completely gone this year. Some fans might have forgotten that he underwent ankle surgery in the offseason, a surgery that has led manager Rocco Baldelli to give the shortstop several days off, even during the homestretch. Even when in the lineup, Polanco’s swing looks broken this year. Down and away pitches that in previous years would be rocketed hard to the opposite field are now soft popups. Fastballs down the pipe are high fly balls. And nasty breaking pitches that Polanco would foul off when healthy are missed completely.
     
    So, while many fans discuss pitching depth, defensive alignment when analyzing postseason odds, the Twins just need starters to feel comfortable, pain free. Because when the Minnesota baseball team’s PCI is zero, its lineup is lethal.
     
    *I will let other pundits comb through the numbers and data on this.
  21. Like
    Doctor Gast got a reaction from nclahammer for a blog entry, Let`s bring back the `87 Twins   
    In 1986 the Twins had one of the worst records in baseball (71-91) but in 1987 the Twins turned it around, becoming a Cinderella story that won the World Series. A story which inspired movies. 1986 team was basically the same team as the 1987 w/ players Kirby Puckett, Kent Hrbek, Gary Gaetti, Frank Viola, Bert Byleven, Tom Brunaski, Roy Smalley, to name a few. So what changed? They brought back the pin-stripes & added the M insignia. The change was a immediate success & continued w/ success for years, winning another WS, AL Championship, many perennial Divisional Championships & PS wins. The M insignia was dropped in 2010 from home games & was retired completely in 2014. Twins haven`t won a PS game since & not even qualifying very often.
     
    http://twinsdaily.com/blog/427/entry-6053-save-the-m/#:~:text=Well%20the%20Twins%20officially%20%E2%80%9Cretired,has%20negatively%20affected%20the%20season
     
    http://twinsdaily.com/blog/1318/entry-13727-why-did-the-twins-regressed-in-2020-one-answer/
     
    I know you are probably saying this guy is nuts, super-superstitious or believe in luck.
    I assure you I am none of the above. But I do believe that if something works don`t fix it. I don`t care if I can`t explain it or people think the baby blues w/ TC insignia are cute. I say we bring back the pinstripes & M insignia & get the monkey off our back AGAIN
  22. Like
    Doctor Gast reacted to mikelink45 for a blog entry, Eddie or Miguel or Byron or Max? You choose   
    Since the main TD articles keep talking about Eddie Rosario being traded, cut, cursed or whatever you want to call it I thought it might be instructive to do a comparison of all the six year players on the roster. In a move that we all thought would make the future of the Twins we had Eddie, Byron, Miguel, and Max arrive the same year and it did not take long before they were part of a home run hitting behemoth and twice got to the playoffs where they, like their predecessors failed. (I chose not to include pitchers since there is no way to have equivalent values between pitchers and position players.) Now all the discussions are about Eddie being too expensive and not needed. Why?
     
    Over the same six years here is there worth in Baseball Reference WAR -
    Max Kepler 12..3
    Byron Buxton 11.7
    Eddie Rosario 11.6
    Miguel Sano 7.6

    That makes the case for Eddie a little stronger as his WAR is not far off the top two and Miguel is the bottom (he was -0.2 this year).
     
    How about OBP?
    Sano 332
    Kepler 319
    Eddie 310
    Buxton 289

    OBP seems to consistently be the knock on Eddie, but in comparison he is not looking as bad as all the articles seem to hint.
     
    Okay let's try OPS and spruce up the data:
    Sano 829
    Eddie 788
    Kepler 763
    Buxton 719

    Sano blows them all away, but look who is second!
     
    Home Runs?
    Sano 131
    Eddie 119
    Max 101
    Byron 51

    Eddie looks pretty good here too.
     
    So being a traditionalist - what about RBIs? I know some of you do not believe in them, but what do you do when no one brings in the baserunners? I know - lose the playoffs.
    Eddie 388
    Miguel 344
    Max 303
    Buxton 172

    Like I have commented elsewhere, Eddie has a knack for bringing in runners and in this lineup, who doesn't have an opportunity?
     
    Another old tradition is BA - so let's check it out.
    Rosario 277
    Sano 241
    Buxton 238
    Kepler 237

    What about scoring runs? Yes runs win games.
    Rosario 400
    Max 324
    Sano 317
    Buxton 204

    So who stays on the field? Games played
    Rosario 697
    Max 601
    Miguel 539
    Buxton 432

    I know - you can say just think of the stats that the others would have if they played the same number of games - the trouble is they didn't. Max missed more than the number of games in last years short season - actually he missed the equivalent of 1 1/2 of last years games. Miquel is 158 games short - close to a full season and Buxton is 265 games shore - one full season plus 100 more! Can we say that Eddie is dependable?
     
    Someone will say, ya, but he can't field. I do not like a lot of fielding metrics but for the sake of this essay here is 2020 Fangraphs fielding for the four players
    Buxton 2.5
    Rosario 1.2
    Kepler -0.7
    Sano -2.2

    Everyone told me that Kepler was such a valuable fielder and Rosario was terrible.
     
    So baserunning - yep Rosario is a loose cannon here - I cannot justify his 2020 ranking
    Kepler 2.3
    Sano 2.3
    Buxton 0.4
    Eddie -2

    So there are all the various listings that seem to be part of the discussions. That is 10 statistical comparisons - if I treat them all as equal - I leave it to you to argue - then the one with the least points (if someone finished 1st in all they would have 10 points) should rate highest. Here are the point totals
    Rosario 20
    Sano 23
    Kepler 24
    Buxton 29

    At this point in their careers I would say Rosario was the most valuable of the four, but beyond statistics that is also my bias. Prove me wrong or agree with me, but don't just say I think!
  23. Like
    Doctor Gast got a reaction from dcswede for a blog entry, Why did the Twins regressed in 2020? One answer   
    The Twins have been a big question mark all year. Great 2019 performances from players never realized in 2020 except Cruz & arguably Rosario. Although I`m not normal superstitious but baseball is, I never understood why the Twins wanted to bring back the baby blue uniforms to reminisce the "Twinkie" era. the auguration of the baby blues began w/ the Griffin / Carew fiasco. Carew was content to play out his years in MN but this fiasco changed all this & Carew could not leave fast enough.
    Following years were at best, mediocre.
    The notable thing about the baby blue jersey of old is that the Twins won the 1987 World Series in their first year not wearing the jersey. Their overall record in the years they wore the uniform was 1040-1170, a winning percentage of . 471.
    This is not what we want to replicate w/ our promising "Bomba Squad". Bringing back the baby blues started w/ covid19. I say we burn them & never bring them back
  24. Like
    Doctor Gast reacted to Parker Hageman for a blog entry, What I'm Reading   
    Becoming a More Patient Leader:
     
    Two good tips on how to increase patience in these stressful times.
     

    Redefine the meaning of speed. The U.S. Navy SEALs are known for their saying “Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.” These rapid-response special forces teams are paradoxically methodical and patient in both planning and executing their time-critical missions. They have learned over 60 years of operating in crisis situations that working at a slow and smooth pace reduces mistakes and re-dos and in the end speeds up the mission. In short, they have learned that leaders shouldn’t “confuse operational speed (moving quickly) with strategic speed (reducing the time it takes to deliver value).” And this of course means that leaders need to clearly define what delivering value means from the start. 

    Thank your way to patience. Gratitude has powerful effects on a wide range of our attitudes and behaviors. For example, keeping a journal about things you are thankful for increases generosity with others and lowers stress. It is no wonder then that gratitude may also positively spill over to our ability to demonstrate patience. Research in experimental psychology has found when people feel more grateful, they are better at delaying gratification and are more patient. 
    Travis D’Arnaud’s Offensive Breakout:
     
    Atlanta’s Travis D’Arnaud has transformed into a dangerous hitting catcher, finally living up to his draft expectations. Here’s some good insight on how he reached that level and an interesting take on how playing with the Rays versus one of the New York teams could allow him to focus on his development:
     

    Mottola would watch his batting practice swings, his on-deck swings, his in-game swings, and ask questions. Why are you attacking heaters this way? Why don’t you try to stay on top of the ball, without pulling off with your front side? Sometimes d’Arnaud didn’t have an answer. But because he knew Mottola — because he trusted him — he didn’t get defensive. This was coming from a place of compassion. 

    They tried every idea they could think of. D’Arnaud hit barefoot for a couple of days. One time, he added another tee to create a right bat path. Another time, Mottola had him try a wide-open stance, just so they could figure out what his straight line through the middle of the zone was. 

    “It was all these little moments that just finally came together,” he said. “In St. Pete, it was just like, man, the only people I have to answer to are my teammates and coaches. That’s why we’re allowed to do some things outside the box; we don’t have the same scrutiny. It seems like when you’re on the Yankees and Mets, you need to hang out in the cage all day just to get a little peace. 

    “To be yourself, and not always have to answer to your failures, is really refreshing for a lot of these guys.” 
    Loss of Sports Hurting Families:
     
    Sports have a way of bringing families together and without it, will some families lose bonding time?
     

    To Luker, the pandemic-fueled decline in youth participation is just one piece of a larger puzzle. 

    Few people are attending games of any kind. The fear of large crowds is wise, and it’s keeping most of us away from sitting in stands or standing on sidelines or even gathering for television watch parties. 

    But we need to be aware of the cost: Children, families and friends have been cut from fandom’s communal tradition. There are now far fewer chances to form friendships around watching sports together, and less opportunity for our youth to feel the generation-to-generation connections that come from getting together and rooting for a team. 
    Better Sleep Equals Better Results:
     
    Houston Astros’ reliever Josh James had terrible sleep habits as a prospect. He credits improving his rest to his improved performance (2020 stats notwithstanding).
     

    James did some research and finally saw a sleep specialist in December 2016. He spent the night hooked up to monitors and was diagnosed with sleep apnea, a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. The condition caused the 2004 death of NFL Hall of Famer Reggie White. 

    James was given possible surgical remedies that included removing his tonsils or fixing his deviated septum, though none of those were a guaranteed fix. Instead, he chose to start using a CPAP machine (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure), which delivers pressurized air through a mask that's worn at night to stop snoring. 

    The effects on James' energy were gradual. 

    "Just a little bit more refreshed in the morning, a little bit more refreshed about the day, and slowly I started feeling a little bit better every day," James said. "No naps needed. Normally, I'd come home and need a nap, and now I'd come home and be able to do stuff or cut the grass or watch TV." 

    The effects on James' career began blossoming this season. He went from sitting at 91-94 mph with his fastball, occasionally hitting 95, to touching 100 mph, to go along with a good slider and changeup. A beast was unleashed. 
    Improving Your Batting Practice Environment:
     
    As winter begins here in the north, baseball players will retreat to the comforts of indoor training. Brock Hammit has some excellent (and affordable) tips for coaches and trainers on how to improve that environment.
     
    Random:
     
    I recently finished reading The Fish That Ate The Whale, a story of a banana peddler’s rise to one of the most powerful men on the planet.
     
    The story of Sam Zemurray is fascinating as well as tragic for the Central American countries that he would disrupt in order to maximize profits for his fruit companies. In order to accomplish toppling governments and replace them with ones who would be more aligned with his business desires, Zemurray would require the help of Edward Bernays, the father of public relations, to tell his story and portray him favorably.
     
    Bernays, Sigmund Freud’s nephew, would use psychological tactics in his approach to managing people and brands. One of his specialities was indirection.
     
    Bernays was once hired by the publishing industry to increase the sales of books. Rather than take the message directly to the public that they should purchase more books for entertainment or educational purposes, Bernays approached homebuilders and convinced them to add built-in bookshelves to their new homes thereby making the owners head to the bookstore to fill the empty space.
     
    The subtle indirection greatly boosted sales of books.
  25. Like
    Doctor Gast reacted to Tom Froemming for a blog entry, Twins Offseason Primer 2020-21 Video Series   
    The Minnesota Twins have some big decisions facing them as we prepare to enter the 2020-21 MLB offseason. I ran through a few topics in a series of videos over on my YouTube channel.
     
    Keeping Eddie Rosario | MN Twins Offseason Primer Ep. 1

     
    What To Do About Donaldson, Buxton? | MN Twins Offseason Primer Ep. 2

     
    Finding Time For Kirilloff, Lewis And Others | MN Twins Offseason Primer Ep. 3

     
    Have We Seen The Last Of Odorizzi And May? | MN Twins Offseason Primer Ep. 4

     
    Free Agent Targets: Trevor Bauer And George Springer? Why Not? | MN Twins Offseason Primer Ep. 5

     
    If you're interested in more Twins coverage over on YouTube, click this link to subscribe to my channel. While you're at it, check out Twins Daily's channel.
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