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stringer bell

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  1. WTF
    stringer bell got a reaction from RpR for a blog entry, Settling in at Shortstop   
    The Minnesota Twins are completing one of their most disappointing seasons in their history in one week. While they will only win around 70 games, they have major league talent under team control at every position except one--shortstop. Andrelton Simmons was acquired on a one-year deal and has shown himself to be a competent (not all-world) defender and has had a putrid offensive season. The consensus at this site is that he should not and will not return in 2022. By all measures, the 2021 Simmons has been among the worst hitters in MLB. Good luck elsewhere Simba. It didn't work out in Minnesota.
    Who replaces Simmons as the everyday SS next year? I think the question is interesting. The Twins can go several different directions, including moving Jorge Polanco back to short. I would think that any shortstop decision has to be made with an eye on some of the Twins top prospects. Royce Lewis will miss all of 2021 following knee surgery. Lewis has the potential to be the kind of five-tool star that Byron Buxton has teased us with when he has been healthy. Lewis also has a minor league resume that is considerably short of his potential and there are murmurs that he won't end up as a shortstop. Another top prospect is Austin Martin, obtained in the José Berríos trade, He also has a history at shortstop, but exclusively played outfield for Wichita since he was acquired by the Twins. Martin seems to have a much more refined hit tool than Lewis, with a high OBP and relatively low strikeouts. He hasn't demonstrated big power in the minors, however. Do the Twins believe either of these guys will be their everyday shortstop next year? I really doubt it. Lewis has almost no experience in the high minors and has essentially missed two years of baseball and while it is quite likely that Martin will make his major league debut next season, his most likely position will be outfield. A third minor league option is Wichita's regular shortstop this season, Jermaine Palacios. He has had a power surge and has been a shortstop through his minor league career. Could he make the jump? At least to start 2022, I think all three guys are longshots to even be on the major league roster.
    Of course, there are two possible candidates on the big league roster. Polanco has almost 500 games played at short, and while he isn't league average with the leather, he is a proven hitter. Nick Gordon has impressed, but despite playing a lot of shortstop in the minors, he's only logged 43 innings at short in this, his rookie year, with the Twins. Again, I have my doubts. However, I think the readiness of a replacement from the organization is the key to determining what type of player the Twins will seek to fill the void at shortstop.
    If they are convinced that one of their prospects will be an everyday shortstop in the majors by 2023, then the focus would be on more of a stopgap player, perhaps someone who might start the season as a regular, but could evolve into a utility player. If the feeling is that none of the prospects in the high minors can cut it as an everyday shortstop by 2023, then they have to sign someone with a bit more permanence. Signing someone from outside the organization for more than one year also would seem to create a glut of major league players. Sano and Kirilloff at first, Polanco, Arraez and Gordon at second, Donaldson at third with also Arraez capable at the hot corner. Add in that their near-certain Minor League Player of the Year, Jose Miranda, can fill first second and third and there seems to be too many players for the infield and DH positions. 
    One additional thought--while he didn't get much love from Twins fans, I think the Twins missed Ehire Adrianza, or at least someone who could fill the role of Adrianza. Moving Polanco to shortstop whenever Simmons was hit for or had a day off seemed to disrupt the entire infield. Having a true backup shortstop who could fill in at other positions would have been a good thing for the Twins' roster. Having such a player in addition to Adrianza and Gordon might make the position player part of the roster very crowded. The frontline defense for the Twins was pretty good, but it seemed whenever a starter was subbed out, it would be for an inferior defender, sometimes weakening more than one position.
    I think that there is enough talent on the position player side for the Twins to contend, perhaps as soon as next year. To achieve the dream of contending, they would have to come up with pitching, but the late-season performances of Ryan and Ober offer hope that they might be pieces of the puzzle next year and that the minor leagues could possibly start producing good quality pitching from within the organization. 
    There are decisions to be made. I don't see any clear path to solving the shortstop position problem, but there have to be answers somewhere. Falvey and Levine need to make the right choices in several areas to help bring the club back. Their jobs may depend on the choices they make.
     

  2. Like
    stringer bell got a reaction from tarheeltwinsfan for a blog entry, Ch-ch-changes?   
    The Twins play their 30th game this afternoon and are currently 11-18. They've been beset by bad luck, bad play and have taken a beating with two rule changes (extra-inning runner on second, 7-inning games for doubleheaders). How do they get out of this funk? I'm sure many in the organization will preach patience and they may be right, but that isn't any fun. Here are some possibilities for change that might help the team:
     
    Role change. We've already seen one role change. At least temporarily Alexander Columé is not going to see high-leverage innings. Columé has been a huge disappointment and even when he has worked scoreless innings, he's been shaky. The problem is that taking Columé out of high leverage situations leaves the Twins with few good options, particularly when going 6 or more innings for a starter is a rarity. I think one pitching role change that should be made is to use Taylor Rogers in non-save high leverage situations as happened early in 2019 and sometimes use him for multiple innings. Rogers shouldn't be used in back-to-back days. Moving Alcala to high leverage situations seems to be gradually happening. If things continue to go bad, it makes sense to have him give a shot as a closer. Position players--it seems to me that both Polanco and Kepler should have their roles diminished from full-time regular to something different. Kepler can play a corner and center and Polanco has played short and second, maybe Max should be slotted as the fourth OF or at least platooned with Garlick. I think giving Polanco the role of three-position infielder wouldn't be a stretch. He could get some at-bats as a platoon partner for my choice of regular second baseman (Arraez) and left-handed at-bats in place of Simmons and when Donaldson takes a day off (or is injured).
     
    Promotions/demotions. Assuming that Alex Kirilloff is in the big leagues to stay, when healthy the Twins have one extra position player and someone will have to be sent to the minor leagues or released. Discussion has centered on Jake Cave. Several others could be sent down and that doesn't begin to discuss the pitching staff. Many pitchers'performances could merit their demotion.
     
    Trades. It is unlikely that anyone will make a significant trade this early in the year. However, the Twins would be a good candidate for a major trade nearer the trade deadline. They have some redundancy (left handed hitting corner outfielders) and holes that need patching (bullpen, perhaps catching) and many candidates to trade. They also have a lot of players who would be free agents after this season. I do wonder if someone who was considered a cornerstone (Polanco, Kepler, Sanó) could be traded. None of these guys have performed remotely well so far but an uptick could make them more marketable. I have to believe that the Twins will bring in new pitchers either in the bullpen or the rotation. What they have at this time in the bullpen just hasn't worked.
     
    Personally, I think the Twins will need to do a little bit of everything to turn the corner. I am a proponent of changing roles. I think Kepler and Polanco could be candidates to have limited roles. The Twins need to add at least one strong arm in the bullpen, most likely by trade and Trevor Larnach is reputed to be nearly as much a sure thing as a hitter as Alex Kirilloff, plus he is a better outfielder. There is too much talent for the club to continue to play sub.400 baseball, but I think they need to make changes immediately.
  3. Like
    stringer bell got a reaction from mikelink45 for a blog entry, Ch-ch-changes?   
    The Twins play their 30th game this afternoon and are currently 11-18. They've been beset by bad luck, bad play and have taken a beating with two rule changes (extra-inning runner on second, 7-inning games for doubleheaders). How do they get out of this funk? I'm sure many in the organization will preach patience and they may be right, but that isn't any fun. Here are some possibilities for change that might help the team:
     
    Role change. We've already seen one role change. At least temporarily Alexander Columé is not going to see high-leverage innings. Columé has been a huge disappointment and even when he has worked scoreless innings, he's been shaky. The problem is that taking Columé out of high leverage situations leaves the Twins with few good options, particularly when going 6 or more innings for a starter is a rarity. I think one pitching role change that should be made is to use Taylor Rogers in non-save high leverage situations as happened early in 2019 and sometimes use him for multiple innings. Rogers shouldn't be used in back-to-back days. Moving Alcala to high leverage situations seems to be gradually happening. If things continue to go bad, it makes sense to have him give a shot as a closer. Position players--it seems to me that both Polanco and Kepler should have their roles diminished from full-time regular to something different. Kepler can play a corner and center and Polanco has played short and second, maybe Max should be slotted as the fourth OF or at least platooned with Garlick. I think giving Polanco the role of three-position infielder wouldn't be a stretch. He could get some at-bats as a platoon partner for my choice of regular second baseman (Arraez) and left-handed at-bats in place of Simmons and when Donaldson takes a day off (or is injured).
     
    Promotions/demotions. Assuming that Alex Kirilloff is in the big leagues to stay, when healthy the Twins have one extra position player and someone will have to be sent to the minor leagues or released. Discussion has centered on Jake Cave. Several others could be sent down and that doesn't begin to discuss the pitching staff. Many pitchers'performances could merit their demotion.
     
    Trades. It is unlikely that anyone will make a significant trade this early in the year. However, the Twins would be a good candidate for a major trade nearer the trade deadline. They have some redundancy (left handed hitting corner outfielders) and holes that need patching (bullpen, perhaps catching) and many candidates to trade. They also have a lot of players who would be free agents after this season. I do wonder if someone who was considered a cornerstone (Polanco, Kepler, Sanó) could be traded. None of these guys have performed remotely well so far but an uptick could make them more marketable. I have to believe that the Twins will bring in new pitchers either in the bullpen or the rotation. What they have at this time in the bullpen just hasn't worked.
     
    Personally, I think the Twins will need to do a little bit of everything to turn the corner. I am a proponent of changing roles. I think Kepler and Polanco could be candidates to have limited roles. The Twins need to add at least one strong arm in the bullpen, most likely by trade and Trevor Larnach is reputed to be nearly as much a sure thing as a hitter as Alex Kirilloff, plus he is a better outfielder. There is too much talent for the club to continue to play sub.400 baseball, but I think they need to make changes immediately.
  4. Like
    stringer bell got a reaction from DocBauer for a blog entry, Ch-ch-changes?   
    The Twins play their 30th game this afternoon and are currently 11-18. They've been beset by bad luck, bad play and have taken a beating with two rule changes (extra-inning runner on second, 7-inning games for doubleheaders). How do they get out of this funk? I'm sure many in the organization will preach patience and they may be right, but that isn't any fun. Here are some possibilities for change that might help the team:
     
    Role change. We've already seen one role change. At least temporarily Alexander Columé is not going to see high-leverage innings. Columé has been a huge disappointment and even when he has worked scoreless innings, he's been shaky. The problem is that taking Columé out of high leverage situations leaves the Twins with few good options, particularly when going 6 or more innings for a starter is a rarity. I think one pitching role change that should be made is to use Taylor Rogers in non-save high leverage situations as happened early in 2019 and sometimes use him for multiple innings. Rogers shouldn't be used in back-to-back days. Moving Alcala to high leverage situations seems to be gradually happening. If things continue to go bad, it makes sense to have him give a shot as a closer. Position players--it seems to me that both Polanco and Kepler should have their roles diminished from full-time regular to something different. Kepler can play a corner and center and Polanco has played short and second, maybe Max should be slotted as the fourth OF or at least platooned with Garlick. I think giving Polanco the role of three-position infielder wouldn't be a stretch. He could get some at-bats as a platoon partner for my choice of regular second baseman (Arraez) and left-handed at-bats in place of Simmons and when Donaldson takes a day off (or is injured).
     
    Promotions/demotions. Assuming that Alex Kirilloff is in the big leagues to stay, when healthy the Twins have one extra position player and someone will have to be sent to the minor leagues or released. Discussion has centered on Jake Cave. Several others could be sent down and that doesn't begin to discuss the pitching staff. Many pitchers'performances could merit their demotion.
     
    Trades. It is unlikely that anyone will make a significant trade this early in the year. However, the Twins would be a good candidate for a major trade nearer the trade deadline. They have some redundancy (left handed hitting corner outfielders) and holes that need patching (bullpen, perhaps catching) and many candidates to trade. They also have a lot of players who would be free agents after this season. I do wonder if someone who was considered a cornerstone (Polanco, Kepler, Sanó) could be traded. None of these guys have performed remotely well so far but an uptick could make them more marketable. I have to believe that the Twins will bring in new pitchers either in the bullpen or the rotation. What they have at this time in the bullpen just hasn't worked.
     
    Personally, I think the Twins will need to do a little bit of everything to turn the corner. I am a proponent of changing roles. I think Kepler and Polanco could be candidates to have limited roles. The Twins need to add at least one strong arm in the bullpen, most likely by trade and Trevor Larnach is reputed to be nearly as much a sure thing as a hitter as Alex Kirilloff, plus he is a better outfielder. There is too much talent for the club to continue to play sub.400 baseball, but I think they need to make changes immediately.
  5. Like
    stringer bell got a reaction from Dave The Dastardly for a blog entry, Ch-ch-changes?   
    The Twins play their 30th game this afternoon and are currently 11-18. They've been beset by bad luck, bad play and have taken a beating with two rule changes (extra-inning runner on second, 7-inning games for doubleheaders). How do they get out of this funk? I'm sure many in the organization will preach patience and they may be right, but that isn't any fun. Here are some possibilities for change that might help the team:
     
    Role change. We've already seen one role change. At least temporarily Alexander Columé is not going to see high-leverage innings. Columé has been a huge disappointment and even when he has worked scoreless innings, he's been shaky. The problem is that taking Columé out of high leverage situations leaves the Twins with few good options, particularly when going 6 or more innings for a starter is a rarity. I think one pitching role change that should be made is to use Taylor Rogers in non-save high leverage situations as happened early in 2019 and sometimes use him for multiple innings. Rogers shouldn't be used in back-to-back days. Moving Alcala to high leverage situations seems to be gradually happening. If things continue to go bad, it makes sense to have him give a shot as a closer. Position players--it seems to me that both Polanco and Kepler should have their roles diminished from full-time regular to something different. Kepler can play a corner and center and Polanco has played short and second, maybe Max should be slotted as the fourth OF or at least platooned with Garlick. I think giving Polanco the role of three-position infielder wouldn't be a stretch. He could get some at-bats as a platoon partner for my choice of regular second baseman (Arraez) and left-handed at-bats in place of Simmons and when Donaldson takes a day off (or is injured).
     
    Promotions/demotions. Assuming that Alex Kirilloff is in the big leagues to stay, when healthy the Twins have one extra position player and someone will have to be sent to the minor leagues or released. Discussion has centered on Jake Cave. Several others could be sent down and that doesn't begin to discuss the pitching staff. Many pitchers'performances could merit their demotion.
     
    Trades. It is unlikely that anyone will make a significant trade this early in the year. However, the Twins would be a good candidate for a major trade nearer the trade deadline. They have some redundancy (left handed hitting corner outfielders) and holes that need patching (bullpen, perhaps catching) and many candidates to trade. They also have a lot of players who would be free agents after this season. I do wonder if someone who was considered a cornerstone (Polanco, Kepler, Sanó) could be traded. None of these guys have performed remotely well so far but an uptick could make them more marketable. I have to believe that the Twins will bring in new pitchers either in the bullpen or the rotation. What they have at this time in the bullpen just hasn't worked.
     
    Personally, I think the Twins will need to do a little bit of everything to turn the corner. I am a proponent of changing roles. I think Kepler and Polanco could be candidates to have limited roles. The Twins need to add at least one strong arm in the bullpen, most likely by trade and Trevor Larnach is reputed to be nearly as much a sure thing as a hitter as Alex Kirilloff, plus he is a better outfielder. There is too much talent for the club to continue to play sub.400 baseball, but I think they need to make changes immediately.
  6. Like
    stringer bell got a reaction from cHawk for a blog entry, Ch-ch-changes?   
    The Twins play their 30th game this afternoon and are currently 11-18. They've been beset by bad luck, bad play and have taken a beating with two rule changes (extra-inning runner on second, 7-inning games for doubleheaders). How do they get out of this funk? I'm sure many in the organization will preach patience and they may be right, but that isn't any fun. Here are some possibilities for change that might help the team:
     
    Role change. We've already seen one role change. At least temporarily Alexander Columé is not going to see high-leverage innings. Columé has been a huge disappointment and even when he has worked scoreless innings, he's been shaky. The problem is that taking Columé out of high leverage situations leaves the Twins with few good options, particularly when going 6 or more innings for a starter is a rarity. I think one pitching role change that should be made is to use Taylor Rogers in non-save high leverage situations as happened early in 2019 and sometimes use him for multiple innings. Rogers shouldn't be used in back-to-back days. Moving Alcala to high leverage situations seems to be gradually happening. If things continue to go bad, it makes sense to have him give a shot as a closer. Position players--it seems to me that both Polanco and Kepler should have their roles diminished from full-time regular to something different. Kepler can play a corner and center and Polanco has played short and second, maybe Max should be slotted as the fourth OF or at least platooned with Garlick. I think giving Polanco the role of three-position infielder wouldn't be a stretch. He could get some at-bats as a platoon partner for my choice of regular second baseman (Arraez) and left-handed at-bats in place of Simmons and when Donaldson takes a day off (or is injured).
     
    Promotions/demotions. Assuming that Alex Kirilloff is in the big leagues to stay, when healthy the Twins have one extra position player and someone will have to be sent to the minor leagues or released. Discussion has centered on Jake Cave. Several others could be sent down and that doesn't begin to discuss the pitching staff. Many pitchers'performances could merit their demotion.
     
    Trades. It is unlikely that anyone will make a significant trade this early in the year. However, the Twins would be a good candidate for a major trade nearer the trade deadline. They have some redundancy (left handed hitting corner outfielders) and holes that need patching (bullpen, perhaps catching) and many candidates to trade. They also have a lot of players who would be free agents after this season. I do wonder if someone who was considered a cornerstone (Polanco, Kepler, Sanó) could be traded. None of these guys have performed remotely well so far but an uptick could make them more marketable. I have to believe that the Twins will bring in new pitchers either in the bullpen or the rotation. What they have at this time in the bullpen just hasn't worked.
     
    Personally, I think the Twins will need to do a little bit of everything to turn the corner. I am a proponent of changing roles. I think Kepler and Polanco could be candidates to have limited roles. The Twins need to add at least one strong arm in the bullpen, most likely by trade and Trevor Larnach is reputed to be nearly as much a sure thing as a hitter as Alex Kirilloff, plus he is a better outfielder. There is too much talent for the club to continue to play sub.400 baseball, but I think they need to make changes immediately.
  7. Like
    stringer bell got a reaction from mrkarbo for a blog entry, Ch-ch-changes?   
    The Twins play their 30th game this afternoon and are currently 11-18. They've been beset by bad luck, bad play and have taken a beating with two rule changes (extra-inning runner on second, 7-inning games for doubleheaders). How do they get out of this funk? I'm sure many in the organization will preach patience and they may be right, but that isn't any fun. Here are some possibilities for change that might help the team:
     
    Role change. We've already seen one role change. At least temporarily Alexander Columé is not going to see high-leverage innings. Columé has been a huge disappointment and even when he has worked scoreless innings, he's been shaky. The problem is that taking Columé out of high leverage situations leaves the Twins with few good options, particularly when going 6 or more innings for a starter is a rarity. I think one pitching role change that should be made is to use Taylor Rogers in non-save high leverage situations as happened early in 2019 and sometimes use him for multiple innings. Rogers shouldn't be used in back-to-back days. Moving Alcala to high leverage situations seems to be gradually happening. If things continue to go bad, it makes sense to have him give a shot as a closer. Position players--it seems to me that both Polanco and Kepler should have their roles diminished from full-time regular to something different. Kepler can play a corner and center and Polanco has played short and second, maybe Max should be slotted as the fourth OF or at least platooned with Garlick. I think giving Polanco the role of three-position infielder wouldn't be a stretch. He could get some at-bats as a platoon partner for my choice of regular second baseman (Arraez) and left-handed at-bats in place of Simmons and when Donaldson takes a day off (or is injured).
     
    Promotions/demotions. Assuming that Alex Kirilloff is in the big leagues to stay, when healthy the Twins have one extra position player and someone will have to be sent to the minor leagues or released. Discussion has centered on Jake Cave. Several others could be sent down and that doesn't begin to discuss the pitching staff. Many pitchers'performances could merit their demotion.
     
    Trades. It is unlikely that anyone will make a significant trade this early in the year. However, the Twins would be a good candidate for a major trade nearer the trade deadline. They have some redundancy (left handed hitting corner outfielders) and holes that need patching (bullpen, perhaps catching) and many candidates to trade. They also have a lot of players who would be free agents after this season. I do wonder if someone who was considered a cornerstone (Polanco, Kepler, Sanó) could be traded. None of these guys have performed remotely well so far but an uptick could make them more marketable. I have to believe that the Twins will bring in new pitchers either in the bullpen or the rotation. What they have at this time in the bullpen just hasn't worked.
     
    Personally, I think the Twins will need to do a little bit of everything to turn the corner. I am a proponent of changing roles. I think Kepler and Polanco could be candidates to have limited roles. The Twins need to add at least one strong arm in the bullpen, most likely by trade and Trevor Larnach is reputed to be nearly as much a sure thing as a hitter as Alex Kirilloff, plus he is a better outfielder. There is too much talent for the club to continue to play sub.400 baseball, but I think they need to make changes immediately.
  8. Like
    stringer bell got a reaction from glunn for a blog entry, Ch-ch-changes?   
    The Twins play their 30th game this afternoon and are currently 11-18. They've been beset by bad luck, bad play and have taken a beating with two rule changes (extra-inning runner on second, 7-inning games for doubleheaders). How do they get out of this funk? I'm sure many in the organization will preach patience and they may be right, but that isn't any fun. Here are some possibilities for change that might help the team:
     
    Role change. We've already seen one role change. At least temporarily Alexander Columé is not going to see high-leverage innings. Columé has been a huge disappointment and even when he has worked scoreless innings, he's been shaky. The problem is that taking Columé out of high leverage situations leaves the Twins with few good options, particularly when going 6 or more innings for a starter is a rarity. I think one pitching role change that should be made is to use Taylor Rogers in non-save high leverage situations as happened early in 2019 and sometimes use him for multiple innings. Rogers shouldn't be used in back-to-back days. Moving Alcala to high leverage situations seems to be gradually happening. If things continue to go bad, it makes sense to have him give a shot as a closer. Position players--it seems to me that both Polanco and Kepler should have their roles diminished from full-time regular to something different. Kepler can play a corner and center and Polanco has played short and second, maybe Max should be slotted as the fourth OF or at least platooned with Garlick. I think giving Polanco the role of three-position infielder wouldn't be a stretch. He could get some at-bats as a platoon partner for my choice of regular second baseman (Arraez) and left-handed at-bats in place of Simmons and when Donaldson takes a day off (or is injured).
     
    Promotions/demotions. Assuming that Alex Kirilloff is in the big leagues to stay, when healthy the Twins have one extra position player and someone will have to be sent to the minor leagues or released. Discussion has centered on Jake Cave. Several others could be sent down and that doesn't begin to discuss the pitching staff. Many pitchers'performances could merit their demotion.
     
    Trades. It is unlikely that anyone will make a significant trade this early in the year. However, the Twins would be a good candidate for a major trade nearer the trade deadline. They have some redundancy (left handed hitting corner outfielders) and holes that need patching (bullpen, perhaps catching) and many candidates to trade. They also have a lot of players who would be free agents after this season. I do wonder if someone who was considered a cornerstone (Polanco, Kepler, Sanó) could be traded. None of these guys have performed remotely well so far but an uptick could make them more marketable. I have to believe that the Twins will bring in new pitchers either in the bullpen or the rotation. What they have at this time in the bullpen just hasn't worked.
     
    Personally, I think the Twins will need to do a little bit of everything to turn the corner. I am a proponent of changing roles. I think Kepler and Polanco could be candidates to have limited roles. The Twins need to add at least one strong arm in the bullpen, most likely by trade and Trevor Larnach is reputed to be nearly as much a sure thing as a hitter as Alex Kirilloff, plus he is a better outfielder. There is too much talent for the club to continue to play sub.400 baseball, but I think they need to make changes immediately.
  9. Like
    stringer bell got a reaction from LA VIkes Fan for a blog entry, Ch-ch-changes?   
    The Twins play their 30th game this afternoon and are currently 11-18. They've been beset by bad luck, bad play and have taken a beating with two rule changes (extra-inning runner on second, 7-inning games for doubleheaders). How do they get out of this funk? I'm sure many in the organization will preach patience and they may be right, but that isn't any fun. Here are some possibilities for change that might help the team:
     
    Role change. We've already seen one role change. At least temporarily Alexander Columé is not going to see high-leverage innings. Columé has been a huge disappointment and even when he has worked scoreless innings, he's been shaky. The problem is that taking Columé out of high leverage situations leaves the Twins with few good options, particularly when going 6 or more innings for a starter is a rarity. I think one pitching role change that should be made is to use Taylor Rogers in non-save high leverage situations as happened early in 2019 and sometimes use him for multiple innings. Rogers shouldn't be used in back-to-back days. Moving Alcala to high leverage situations seems to be gradually happening. If things continue to go bad, it makes sense to have him give a shot as a closer. Position players--it seems to me that both Polanco and Kepler should have their roles diminished from full-time regular to something different. Kepler can play a corner and center and Polanco has played short and second, maybe Max should be slotted as the fourth OF or at least platooned with Garlick. I think giving Polanco the role of three-position infielder wouldn't be a stretch. He could get some at-bats as a platoon partner for my choice of regular second baseman (Arraez) and left-handed at-bats in place of Simmons and when Donaldson takes a day off (or is injured).
     
    Promotions/demotions. Assuming that Alex Kirilloff is in the big leagues to stay, when healthy the Twins have one extra position player and someone will have to be sent to the minor leagues or released. Discussion has centered on Jake Cave. Several others could be sent down and that doesn't begin to discuss the pitching staff. Many pitchers'performances could merit their demotion.
     
    Trades. It is unlikely that anyone will make a significant trade this early in the year. However, the Twins would be a good candidate for a major trade nearer the trade deadline. They have some redundancy (left handed hitting corner outfielders) and holes that need patching (bullpen, perhaps catching) and many candidates to trade. They also have a lot of players who would be free agents after this season. I do wonder if someone who was considered a cornerstone (Polanco, Kepler, Sanó) could be traded. None of these guys have performed remotely well so far but an uptick could make them more marketable. I have to believe that the Twins will bring in new pitchers either in the bullpen or the rotation. What they have at this time in the bullpen just hasn't worked.
     
    Personally, I think the Twins will need to do a little bit of everything to turn the corner. I am a proponent of changing roles. I think Kepler and Polanco could be candidates to have limited roles. The Twins need to add at least one strong arm in the bullpen, most likely by trade and Trevor Larnach is reputed to be nearly as much a sure thing as a hitter as Alex Kirilloff, plus he is a better outfielder. There is too much talent for the club to continue to play sub.400 baseball, but I think they need to make changes immediately.
  10. Like
    stringer bell got a reaction from mikelink45 for a blog entry, Unthinkable? Let Cruz go after 2020?   
    Nelson Cruz has been everything the Twins could have expected for 2019 and 2020. He's stayed relatively healthy, hit both with power and for average, he's been available to play except for two ten-day stays on the Injured List and he has been a team leader and mentor for all players on his team. Cruz has been far and away the best hitter both last year and this year.
     
    Despite all of his contributions, I am not sure my favorite team should bring back Nelson Cruz for the 2021 season. There is a truism that it is better to move off a player a year too soon than a year too late. Father Time is looking hard at Nelson Cruz and at some point he will slow down. Actually, I wonder if he might have started slowing down at this point. Cruz is striking out more lately and not hitting with as much power as he did in the first half of this shortened season. Cruz has managed to keep his batting average up, but he only has three homers and 3 RBI in the 20 days of September. I don't know what will happen next year, but I would think that there is a chance Cruz' production will drop, perhaps dramatically.
     
    Also to consider is what the roster will look like next year and how Nelson would fit in it. The team has probably three corner OF/DH/1B prospects ready to play next year. Keeping Cruz would mean that for 90% of the games that Cruz isn't injured, he will fill the DH role. That leaves no real place for Kirilloff, Rooker and Larnach. Letting Eddie Rosario go could allow playing time for one of these guys, but still leaves a bit of a logjam. Using the DH spot as a half day off for regulars might be a better plan.
     
    Nelson Cruz has provided 1.7 WAR this year after 55 games, which would translate into over 5 WAR for a full season. His OPS this year is 1.026, just down from last year's 1.032. Cruz's OPS+ is actually higher this year 178 vs. 168 and he achieved 4.2 WAR for the full season last year. He has served as a role model for the younger players, particularly Hispanic players.It would certainly be a tough call to let him leave the Twins, but I don't think it is out of the question.
  11. Like
    stringer bell got a reaction from DannySD for a blog entry, My prediction for the new 29 man roster   
    MLB and the MLBPA agreed yesterday to accommodations for a shortened 2020 major league schedule. Many things are to be determined, especially since there is no firm date for the season to begin. I choose to be optimistic that there will be baseball this summer, perhaps without crowds in the stands. One thing agreed to unofficially was an expanded roster. The number that has been published is 29. I am going with that information and will now name the 29 players I expect will be on the roster for Opening Day 2020 whenever that happens.
     
    Pitchers--(15) Berríos, Maeda, Odorizzi, Bailey, Chacín, Dobnak, Wisler, May, Clippard, Stashak, Duffey, Romo, Littell, Thielbar, Rogers
     
    Catchers--(3) Garver,Avila, Astudillo
     
    Infielders--(6) Sanó, Arraez, Polanco, Donaldson, Adrianza, Gonzalez
     
    Outfielders--(4) Rosario, Buxton, Kepler, Cave
     
    Designated Hitter--(1) Cruz
     
    This would take the current roster, subtract Rich Hill and add both Thielbar and Chacín. My reasoning for this roster includes that the schedule will probably have doubleheaders and perhaps will fill some off days with games, meaning that a larger pitching staff in today's environment would be essential. I have included both Dobnak and Chacín, who have been competing for a starting spot and assume that either the Twins will go with a six-man rotation or that one of Dobnak or Chacín will be a "long man" in the bullpen. I assumed that if the staff were expanded by three that the Twins would add a lefty, even though specialists will be minimized by the three-batter rule. Having an occasional different look could be helpful.
     
    The fight for the 13th position player is over--they both win. I had thought Astudillo's ability to make contact and play many positions would win out over Cave's general competency, but with an additional position player spot available, both make the team.
     
    As for the pitching staff, it is murkier. First of all, Rich Hill has stated he could be ready to pitch in June. Suddenly, he might miss only a couple weeks or perhaps no time at all. Michael Pineda has two-thirds of his sixty game suspension to serve. I would expect that his suspension is prorated, much as service time will be prorated. If the season is 100 games, his suspension would be 25 games. There is nothing official, but that is what I will go with. I am assuming that Hill won't quite be ready when the season starts and that Pineda will have at least three weeks of suspension to serve.
     
    I think the Twins have seen enough of Chacín to want to see a bit more. He may not survive the return of Pineda and debut of Hill, but I don't think the Twins want to give up on him quite yet. Dobnak has pitched the best in exhibition games of those competing for a spot and he was outstanding last year in his brief time with the Twins. Wisler and Stashak both make the bullpen and there still is room for a lefty. I picked Thielbar over the others--Barnes, Clay and Coulumbe all had some moments, but I think Thielbar has pitched better. Hardy just had TJ surgery so he is out for 2020.
     
    I think a 29-man roster demonstrates the depth that the Twins possess. In other years, all of the players mentioned would easily make the Opening Day roster and more would have a chance. I have not added Devin Smeltzer to the 29, but believe he could be an option to pitch several doubleheader games if that happens. I don't really see him as a reliever and he has an option to use, so if he were called on to pitch as a long man, he could be shuttled to Rochester this year.
  12. Like
    stringer bell got a reaction from mikelink45 for a blog entry, My prediction for the new 29 man roster   
    MLB and the MLBPA agreed yesterday to accommodations for a shortened 2020 major league schedule. Many things are to be determined, especially since there is no firm date for the season to begin. I choose to be optimistic that there will be baseball this summer, perhaps without crowds in the stands. One thing agreed to unofficially was an expanded roster. The number that has been published is 29. I am going with that information and will now name the 29 players I expect will be on the roster for Opening Day 2020 whenever that happens.
     
    Pitchers--(15) Berríos, Maeda, Odorizzi, Bailey, Chacín, Dobnak, Wisler, May, Clippard, Stashak, Duffey, Romo, Littell, Thielbar, Rogers
     
    Catchers--(3) Garver,Avila, Astudillo
     
    Infielders--(6) Sanó, Arraez, Polanco, Donaldson, Adrianza, Gonzalez
     
    Outfielders--(4) Rosario, Buxton, Kepler, Cave
     
    Designated Hitter--(1) Cruz
     
    This would take the current roster, subtract Rich Hill and add both Thielbar and Chacín. My reasoning for this roster includes that the schedule will probably have doubleheaders and perhaps will fill some off days with games, meaning that a larger pitching staff in today's environment would be essential. I have included both Dobnak and Chacín, who have been competing for a starting spot and assume that either the Twins will go with a six-man rotation or that one of Dobnak or Chacín will be a "long man" in the bullpen. I assumed that if the staff were expanded by three that the Twins would add a lefty, even though specialists will be minimized by the three-batter rule. Having an occasional different look could be helpful.
     
    The fight for the 13th position player is over--they both win. I had thought Astudillo's ability to make contact and play many positions would win out over Cave's general competency, but with an additional position player spot available, both make the team.
     
    As for the pitching staff, it is murkier. First of all, Rich Hill has stated he could be ready to pitch in June. Suddenly, he might miss only a couple weeks or perhaps no time at all. Michael Pineda has two-thirds of his sixty game suspension to serve. I would expect that his suspension is prorated, much as service time will be prorated. If the season is 100 games, his suspension would be 25 games. There is nothing official, but that is what I will go with. I am assuming that Hill won't quite be ready when the season starts and that Pineda will have at least three weeks of suspension to serve.
     
    I think the Twins have seen enough of Chacín to want to see a bit more. He may not survive the return of Pineda and debut of Hill, but I don't think the Twins want to give up on him quite yet. Dobnak has pitched the best in exhibition games of those competing for a spot and he was outstanding last year in his brief time with the Twins. Wisler and Stashak both make the bullpen and there still is room for a lefty. I picked Thielbar over the others--Barnes, Clay and Coulumbe all had some moments, but I think Thielbar has pitched better. Hardy just had TJ surgery so he is out for 2020.
     
    I think a 29-man roster demonstrates the depth that the Twins possess. In other years, all of the players mentioned would easily make the Opening Day roster and more would have a chance. I have not added Devin Smeltzer to the 29, but believe he could be an option to pitch several doubleheader games if that happens. I don't really see him as a reliever and he has an option to use, so if he were called on to pitch as a long man, he could be shuttled to Rochester this year.
  13. Like
    stringer bell got a reaction from Strato Guy for a blog entry, My prediction for the new 29 man roster   
    MLB and the MLBPA agreed yesterday to accommodations for a shortened 2020 major league schedule. Many things are to be determined, especially since there is no firm date for the season to begin. I choose to be optimistic that there will be baseball this summer, perhaps without crowds in the stands. One thing agreed to unofficially was an expanded roster. The number that has been published is 29. I am going with that information and will now name the 29 players I expect will be on the roster for Opening Day 2020 whenever that happens.
     
    Pitchers--(15) Berríos, Maeda, Odorizzi, Bailey, Chacín, Dobnak, Wisler, May, Clippard, Stashak, Duffey, Romo, Littell, Thielbar, Rogers
     
    Catchers--(3) Garver,Avila, Astudillo
     
    Infielders--(6) Sanó, Arraez, Polanco, Donaldson, Adrianza, Gonzalez
     
    Outfielders--(4) Rosario, Buxton, Kepler, Cave
     
    Designated Hitter--(1) Cruz
     
    This would take the current roster, subtract Rich Hill and add both Thielbar and Chacín. My reasoning for this roster includes that the schedule will probably have doubleheaders and perhaps will fill some off days with games, meaning that a larger pitching staff in today's environment would be essential. I have included both Dobnak and Chacín, who have been competing for a starting spot and assume that either the Twins will go with a six-man rotation or that one of Dobnak or Chacín will be a "long man" in the bullpen. I assumed that if the staff were expanded by three that the Twins would add a lefty, even though specialists will be minimized by the three-batter rule. Having an occasional different look could be helpful.
     
    The fight for the 13th position player is over--they both win. I had thought Astudillo's ability to make contact and play many positions would win out over Cave's general competency, but with an additional position player spot available, both make the team.
     
    As for the pitching staff, it is murkier. First of all, Rich Hill has stated he could be ready to pitch in June. Suddenly, he might miss only a couple weeks or perhaps no time at all. Michael Pineda has two-thirds of his sixty game suspension to serve. I would expect that his suspension is prorated, much as service time will be prorated. If the season is 100 games, his suspension would be 25 games. There is nothing official, but that is what I will go with. I am assuming that Hill won't quite be ready when the season starts and that Pineda will have at least three weeks of suspension to serve.
     
    I think the Twins have seen enough of Chacín to want to see a bit more. He may not survive the return of Pineda and debut of Hill, but I don't think the Twins want to give up on him quite yet. Dobnak has pitched the best in exhibition games of those competing for a spot and he was outstanding last year in his brief time with the Twins. Wisler and Stashak both make the bullpen and there still is room for a lefty. I picked Thielbar over the others--Barnes, Clay and Coulumbe all had some moments, but I think Thielbar has pitched better. Hardy just had TJ surgery so he is out for 2020.
     
    I think a 29-man roster demonstrates the depth that the Twins possess. In other years, all of the players mentioned would easily make the Opening Day roster and more would have a chance. I have not added Devin Smeltzer to the 29, but believe he could be an option to pitch several doubleheader games if that happens. I don't really see him as a reliever and he has an option to use, so if he were called on to pitch as a long man, he could be shuttled to Rochester this year.
  14. Like
    stringer bell got a reaction from nclahammer for a blog entry, My prediction for the new 29 man roster   
    MLB and the MLBPA agreed yesterday to accommodations for a shortened 2020 major league schedule. Many things are to be determined, especially since there is no firm date for the season to begin. I choose to be optimistic that there will be baseball this summer, perhaps without crowds in the stands. One thing agreed to unofficially was an expanded roster. The number that has been published is 29. I am going with that information and will now name the 29 players I expect will be on the roster for Opening Day 2020 whenever that happens.
     
    Pitchers--(15) Berríos, Maeda, Odorizzi, Bailey, Chacín, Dobnak, Wisler, May, Clippard, Stashak, Duffey, Romo, Littell, Thielbar, Rogers
     
    Catchers--(3) Garver,Avila, Astudillo
     
    Infielders--(6) Sanó, Arraez, Polanco, Donaldson, Adrianza, Gonzalez
     
    Outfielders--(4) Rosario, Buxton, Kepler, Cave
     
    Designated Hitter--(1) Cruz
     
    This would take the current roster, subtract Rich Hill and add both Thielbar and Chacín. My reasoning for this roster includes that the schedule will probably have doubleheaders and perhaps will fill some off days with games, meaning that a larger pitching staff in today's environment would be essential. I have included both Dobnak and Chacín, who have been competing for a starting spot and assume that either the Twins will go with a six-man rotation or that one of Dobnak or Chacín will be a "long man" in the bullpen. I assumed that if the staff were expanded by three that the Twins would add a lefty, even though specialists will be minimized by the three-batter rule. Having an occasional different look could be helpful.
     
    The fight for the 13th position player is over--they both win. I had thought Astudillo's ability to make contact and play many positions would win out over Cave's general competency, but with an additional position player spot available, both make the team.
     
    As for the pitching staff, it is murkier. First of all, Rich Hill has stated he could be ready to pitch in June. Suddenly, he might miss only a couple weeks or perhaps no time at all. Michael Pineda has two-thirds of his sixty game suspension to serve. I would expect that his suspension is prorated, much as service time will be prorated. If the season is 100 games, his suspension would be 25 games. There is nothing official, but that is what I will go with. I am assuming that Hill won't quite be ready when the season starts and that Pineda will have at least three weeks of suspension to serve.
     
    I think the Twins have seen enough of Chacín to want to see a bit more. He may not survive the return of Pineda and debut of Hill, but I don't think the Twins want to give up on him quite yet. Dobnak has pitched the best in exhibition games of those competing for a spot and he was outstanding last year in his brief time with the Twins. Wisler and Stashak both make the bullpen and there still is room for a lefty. I picked Thielbar over the others--Barnes, Clay and Coulumbe all had some moments, but I think Thielbar has pitched better. Hardy just had TJ surgery so he is out for 2020.
     
    I think a 29-man roster demonstrates the depth that the Twins possess. In other years, all of the players mentioned would easily make the Opening Day roster and more would have a chance. I have not added Devin Smeltzer to the 29, but believe he could be an option to pitch several doubleheader games if that happens. I don't really see him as a reliever and he has an option to use, so if he were called on to pitch as a long man, he could be shuttled to Rochester this year.
  15. Like
    stringer bell got a reaction from nclahammer for a blog entry, Strange Times   
    I write this blog entry when I was expecting to do other things. I am in Fort Myers in 80 degree weather with just a hint of a breeze on a nice Thursday afternoon. What could be wrong? Well, actually, plenty.
     
    My significant other and I made plans for the rest of winter sometime in January. Because we had made an extended trip of the Christmas/New Year holidays and because we were planning a family gathering for the summer, we decided to stay in Minnesota for the rest of January and I decided I would stay in February until I could make it to spring training for my favorite baseball team. The plan was for me to drive to Florida by way of my daughter's residence in Indiana. I would be in Fort Myers by myself until she was on semester break and then we could enjoy a week together in Florida--baseball, beaches, warm weather--before driving back together so that she could be ready for college to start up again.
     
    Things often don't go as you plan them. The expensive ticket for her flight could now be purchased for pennies on the dollar. The Minnesota Twins and all of major league baseball have cancelled the remainder of spring training games. The Final Four won't happen, to quote a song "Broadway is dark tonight" and I would expect more cancellations going forward.
     
    This has brought me to think about what is important and what isn't. Having something like baseball to occupy my time is important. Filling that gap is essential. Having health is really crucial. I am thankful to be in good health at this time and I certainly don't want to get the coronavirus, even though it likely wouldn't effect me long term. Many people could die needlessly if measures aren't taken to diminish the acceleration of exposure. I'll do what I can to avoid getting the virus and spreading it to others.
     
    Oh yes. I did get to watch the future of the Minnesota Twins (IMHO). On Tuesday, in Clearwater, the starting lineup included Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, Brent Rooker and Royce Lewis. They all impressed me, particularly Lewis, who homered and made an outstanding defensive play at shortstop. If two or three of these prospects pan out, the pipeline will be intact and the Twins should be able to have a first-division lineup for most of the next decade.
     
    Today, before MLB's announcement suspending exhibition games, I watched Twins minor leaguers play. I saw Duran throwing absolute gas, Matt Wallner (big kid--6'5") looking good, but not making contact and I found out about a Twins prospect Seth Gray (4th round draft choice from Wright State) from his dad. I'll be a Gray fan now. Seems like a nice kid. Finally, as I was walking back to my car I saw a man walking over to a somewhat elderly guy wearing a Twins hat. Tony-O!. I waited until the conversation was over and asked Tony if I could take a picture. He said that we should make it a selfie, but that he couldn't sign autographs--bosses orders.
     
    I asked Tony how old he really was and he said something to the effect of "in America, I'm 81" with a chuckle. According to BB Reference, that is his correct age FWIW. I got back to my room excited about spending more days like today at the spring training complex, meeting icons and nice people from Twins Territory, and now it seems it is over almost before it started. Since I started writing this entry, Disneyland announced they were closing and March Madness was cancelled. This is serious stuff folks.
  16. Like
    stringer bell got a reaction from Craig Arko for a blog entry, Strange Times   
    I write this blog entry when I was expecting to do other things. I am in Fort Myers in 80 degree weather with just a hint of a breeze on a nice Thursday afternoon. What could be wrong? Well, actually, plenty.
     
    My significant other and I made plans for the rest of winter sometime in January. Because we had made an extended trip of the Christmas/New Year holidays and because we were planning a family gathering for the summer, we decided to stay in Minnesota for the rest of January and I decided I would stay in February until I could make it to spring training for my favorite baseball team. The plan was for me to drive to Florida by way of my daughter's residence in Indiana. I would be in Fort Myers by myself until she was on semester break and then we could enjoy a week together in Florida--baseball, beaches, warm weather--before driving back together so that she could be ready for college to start up again.
     
    Things often don't go as you plan them. The expensive ticket for her flight could now be purchased for pennies on the dollar. The Minnesota Twins and all of major league baseball have cancelled the remainder of spring training games. The Final Four won't happen, to quote a song "Broadway is dark tonight" and I would expect more cancellations going forward.
     
    This has brought me to think about what is important and what isn't. Having something like baseball to occupy my time is important. Filling that gap is essential. Having health is really crucial. I am thankful to be in good health at this time and I certainly don't want to get the coronavirus, even though it likely wouldn't effect me long term. Many people could die needlessly if measures aren't taken to diminish the acceleration of exposure. I'll do what I can to avoid getting the virus and spreading it to others.
     
    Oh yes. I did get to watch the future of the Minnesota Twins (IMHO). On Tuesday, in Clearwater, the starting lineup included Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, Brent Rooker and Royce Lewis. They all impressed me, particularly Lewis, who homered and made an outstanding defensive play at shortstop. If two or three of these prospects pan out, the pipeline will be intact and the Twins should be able to have a first-division lineup for most of the next decade.
     
    Today, before MLB's announcement suspending exhibition games, I watched Twins minor leaguers play. I saw Duran throwing absolute gas, Matt Wallner (big kid--6'5") looking good, but not making contact and I found out about a Twins prospect Seth Gray (4th round draft choice from Wright State) from his dad. I'll be a Gray fan now. Seems like a nice kid. Finally, as I was walking back to my car I saw a man walking over to a somewhat elderly guy wearing a Twins hat. Tony-O!. I waited until the conversation was over and asked Tony if I could take a picture. He said that we should make it a selfie, but that he couldn't sign autographs--bosses orders.
     
    I asked Tony how old he really was and he said something to the effect of "in America, I'm 81" with a chuckle. According to BB Reference, that is his correct age FWIW. I got back to my room excited about spending more days like today at the spring training complex, meeting icons and nice people from Twins Territory, and now it seems it is over almost before it started. Since I started writing this entry, Disneyland announced they were closing and March Madness was cancelled. This is serious stuff folks.
  17. Like
    stringer bell reacted to Thiéres Rabelo for a blog entry, Taylor Rogers Deserves to Be an All-Star   
    I think Taylor Rogers may have been the greatest Twin to be snubbed from anything since Joe Mauer didn’t get the 2017 Gold Glove. After earning the longest save from any Twins pitcher since 2000 yesterday against the Rangers (he retired all seven batters he faced) and becoming the pitcher with the most saves of three or more outs for the club this century, he made it clear once again that he’s definitely one of the best relievers in the game.
     
    If you look at the group of relievers that were invited to take part in the Midsummer Classic playing for the American League, it doesn’t seem so absurd that Rogers wasn’t there. Aroldis Chapman, Shane Greene, Brad Hand, Liam Hendriks and Ryan Pressly all have very similar stats, with most of them being better than Rogers’. The only one of them who has a worse ERA than the Twins star (now at 1.82) is Hand (with 2.17). Only Chapman (12.98) and Hand (13.26) are striking out more batters than him (11.57).
     
    So, if you think about it, it’s not absurd that he didn’t make the team. But it wouldn’t be absurd if he did either. He’s being at least as effective as the five of them. But Rogers has one difference which could give him the upperhand in a closer comparison with those pitchers. And I don’t think this angle would ever (or even should) be used to decide who an All Star will be. But it’s nice to look at it and have fun with the realization that the Twins have one of the best arms in the game.
     
    Going straight to the point: Rogers is used in more important situations than those guys and he is more responsible for his team’s wins than any reliever in the AL. Like we saw before, his overall numbers are very similar or even slightly worse than the All Star relievers. But when you look at high leverage situations, none of them are a match for Rogers.
     
     
    Talking about quantity, none of them was used in those situations as much as him. He pitched a total of 14 2/3 innings of high leverage, which currently ranks third in the AL. The AL All Star reliever who comes closest is Hand, who pitched 11 2/3. But the Indians pitcher posts a 6.17, whereas Rogers has a 3.07 ERA. The only AL pitcher who has pitched as many innings (15 1/3) and has a better ERA (2.35) than him is Houston’s Roberto Osuna.
     
     
    No other pitcher in the AL has been more responsible for his team’s wins than Rogers has. Currently, he leads all of them in Win Probability Added (WPA), with 2.56. The second AL pitcher in that rank is Chicago’s Álex Colomé, at 1.86, which is still better than the first of the 2019 All Star relievers, Hendriks, at 1.82. Superstar Yankee closer, Chapman doesn’t have even one third of Rogers’ WPA, standing at 0.62. So, it’s safe to say that it would have been absolutely fair if Rogers was chosen over any of the current AL All Star relievers.
     
     
    But now, I have something else to put up for discussion. Taylor is only 28 and, if he continues to pitch like that, I think nobody would have any objection to making him a Twin for the remainder of his career. So I should ask your opinion. Where in Twins history do you think Rogers could end up ranking at the end of his career? Does he have a shot at one day becoming one of the best relievers in club history?
     
     
    Well, to start, I did a quick research, using Fangraphs’ Splits Leaderboard tool. Currently, Taylor has a 1.82 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and is striking out 11.57 batters per nine. The season is only at its midpoint and these numbers could very well get worse. But, if the season ended today, this would be only the second time in Twins history that a reliever has up to 1.82 ERA, over 11 strikeouts per nine and a WHIP of 0.98 or lower. The only other time that happened was in 2006, when Joe Nathan posted 1.58 ERA, 0.79 WHIP and struck out 12.5 batters per nine. Let me repeat myself: that only happened one other time in club history.
     
     
    Nathan is the consensual choice any time someone asks who is the best reliever in Twins history. But interestingly enough, when you compare Rogers’ current career numbers and Nathan’s when he was 28, it gets scary. By the end of the 2002 season, when Nathan was still with the Giants, he had only one career save and -0.52 WPA. Rogers earned against the Rangers this Saturday his 14th career save and holds a 6.69 career WPA, which already ranks fourth in club history. Nathan has the lead with 24.55, but he didn’t throw a single pitch in a Twins uniform before he was 29.
     
     
    Another angle through which we can also speculate that Rogers can surpass Nathan in the competition for best reliever in Twins history are their Fangraphs’ Wins Above Replacement (fWAR). Rogers currently is currently worth 4.2 career fWAR, at age 28, in his fourth year as a Major League pitcher. At age 28, Nathan was worth -0.4 and after his fourth season in the Majors he was worth 0.8.
     
     
    So everytime this Colorado kid comes up to the mound this year, Twins fans should be extra grateful for the opportunity. Chances are we might be witnessing one of the greatest pitchers to ever play for Minnesota. Too bad All Star game won’t have this opportunity this year.
  18. Like
    stringer bell got a reaction from dbminn for a blog entry, Escobar and Gonzalez   
    Two 30-year-old natives of Venezuela, both switch-hitters, both came to the majors as shortstops who became utility players and were to become free agents at the end of the 2018 season. I was looking at Baseball Reference and thought I would compare the former Twin with the current Twin. I was surprised how similar their numbers were.
    https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/e/escobed01.shtml
    https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/g/gonzama01.shtml
     
    While they are very similar, there are differences. First of all, Gonzalez has remained a versatile defender, while Escobar has become a fixture at third base for his new club. Neither are spending appreciable time in the middle of the diamond, this year Escobar has played one game at second base and Gonzalez has played one game at shortstop. Gonzalez has started mostly at third, but with the return of Miguel Sanó, he's started multiple games at first, third, left and right field.
     
    Escobar has truly come into his own as a hitter. He hits in the middle of a good Arizona lineup and leads the National League in games, plate appearances and at-bats. So far, he is putting up numbers worthy of All-Star consideration. After an extremely slow start, Gonzalez has put up numbers in line with his career norms.
     
    It is intriguing to consider what might have happened if the Twins had somehow managed to retain Escobar. Would he have been able to have the role that Gonzalez is filling? Would the Twins then converted Sanó to first base and not acquired Cron? For what it's worth, it appears that this has worked out for all concerned.
  19. Like
    stringer bell got a reaction from KGB for a blog entry, Escobar and Gonzalez   
    Two 30-year-old natives of Venezuela, both switch-hitters, both came to the majors as shortstops who became utility players and were to become free agents at the end of the 2018 season. I was looking at Baseball Reference and thought I would compare the former Twin with the current Twin. I was surprised how similar their numbers were.
    https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/e/escobed01.shtml
    https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/g/gonzama01.shtml
     
    While they are very similar, there are differences. First of all, Gonzalez has remained a versatile defender, while Escobar has become a fixture at third base for his new club. Neither are spending appreciable time in the middle of the diamond, this year Escobar has played one game at second base and Gonzalez has played one game at shortstop. Gonzalez has started mostly at third, but with the return of Miguel Sanó, he's started multiple games at first, third, left and right field.
     
    Escobar has truly come into his own as a hitter. He hits in the middle of a good Arizona lineup and leads the National League in games, plate appearances and at-bats. So far, he is putting up numbers worthy of All-Star consideration. After an extremely slow start, Gonzalez has put up numbers in line with his career norms.
     
    It is intriguing to consider what might have happened if the Twins had somehow managed to retain Escobar. Would he have been able to have the role that Gonzalez is filling? Would the Twins then converted Sanó to first base and not acquired Cron? For what it's worth, it appears that this has worked out for all concerned.
  20. Like
    stringer bell got a reaction from Dman for a blog entry, Escobar and Gonzalez   
    Two 30-year-old natives of Venezuela, both switch-hitters, both came to the majors as shortstops who became utility players and were to become free agents at the end of the 2018 season. I was looking at Baseball Reference and thought I would compare the former Twin with the current Twin. I was surprised how similar their numbers were.
    https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/e/escobed01.shtml
    https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/g/gonzama01.shtml
     
    While they are very similar, there are differences. First of all, Gonzalez has remained a versatile defender, while Escobar has become a fixture at third base for his new club. Neither are spending appreciable time in the middle of the diamond, this year Escobar has played one game at second base and Gonzalez has played one game at shortstop. Gonzalez has started mostly at third, but with the return of Miguel Sanó, he's started multiple games at first, third, left and right field.
     
    Escobar has truly come into his own as a hitter. He hits in the middle of a good Arizona lineup and leads the National League in games, plate appearances and at-bats. So far, he is putting up numbers worthy of All-Star consideration. After an extremely slow start, Gonzalez has put up numbers in line with his career norms.
     
    It is intriguing to consider what might have happened if the Twins had somehow managed to retain Escobar. Would he have been able to have the role that Gonzalez is filling? Would the Twins then converted Sanó to first base and not acquired Cron? For what it's worth, it appears that this has worked out for all concerned.
  21. Like
    stringer bell got a reaction from Channing1964 for a blog entry, Miguel Sanó--Hitter and Fielder   
    With the announcement that Nelson Cruz suffered a wrist injury yesterday, my immediate thought was who would replace him in the lineup and on the roster if he had to go on the injured list. It would appear to me that the answer is the much-discussed Miguel Sanó, who is on his third and last stop in his rehab program.
     
    Much has been written about Sanó. I wish to confine this discussion to the ballplayer between the lines. The other stuff has been beaten to death IMHO. What will the Twins get when a healthy Sanó is on the active roster?
     
    Sanó came up to the big leagues with much hype in 2015. He was going to be the power hitter the Twins hadn't had since Harmon Killebrew. Another comparison, because of size, was Frank Thomas. Sanó's rookie year was excellent. Despite being called up only at midseason, he was a contender for Rookie-of-the-Year. His traditional state line--.269 BA, 18 homers, 52 RBI was very good. Double the homers and RBIs for a full season, and there is a perennial All-Star, future Hall of Famer. Plus, he was only 22 years of age. A deeper look at his rookie stats was probably even more encouraging, while Miguel struck out over 100 times (in a half season), he also walked more than 50 times, giving him a solid OBP of .385. His OPS was a stellar .916 which yielded an OPS+ of 149. After a minor injury, Miguel only played 11 games in the field, so we couldn't be sure about his defense. For his superior half-season of work, Miguel Sanó was voted the Twins' Player of the Year.
     
    2016 started with Sanó installed as the new right fielder. He was never competent or comfortable there and it seemed to affect his hitting. After a month and a half of futility in right field, Miguel moved back to third to demonstrate a rocket arm, but less-than-soft hands. His metrics at third came in below average, but at least he could hit. Well, the hitting didn't go as well either. Sanó ended up playing in 116 game, having an OPS of .781 with 19 homers and 51 RBI as the Twins flailed and failed and lost over 100 games. Sanó missed over 30 games due to injuries. Again, a deeper look into Sanó's numbers is a mixed bag. In 160 additional plate appearances, Sanó only hit one more homer than 2015, his walk rate plummeted while his strikeout rate stayed basically steady. The batting average ended at .236 and his OBP fell to.319.
     
    Sanó was a deserved All-Star in 2017. He came to camp as the third baseman, healthy and came out of the gate on fire. His first-half stats were outstanding--.276, 21 homers, 62 RBI and his defense at third was satisfactory. The strikeout rate remained about the same (35%), but he also walked 44 times, a big improvement over 2016 and the OBP was .368 at the break.
     
    Since the 2017 All-Star break, Miguel Sanó hasn't been very good. The combined numbers from the second half of '17 and 2018 are .211 BA, 20 homers, 56 RBI. OBP at .292, slugging .408, with an OPS of .700. The walk rate is below 10% and the strikeout rate is 38%. These are not future Hall-of-Fame numbers. They aren't even starter numbers. In addition, according to metrics (and my eyes) Sanó remains a below-average third baseman, despite a plus-plus arm.
     
    To summarize this rather elongated prologue, Sanó's on-field performance has been a roller coaster. He started looking like one of the brightest stars, faded, came back to that level again and faded again. Does this up-and-down have to do with injuries? Certainly. The point here is to suggest that the Twins shouldn't be counting on Sanófor too much. Expectations of another Frank Thomas or Miguel Cabrera should be tempered by now. I think they should expect more than they gotten since the All-Star break of 2017. They should get more than Mark Reynolds-like production. If the strikeouts keep coming and the homers are too infrequent, he can still be optioned. This club looks like at least a contender for postseason. If that is the case, they shouldn't be playing guys based on potential or upside.
     
    Miguel Sanó is at a crossroads in his career (in my opinion). He soon will have a chance to step on stage with a good team and help them make postseason, and maybe have success there. He's now 26 and shouldn't be judged on what he might do, he should be judged by how he is actually performing on the field.As a Twins fan and a baseball fan, I hope he can find his earlier success. As someone who has seen a lot of hyped players come and go, I am a bit skeptical.
  22. Like
    stringer bell got a reaction from Blake for a blog entry, Miguel Sanó--Hitter and Fielder   
    With the announcement that Nelson Cruz suffered a wrist injury yesterday, my immediate thought was who would replace him in the lineup and on the roster if he had to go on the injured list. It would appear to me that the answer is the much-discussed Miguel Sanó, who is on his third and last stop in his rehab program.
     
    Much has been written about Sanó. I wish to confine this discussion to the ballplayer between the lines. The other stuff has been beaten to death IMHO. What will the Twins get when a healthy Sanó is on the active roster?
     
    Sanó came up to the big leagues with much hype in 2015. He was going to be the power hitter the Twins hadn't had since Harmon Killebrew. Another comparison, because of size, was Frank Thomas. Sanó's rookie year was excellent. Despite being called up only at midseason, he was a contender for Rookie-of-the-Year. His traditional state line--.269 BA, 18 homers, 52 RBI was very good. Double the homers and RBIs for a full season, and there is a perennial All-Star, future Hall of Famer. Plus, he was only 22 years of age. A deeper look at his rookie stats was probably even more encouraging, while Miguel struck out over 100 times (in a half season), he also walked more than 50 times, giving him a solid OBP of .385. His OPS was a stellar .916 which yielded an OPS+ of 149. After a minor injury, Miguel only played 11 games in the field, so we couldn't be sure about his defense. For his superior half-season of work, Miguel Sanó was voted the Twins' Player of the Year.
     
    2016 started with Sanó installed as the new right fielder. He was never competent or comfortable there and it seemed to affect his hitting. After a month and a half of futility in right field, Miguel moved back to third to demonstrate a rocket arm, but less-than-soft hands. His metrics at third came in below average, but at least he could hit. Well, the hitting didn't go as well either. Sanó ended up playing in 116 game, having an OPS of .781 with 19 homers and 51 RBI as the Twins flailed and failed and lost over 100 games. Sanó missed over 30 games due to injuries. Again, a deeper look into Sanó's numbers is a mixed bag. In 160 additional plate appearances, Sanó only hit one more homer than 2015, his walk rate plummeted while his strikeout rate stayed basically steady. The batting average ended at .236 and his OBP fell to.319.
     
    Sanó was a deserved All-Star in 2017. He came to camp as the third baseman, healthy and came out of the gate on fire. His first-half stats were outstanding--.276, 21 homers, 62 RBI and his defense at third was satisfactory. The strikeout rate remained about the same (35%), but he also walked 44 times, a big improvement over 2016 and the OBP was .368 at the break.
     
    Since the 2017 All-Star break, Miguel Sanó hasn't been very good. The combined numbers from the second half of '17 and 2018 are .211 BA, 20 homers, 56 RBI. OBP at .292, slugging .408, with an OPS of .700. The walk rate is below 10% and the strikeout rate is 38%. These are not future Hall-of-Fame numbers. They aren't even starter numbers. In addition, according to metrics (and my eyes) Sanó remains a below-average third baseman, despite a plus-plus arm.
     
    To summarize this rather elongated prologue, Sanó's on-field performance has been a roller coaster. He started looking like one of the brightest stars, faded, came back to that level again and faded again. Does this up-and-down have to do with injuries? Certainly. The point here is to suggest that the Twins shouldn't be counting on Sanófor too much. Expectations of another Frank Thomas or Miguel Cabrera should be tempered by now. I think they should expect more than they gotten since the All-Star break of 2017. They should get more than Mark Reynolds-like production. If the strikeouts keep coming and the homers are too infrequent, he can still be optioned. This club looks like at least a contender for postseason. If that is the case, they shouldn't be playing guys based on potential or upside.
     
    Miguel Sanó is at a crossroads in his career (in my opinion). He soon will have a chance to step on stage with a good team and help them make postseason, and maybe have success there. He's now 26 and shouldn't be judged on what he might do, he should be judged by how he is actually performing on the field.As a Twins fan and a baseball fan, I hope he can find his earlier success. As someone who has seen a lot of hyped players come and go, I am a bit skeptical.
  23. Like
    stringer bell got a reaction from dbminn for a blog entry, Miguel Sanó--Hitter and Fielder   
    With the announcement that Nelson Cruz suffered a wrist injury yesterday, my immediate thought was who would replace him in the lineup and on the roster if he had to go on the injured list. It would appear to me that the answer is the much-discussed Miguel Sanó, who is on his third and last stop in his rehab program.
     
    Much has been written about Sanó. I wish to confine this discussion to the ballplayer between the lines. The other stuff has been beaten to death IMHO. What will the Twins get when a healthy Sanó is on the active roster?
     
    Sanó came up to the big leagues with much hype in 2015. He was going to be the power hitter the Twins hadn't had since Harmon Killebrew. Another comparison, because of size, was Frank Thomas. Sanó's rookie year was excellent. Despite being called up only at midseason, he was a contender for Rookie-of-the-Year. His traditional state line--.269 BA, 18 homers, 52 RBI was very good. Double the homers and RBIs for a full season, and there is a perennial All-Star, future Hall of Famer. Plus, he was only 22 years of age. A deeper look at his rookie stats was probably even more encouraging, while Miguel struck out over 100 times (in a half season), he also walked more than 50 times, giving him a solid OBP of .385. His OPS was a stellar .916 which yielded an OPS+ of 149. After a minor injury, Miguel only played 11 games in the field, so we couldn't be sure about his defense. For his superior half-season of work, Miguel Sanó was voted the Twins' Player of the Year.
     
    2016 started with Sanó installed as the new right fielder. He was never competent or comfortable there and it seemed to affect his hitting. After a month and a half of futility in right field, Miguel moved back to third to demonstrate a rocket arm, but less-than-soft hands. His metrics at third came in below average, but at least he could hit. Well, the hitting didn't go as well either. Sanó ended up playing in 116 game, having an OPS of .781 with 19 homers and 51 RBI as the Twins flailed and failed and lost over 100 games. Sanó missed over 30 games due to injuries. Again, a deeper look into Sanó's numbers is a mixed bag. In 160 additional plate appearances, Sanó only hit one more homer than 2015, his walk rate plummeted while his strikeout rate stayed basically steady. The batting average ended at .236 and his OBP fell to.319.
     
    Sanó was a deserved All-Star in 2017. He came to camp as the third baseman, healthy and came out of the gate on fire. His first-half stats were outstanding--.276, 21 homers, 62 RBI and his defense at third was satisfactory. The strikeout rate remained about the same (35%), but he also walked 44 times, a big improvement over 2016 and the OBP was .368 at the break.
     
    Since the 2017 All-Star break, Miguel Sanó hasn't been very good. The combined numbers from the second half of '17 and 2018 are .211 BA, 20 homers, 56 RBI. OBP at .292, slugging .408, with an OPS of .700. The walk rate is below 10% and the strikeout rate is 38%. These are not future Hall-of-Fame numbers. They aren't even starter numbers. In addition, according to metrics (and my eyes) Sanó remains a below-average third baseman, despite a plus-plus arm.
     
    To summarize this rather elongated prologue, Sanó's on-field performance has been a roller coaster. He started looking like one of the brightest stars, faded, came back to that level again and faded again. Does this up-and-down have to do with injuries? Certainly. The point here is to suggest that the Twins shouldn't be counting on Sanófor too much. Expectations of another Frank Thomas or Miguel Cabrera should be tempered by now. I think they should expect more than they gotten since the All-Star break of 2017. They should get more than Mark Reynolds-like production. If the strikeouts keep coming and the homers are too infrequent, he can still be optioned. This club looks like at least a contender for postseason. If that is the case, they shouldn't be playing guys based on potential or upside.
     
    Miguel Sanó is at a crossroads in his career (in my opinion). He soon will have a chance to step on stage with a good team and help them make postseason, and maybe have success there. He's now 26 and shouldn't be judged on what he might do, he should be judged by how he is actually performing on the field.As a Twins fan and a baseball fan, I hope he can find his earlier success. As someone who has seen a lot of hyped players come and go, I am a bit skeptical.
  24. Like
    stringer bell got a reaction from hybridbear for a blog entry, Miguel Sanó--Hitter and Fielder   
    With the announcement that Nelson Cruz suffered a wrist injury yesterday, my immediate thought was who would replace him in the lineup and on the roster if he had to go on the injured list. It would appear to me that the answer is the much-discussed Miguel Sanó, who is on his third and last stop in his rehab program.
     
    Much has been written about Sanó. I wish to confine this discussion to the ballplayer between the lines. The other stuff has been beaten to death IMHO. What will the Twins get when a healthy Sanó is on the active roster?
     
    Sanó came up to the big leagues with much hype in 2015. He was going to be the power hitter the Twins hadn't had since Harmon Killebrew. Another comparison, because of size, was Frank Thomas. Sanó's rookie year was excellent. Despite being called up only at midseason, he was a contender for Rookie-of-the-Year. His traditional state line--.269 BA, 18 homers, 52 RBI was very good. Double the homers and RBIs for a full season, and there is a perennial All-Star, future Hall of Famer. Plus, he was only 22 years of age. A deeper look at his rookie stats was probably even more encouraging, while Miguel struck out over 100 times (in a half season), he also walked more than 50 times, giving him a solid OBP of .385. His OPS was a stellar .916 which yielded an OPS+ of 149. After a minor injury, Miguel only played 11 games in the field, so we couldn't be sure about his defense. For his superior half-season of work, Miguel Sanó was voted the Twins' Player of the Year.
     
    2016 started with Sanó installed as the new right fielder. He was never competent or comfortable there and it seemed to affect his hitting. After a month and a half of futility in right field, Miguel moved back to third to demonstrate a rocket arm, but less-than-soft hands. His metrics at third came in below average, but at least he could hit. Well, the hitting didn't go as well either. Sanó ended up playing in 116 game, having an OPS of .781 with 19 homers and 51 RBI as the Twins flailed and failed and lost over 100 games. Sanó missed over 30 games due to injuries. Again, a deeper look into Sanó's numbers is a mixed bag. In 160 additional plate appearances, Sanó only hit one more homer than 2015, his walk rate plummeted while his strikeout rate stayed basically steady. The batting average ended at .236 and his OBP fell to.319.
     
    Sanó was a deserved All-Star in 2017. He came to camp as the third baseman, healthy and came out of the gate on fire. His first-half stats were outstanding--.276, 21 homers, 62 RBI and his defense at third was satisfactory. The strikeout rate remained about the same (35%), but he also walked 44 times, a big improvement over 2016 and the OBP was .368 at the break.
     
    Since the 2017 All-Star break, Miguel Sanó hasn't been very good. The combined numbers from the second half of '17 and 2018 are .211 BA, 20 homers, 56 RBI. OBP at .292, slugging .408, with an OPS of .700. The walk rate is below 10% and the strikeout rate is 38%. These are not future Hall-of-Fame numbers. They aren't even starter numbers. In addition, according to metrics (and my eyes) Sanó remains a below-average third baseman, despite a plus-plus arm.
     
    To summarize this rather elongated prologue, Sanó's on-field performance has been a roller coaster. He started looking like one of the brightest stars, faded, came back to that level again and faded again. Does this up-and-down have to do with injuries? Certainly. The point here is to suggest that the Twins shouldn't be counting on Sanófor too much. Expectations of another Frank Thomas or Miguel Cabrera should be tempered by now. I think they should expect more than they gotten since the All-Star break of 2017. They should get more than Mark Reynolds-like production. If the strikeouts keep coming and the homers are too infrequent, he can still be optioned. This club looks like at least a contender for postseason. If that is the case, they shouldn't be playing guys based on potential or upside.
     
    Miguel Sanó is at a crossroads in his career (in my opinion). He soon will have a chance to step on stage with a good team and help them make postseason, and maybe have success there. He's now 26 and shouldn't be judged on what he might do, he should be judged by how he is actually performing on the field.As a Twins fan and a baseball fan, I hope he can find his earlier success. As someone who has seen a lot of hyped players come and go, I am a bit skeptical.
  25. Like
    stringer bell got a reaction from nclahammer for a blog entry, A Great Start to 2019   
    Here we are on May 9th and the Twins have the best record in Major League Baseball. They have had some low moments, but mostly everything has gone as well as, or better than, expected. Chatter about the Twins has been positive, especially after dominating a bad Baltimore team and then winning a series (and the season series) against the Houston Astros. A 4-2 road trip, including a dominant sweep in Toronto have put the Twins a season-high 11 games over .500.
     
    I doubt everything will continue to come up roses for the Twins, it never does. They will suffer injuries and players will slump or disappoint. Even in the best of years, these things happen. However, it appears that in most respects, the team assembled by the relatively new executive team of Falvey and Levine is set up well to handle struggles and snags when they occur.
     
    Let's look at what has transpired in the mostly cold and wet months of April and early May. With the exception of Miguel Sanó, the offense has been healthy and rolling. The Twins are in the top tier in the league for run-scoring, home runs, slugging and OPS. They don't walk much (most of the lineup is comprised of aggressive hitters), but they don't strike out much, relative to the rest of the league. The Twins are averaging well over five runs a game, playing many games in poor weather conditions. They appear set to challenge team records in runs scored and home runs this year. The power is well-distributed, with most of the regular lineup already hitting six or more homers. They have endured slumps from regulars and a slow start from Marwin Gonzalez (who has essentially replaced Sanó) without suffering much on the scoreboard.
     
    Pitching has been a surprise. The team is in the top half of many key pitching stats, including runs per game, quality starts, shutouts, innings pitched by starters, and opponent's batting average. Three of the five starters have been outstanding, with a fourth (Kyle Gibson) rounding into form in recent starts. The starters good work has taken pressure off of the bullpen. The bullpen hasn't been spotless, but they've gotten the job done. The late-inning quartet of May, Hildenberger, Rogers and Parker has been satisfactory, if not dominating.
     
    Defensively, the team is also doing very well. New acquisitions Gonzalez, Schoop and Crom have all played well in the field and the team has mostly been able to keep it's regular outfielders on the field, all of whom are plus defenders.
     
    Individual performances of note include José Berríos ascending to ace or near ace status. Jorge Polanco playing good defense and breaking out with the bat, Martín Pérez finding a few mph on his fastball and coming up with a cut fastball to (so far) become an outstanding rotation piece. The catching duo of Mitch Garver and Jason Castro (with a few appearances by Willians Astudillo) has been outstanding with the bat and has been given credit for helping the pitching improve. On the negative side, Marwin Gonzalez hasn't hit much, new rotation member Michael Pineda has struggled mightily in his last four starts and several relievers at the front end of the bullpen have had trouble getting people out. Many more players have stepped it up beyond those mentioned. Basically, the good play to this point has been a team effort.
     
    Can this run continue? Well, I think the competition changes with many more games against familiar opponents in the Central Division--three of those teams (KC, Chicago and Detroit) are in one stage or the other of rebuilding--so the schedule figures to be somewhat more favorable. I doubt the Twins can keep hitting so many homers (they are on a pace to hit almost 300!) and I also doubt the pitching will continue to be dominant, but there is no doubt that they are improved.
     
    I think the need going forward this year is adding pitching. A starter to perhaps supplant Pineda and a strong bullpen arm would be helpful and when injuries happen, such improvements might be vital. The Twins are now considered favorites to win the Central, but they need to keep doing what they're doing.
     
    Credit for this improvement should be given to Falvey and Levine, who also hired rookie manager Rocco Baldelli. They've shown they pay attention to the metrics that are part of the game now and made good decisions in putting together a team for today without breaking the bank or mortgaging the future. There's a long way to go, but the ride this year promises to be fun and it might be magical.
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