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  1. Like
    Oldgoat_MN reacted to Brandon Peddycoart for a blog entry, Perez and Saints Walked-off Columbus 8-7 in 10   
    Saint Paul, Minnesota - For the second time this week nine innings was not enough to decide the game between the Saints and Columbus Clippers. On Thursday it took ten. In the 10th Hernan Perez delivered a walk-off single for the Saints in an 8-7 win in front of 6,066 fans. The Saints improved to 75-53 on the season. 
    The Saints fell behind early. In the first, Jose Tena hit a solo home run, which gave Columbus a 1-0 lead. Later in the inning, Johnathan Rodriguez was hit-by-the-pitch. Next, Jhonkensy Noel reached on a throwing error from Saints shortstop Brooks Lee. This error turned out to be costly. A good throw would have ended the inning. Instead, George Valera came to the plate with two outs. Valera hit his seventh home run of the season, which gave Columbus a 4-0 lead.
    The Saints chipped away starting in the third. Chris Williams hit his 20th home run of the season. The Saints are down 4-1 at the end of three. 
    Each team scored a run in the fourth. Columbus had back-to-back doubles from Zack Collins and Daniel Schneemann. For the Saints, Trevor Larnach led off the inning with a double. Next, Anthony Prato flew out to right, but Larnach tagged and advanced to third. Finally, DaShawn Keirsey Jr. grounded out to second, but Larnach scored, and the Saints trailed 5-2. 
    The breakthrough inning for the Saints was the sixth. Alex Kirilloff (MLB Rehab Assignment) doubled to start the inning. Later in the inning, Larnach doubled, which brought home Kirilloff. Prato walked and Keirsey Jr. singled to load the bases. With the bases loaded and one out Jair Camargo stepped to the plate. Camargo grounded out to pitcher Zack Plesac; however, Plesac bobbled the ball and was unable to turn a double play. This allowed Larnach to score. The Saints were not done yet. With two outs, Hernan Perez hit his ninth home run of the season. This was a three-run home run to center, and the Saints took a 7-5 lead. That ended the night for Plesac. Plesac worked 5.2 innings and allowed seven runs on nine hits. Nic Enright entered the game and struck out Chris Williams to end the inning. At the end of six the Saints had a 7-5 lead. 
    Andrew Bechtold came into the game to pitch the seventh for the Saints. Bechtold allowed two runs. Raynel Delgado singled and stole second base. Next, Brayan Rocchio singled and the Clippers had runners at the corners. Jose Tena hit a sacrifice fly to center, which allowed Delgado to score. On a wild pitch from Bechtold, Rocchio scored, and the game was tied at seven. 
    The game would stay like that until the tenth. Columbus was unable to push the inherited runner across in the top half of the inning. The Saints were able to capitalize. Lee started the inning at second base. Columbus got two quick outs when Larnach struck out and Prato grounded out. Next, Cade Smith intentionally walked Keirsey Jr. and Jair Camargo worked a walk. Perez had the bases loaded with two outs when he stepped to the plate. Perez singled to right, which brought home Lee, and the Saints won 8-7 in ten innings. 
    Francis Peguero was called up from Double-A Wichita on August 22nd. Peguero started for the Saints on Thursday night. He worked two innings and allowed four runs (one earned) on four hits. Louie Varland worked the bulk of the game. Varland pitched four innings and allowed one run on three hits. Michael Boyle picked up his fourth win of the season for the Saints working the final three innings. 
    The Columbus Clippers and St. Paul Saints meet in game four of a six-game series on Friday night at CHS Field. First pitch is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. Columbus will send RHP Chris Vallimont (3-6, 5.50) to the mound while the Saints will counter with RHP Simeon Woods Richardson (5-6, 5.38). The game can be seen on the Saints Broadcast Network, MiLB.TV, and heard on KFAN Plus, 96.7 FM.
  2. Like
    Oldgoat_MN reacted to John Clinger for a blog entry, Balls, Bats and Bases: St. Paul Saints Style   
    Another Day, Another Slam in Saints’ Trip to Louisville
    2023 Season: Game 133-138 Recaps – Game Dates September 5-10, 2023
    Note: The Saints began the week three games out of a potential triple-A International League playoff spot with 18 games remaining as they opened a 6-game series in Louisville against the Bats. Game times this week are 5:35 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 6:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 12:05 p.m. Sunday.
    St. Paul Saints 13, Louisville Bats 8
    Wednesday, Sept. 6
    It was Trevor Larnach tonight (Wednesday) as the Saints hit another grand slam home run to defeat the Bats, 13-3, and take a 2-0 lead in the 6-game road series.
    After the Saints squandered a big lead to go from leading, 6-2, to trailing, 8-6, the local lads scored 7 in the top of the 9th on an RBI single by Helman, a 2-run double by major league rehabber Kirilloff, and Larnach’s blast.
    St. Paul also got a 4-bagger from Helman and one by Larnach, his first of 2. They needed all those runs because three Saints relievers surrendered that 6-2 lead by giving up 5 runs in the bottom of the 8th, including a grand salami by the Bats. Louisville kept plenty of men on base thanks to 11 walks by Saints pitchers. Starting pitcher Festa had a 2-0 lead when he left the game after 3 innings. Festa allowed 3 hits and walked 6 batters while striking out another half-dozen Bats batsmen.
    Larnach’s grand slam, the first of his career, was the Saints’ 13th of the season, the most in professional baseball at any level.
    The Saints are still 3 games behind in the race for a playoff spot in triple-A International League playoffs because 4 of the 5 teams ahead of them also won tonight.
    St. Paul Saints 11, Louisville Bats 3
    Tuesday, Sept. 5
    Brooks Lee, the No. 2 prospect in the Twins organization, smashed a 415-foot grand slam to left-center field to help the Saints end a 3-game losing streak with an 11-3 win over the Louisville Bats. But the standings deficit stayed at 3 games with 5 teams ahead of them.
    The Saints also got a 3-run double from Helman, who played his first game since a shoulder injury May 11, and a 2-run homer from Severino. Severino’s second roundtripper as a Saint gave him 30 for the minor league season (28 at double-A Wichita), only the eighth player to hit 30 at any level of the minors.
    Note: The 12 grand slams for the Saints this year are the most at any level of American baseball.
    The Saints pitched by committee again -- with Enlow pitching the first three innings and McMahon, Schulfer, Balazovic and Brice chipping in – and scattered 9 singles while striking out 8 Bats batsmen.
    How to Hear and See the Saints
    All games on KFAN Plus (96.7 FM), I-Heart app, MiLB.TV, Bally app (Apple only); home games on local television public programming (consult your TV listings); Saturday and Sunday home games televised on WUCW (The CW Network).
    Go to gzrnetwork.com to receive my blog after every Saints game.
  3. Like
    Oldgoat_MN reacted to arby58 for a blog entry, Greatest Twins Individual Offensive Season Ever?   
    The Twins arrived in Minnesota in 1960, and I have been a close follower since about 1967.  As a kid, I was a huge Harmon Killebrew fan and attended many games where his home runs were the highlight of the day. I also got to see one of the great on-base hitting machines of that era, Rod Carew. They were far different players, but they produced, in my opinion, the two greatest offensive seasons in Twins history, and both were named American League MVP for them - Killebrew in 1969, and Carew in 1977.
    What is interesting about those two seasons is how different they were, in terms of the statistics where they excelled - and yet how close they came in a statistic that I believe captures the value of both getting on base and doing it in an impactful way - OPS. For comparison purposes, those grand seasons result in what is, statistically speaking, pretty much a dead heat: Carew's OPS was 1.019, and Killebrew's was 1.011.
    So, who had the better season? Carew put up an other-worldly batting average - .388. He also led the league - by a mile - in runs scored, with 128. Unlike most years, he also drove in 100 runs and hit 14 home runs. His .570 slugging percentage was, by far the best of his career. He also had an incredible OPS+ of 178. 
    The MVP balloting was interesting: Carew was first on only 12 of 28 ballots. Second was Al Cowens of KC, who had an OPS of .885 and scored 30 less runs while hitting .312 with 23 HR and 112 RBI. He got 4 first place votes - how that is even possible must relate to the fact that the Royals won 102 games, the most in the AL that year. The smattering of other first place votes suggests to me that the voters still favored 'headline stats' like HR and RBI, even in the face of clearly superior overall results.
    As for Killebrew, he never hit for average like Carew. In fact, his highest batting average in a full season was .288. However, he did hit 573 home runs and drove in 1,584 RBI. It is notable that his lifetime OPS was .884, and his OPS+ 143. Carew's numbers were .822 and 131.  That said, this isn't about career, it is about the year.
    In 1969, Killebrew tied his career mark in HRs with 49 and set his mark with 140 RBIs. What set the season apart was the fact he also drew a league leading 145 walks. Even though his batting average was just .276, he had a .427 OBP. It wasn't Carew's .449, but it wasn't that far off.
    Killebrew was a much more clear-cut winner for the AL MVP that year, with 16 first place votes, while the second place finisher, Boog Powell, had 6. It's notable that the 1969 Orioles won 109 games and their division, while the Twins won 97 and their division - and the Orioles dispatched the Twins in three straight before losing the World Series in 5 games to the Mets.
    I have a hard time choosing between the two. Carew was a hit or two everyday, and that year his hits were more impactful than most years. Killebrew hit home runs and drove in runs at the highest level, and he also got on base a lot. That said, Carew still had a (slightly) higher OPS. I watched both seasons very closely. I think Carew's flirting with .400 - in a way that hasn't really been challenged since - gives him a slight nod here. That said, it is very slight. 
  4. Like
    Oldgoat_MN reacted to terrydactyls for a blog entry, Understatement of the Year   
    Today on Power Alley (MLB Radio), the announcers were discussing the Twins-Brewers game tonight (Wed, Aug 23).  Corbin Burnes is the Milwaukee pitcher and he has been striking out batters at a very high rate  One announcer said that it would be an interesting matchup because:
    "The Twins have been a little prone to striking out lately."
    A little prone?  Lately?
  5. Like
    Oldgoat_MN reacted to jishfish for a blog entry, Twins/Pirates Draft Trade - Chaos   
    I want to begin by emphasizing the point that there is less than a 0.01% chance of this ever happening, but reading Kiley McDaniel's mock draft the other day and his mention of "chaotic vibe" got me thinking about a scenario that would qualify as "Willi Castro-level chaos".
    I want to be clear that this is not something I personally would want to see the Twins do. I think the clear and obvious choice should be to draft and develop whatever top 5 talent drops to them. But if that's not something they are interested in doing, I think this is a unique way to capitalize on that picks value.
    Let's layout some assumptions for this scenario.
    There is a consensus Top 5 in this year's draft, all of whom are of a talent level that would be in consideration at #1 overall most years.  The Twins may not be interested in all 5 of those players: They are most interested in Crews/Langford, but in talking with teams/agents leading up to the draft, neither of them is going to make it to #5.  Their draft models value hitters over pitchers, and they wouldn't be willing to take Paul Skenes at #5. The are looking for more immediate impact than a HS draftee could provide, and they wouldn't be willing to take Max Clark or Walker Jenkins at #5. The draft plays out the same exact way as Kiley's mock draft (Clark--> Crews--> Langford--> Jenkins--> Skenes) The Twins Front Office is starting to feel the heat and have decided 'Screw building for the future, we've lost 18 straight playoff games, no more', and are willing to go to some unconventional measures to improve this team at the trade deadline. All players mentioned from here on out will continue to perform at their current All-Star caliber level and remain healthy. Based on the above, what if the Twins approached the Pirates on Draft Weekend and gave them the option to walk away with two of the top five talents in this class?
    The Trade: Mitch Keller + David Bednar for Twins #5 Overall Pick
    Now I know what you're thinking. I can hear you screaming at your computer right now. "You idiot! You can't trade draft picks!". Yup, I know and am aware of that, I promise. You can trade PTBNL however, which is our little loophole to bring this back to reality. Obviously the Twins can't just send the #5 pick and associated bonus pool money to the Pirates. But taking a page out of the 2014 Padres book, they could make a deal with whomever the draft at #5 overall on a list of possible Players To Be Named Later, which would send that prospect over to the Pirates immediately after the World Series.
    Why would the Pirates consider doing this?
    The Pirates have been a nice story to start the year, but I don't think they (or anyone else) really believe they're close to contending. They're in this for the long run, and getting two top 5 talents in a generational draft would be a great way to do that. If this were agreed upon pre-draft, it opens up some really interesting possibilities for them to get creative. Assuming the word leading up to the draft is that neither of the College OF will be available at 5, that leaves Skenes/Jenkins/Clark as the three options. None of whom the Twins want long-term, but all of whom hold immense trade value. The Pirates lean into Kiley's "chaos scenario" and take Max Clark #1 overall because he will take the biggest discount, thereby allowing them to float a first round talent down to their second round pick. Assuming the draft plays out as assumed above, that would leave the Pirates walking away with Clark + Skenes + [Insert additional first round talent]. Why would the Twins consider doing this?
    Assuming the two College OF's they really want will not be available at #5, this gives the Twins a chance to capitalize on the trade value of one of the talents they aren't as interested in. The assumption here is that both Keller and Bednar will remain healthy and continue pitching at the level they have been. That means a sub-3.00 era, top of the rotation level for Keller, and A low-2's era, shutdown level closer for Bedner. Keller comes with 2.5 years of team control along with 3.5 years of control for Bednar, so you're essentially trading for the same amount of team control as you would get with the #5 pick. The Twins would go into the post-season with a top-3 rotation (Gray/Ryan/Lopez/Keller), plus a lights out bullpen duo in Bednar/Duran. I know the pitching hasn't exactly been the problem this year like it has in years past, but perhaps they choose to just lean into it being a strength and assume some of the bats will turn things around to be at least a league average offense. While the perception of this trade would be "The Twins traded Paul Skenes for Keller/Bednar", the reality would be that they chose Keller/Bednar > Jacob Gonzalez/[Insert second tier college hitter]. Again, the assumption is (right or wrong) the Twins would not be willing to use their pick on Skenes/Clark/Jenkins, instead preferring a college bat.  
    Is this something I would want the Twins to do or be excited about the Twins doing? No. I think they were gifted a Top 5 pick in a draft with 5 top tier players, and to waste that by taking someone besides one of those players would be stupid and a fire-able offense. But if some of what has been leaking out is based in reality, I would rather see them utilize that pick value like this, rather than squandering it on a Jacob Gonzalez or Jacob Wilson-level player.
    Would love to hear peoples thoughts and reactions if you have any! All I ask is that you consider the assumptions/scenario I laid out. This is all hypothetical and has absolutely 0% chance of ever happening, but I thought it was a unique idea and wanted to take some time to write it all out to see what it would look like.
  6. Like
    Oldgoat_MN reacted to SportsGuyDalton for a blog entry, Spring Training Winners and Losers   
    After a long, harsh Minnesota winter, Spring Training offers and a glimpse of green grass and the hope of a successful Twins season. The Twins’ time in Florida is like any trip to the Sunshine State—some visitors leave with a golden tan, others depart with bad sunburn. As the team prepares to head north, here are my winners and losers from the Twins’ Spring Training. Let’s start with the guys who got burned.
    1. Kenta Maeda
    Spring Training stats should never weigh heavily in player evaluations, but when a veteran pitcher like Maeda returns from 19 months of Tommy John rehab, his performance will be scrutinized. Despite a solid outing today, Maeda’s spring has been mediocre. He has posted a 4.91 ERA in 14.2 innings, issuing 10 walks, striking out 14 batters, and showing inconsistent fastball velocity. These numbers aren’t awful, yet with Bailey Ober, Louie Varland, and Simeon Woods-Richardson all seeking a spot in the rotation, Maeda’s grasp of the fifth starter role grows looser. King Kenta will need to regain his pre-injury form quickly or risk being relegated to a diminished role.
    2. Trevor Megill
    Megill’s arm talent is undeniable. His fastball consistently touches 100 MPH and advanced metrics show that his breaking pitches are competent. Unfortunately, the on-field results never seem to match the underlying metrics (much like his bullpen mate Emilio Pagán). Megill entered the spring with a shot at a bullpen role with the Twins, then struggled to a 10.80 ERA and 2.10 WHIP before being demoted to Triple-A on March 19. Twins fans will probably see Megill again this season as he will be one of top relief options available in St. Paul, yet it’s fair to wonder how many second chances Megill will receive.
    3. Gilberto Celestino
    2023 is the most important season of Gilberto Celestino’s career. That is a strange statement considering Celestino played 122 games with the Twins last season and will likely spend most of 2023 in Triple-A. However, given Celestino’s limited minor league experience (only 75 career games above High-A), this season at Triple-A is critical for his maturation as a player. The thumb injury Celestino suffered early in camp required surgery, putting his development plan on hold while he is out until late April. Missing one month isn’t catastrophic, but finger injuries can linger. If Celestino rushes back or suffers a setback, his long-term development will pay the price.
    1. Edouard Julien
    Despite all the praise that top prospect Brooks Lee garnered in Fort Myers, Julien is undoubtedly the Twins prospect whose stock has risen the most this spring. Across seven games with the Twins and four games with Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic, Julien is hitting .394 (13 for 33) with five homeruns and six walks. His advanced approach at the plate looks MLB-ready, mixing patience with power. The Twins’ infield depth and questions about Julien’s defensive home created a roster crunch that resulted in Julien being optioned to Triple-A on March 14, but Julien’s performance this spring shows that he is ready to contribute at Target Field.
    2. Kyle Farmer
    Farmer’s solid Spring Training—an OPS of 1.052 and four homeruns—has flown under the radar as health questions about Alex Kiriloff, Jorge Polanco, and Jose Miranda have dominated Twins infield storylines. The 31-year-old Farmer is a six-year veteran, so a good month of March doesn’t change his projected upside, but he is a “winner” here because he will leave Fort Myers poised to parlay his hot bat into important at-bats for the Twins. His infield counterparts Polanco and Kirilloff are starting the season on the Injured List, meaning Farmer will play a critical role in the Twins’ early-season success. If Farmer keeps hitting, the Twins offense will get a massive boost and Farmer could become a valuable trade chip to fill an everyday role on another team.
    3. The Twins Front Office
    There are plenty of valid questions about the Twins’ offseason moves. Will Joey Gallo rebound from his terrible 2022 season? And did the team need another left-handed hitting outfielder? How will the offense replace the bat-to-ball skills of Luis Arraez? etc. Regardless, one thing is clear this spring: this Twins roster is deep. Yes, Jorge Polanco and Alex Kiriloff are starting the season on the IL, however the Twins have starting-caliber replacements in Kyle Farmer, Donovan Solano, and Nick Gordon. Typically, exclusively DH-ing a Platinum Glove winner like Byron Buxton would wreck a team’s defense, but the Twins adding recent Gold Glove winners in Michael A. Taylor and Joey Gallo minimizes the defensive decline. And Bailey Ober, probably the odd man out of the Twins’ early-season starting rotation, has yet to allow a run this spring and continues to look like a fourth starter in a competent MLB rotation. Not to mention the prospect reinforcements waiting at Triple-A. All said, Spring Training has shown that this front office deserves credit for building the deepest Twins roster in recent memory.
    Thanks for reading! I'm interested to hear your thoughts and your winners/losers of the spring.
  7. Like
    Oldgoat_MN reacted to Luke Thompson for a blog entry, The Downfall of Byung-Ho Park   
    When the Minnesota Twins signed Korean slugger Byung-Ho Park, fans believed he was the next "big thing" and that he was the player they needed to compete. But what happened to Byung-Ho Park? 
    Park was a huge superstar in the Korean Baseball Organization with the Nexen Heroes. In five seasons with the Heroes, Park led the KBO in home runs five times, RBIs four times, slugging percentage twice, a 2X MVP of the KBO, and was a five-time Gold Glove winner. In the KBO, Park had two consecutive seasons with 50 home runs (2014–2015) and was the home run title winner for four consecutive seasons (2012–2015). He holds the KBO record for RBI during a single season, with 146 RBI in 2015. With those numbers, the Twins gave the highly wanted Park a four-year, $12 million contract. With those numbers in the KBO, you would think It would be a steal of a contract; the only problem is that Park wasn't a very good MLB player.
    The move for the Twins made sense as he dominated pitching in the highest league in South Korea, and many teams were after him. It was exciting when the Twins won the bidding war for Park because things like that usually don't happen to Minnesota. It was initially very exciting to see what he could do in America, but ultimately it was another disappointing move. When Park arrived with the Twins, he only played 62 games, hitting .191/.275/.409 with 12 homers before he was sent to Triple-A Rochester. The only real hope Park had at the time of his demotion was his 12 homers, which had him on pace for 31 homers if he had played the whole season. After spending an entire season with the Rochester Red Wings, Park asked to be released and returned to the Heroes for the 2017 season. He performed well in Park's first year back in the KBO League. Park batted .345 with an OPS of 1.174 with 43 HR in 113 games. Currently, Park is on the KT Wiz in the KBO. He is slashing .275/.349/.556 with 35 HRs. He has only been incredible since he went back to the KBO. This leads me to wonder what went wrong for Park in the majors and why he did not perform up to expectations.
    In 2016, Park's only season in the MLB, he had a strikeout rate of 32.8%. He struck out in nearly one-third of his plate appearances. Whereas in 2016, the league average strikeout rate was 21.1%, Park's strikeout rate was over 10% more than the average. The following reason for his struggles: Park's batting average in 2016 was .191. This was well below the league average of .255. On-base percentage, Park's on-base percentage (OBP) in 2016 was .275, which was also below the league average of .321. Park struggled to hit the breaking pitches. In 2016, he had a batting average of just .111 against curveballs and a batting average of .125 against sliders. Park also had difficulty staying on the field, suffering a knee contusion and a wrist injury that ended his season. Park also had issues with the front office and how they handled his injury. Park believed little treatment was given to him during his injuries which slowed down getting him back on the field. 
    I wish the Twins would have kept Park on their roster, it's very possible that his performance would have improved in the Major Leagues, he just needed to be given more playing time and consistent at-bats. However, it's a possibility that he would have continued to struggle and been demoted or released. In 2016, Byung Ho Park's rookie season with the Twins, he played in 62 games and had 244 plate appearances. He hit .191 with 12 home runs, 24 RBI, and a .658 OPS. In comparison, the Twins' starting DH in 2016, Robbie Grossman, played in 99 games and had 380 plate appearances. He hit .280 with 11 home runs, 37 RBI, and a .386 OBP. If Park had been given consistent playing time and more at-bats, it's a real possibility he could have improved his numbers and been a good player for the Twins. However, it's also possible that he simply wasn't built for the MLB and would have continued to struggle.
    I wonder what would've happened if Park would have had more time to adjust to MLB pitching and his injuries didn't keep him off the field. We know he had the potential but sadly couldn't piece it together. Byung-Ho Park's career would have been an interesting one for sure. Sadly, Twins fans will have to live with the disappointment of Park not panning out quite as we hoped.
  8. Like
    Oldgoat_MN reacted to terrydactyls for a blog entry, One View of Pursuing Ohtani   
    This is one person's view concerning the possible upcoming free agency of Shohei Ohtani.
    There have been many predictions that Ohtani may be the first $500M player.  The reaction of most people is that a price tag like that eliminates the Twins.  But, does it?
    If Ohtani becomes a free agent, I think the Twins should make a quick offer of 8 years at a total of $480M (an AVV of $60M).  WTF? you say?  Why not?  You get a genuine "ace" and a top tier outfielder wrapped up in a single person.  The top three free agent pitchers in 2022 signed for an average AVV of $32M and the top three free agent hitters signed for an average AVV of $27M (or $59M combined).  The offer looks outrageous but it is in line with the going rate.  It also frees up an additional roster spot!  And, from what I am hearing on MLB radio and TV, the merchandise sales in Japan alone might cover the entire salary.  It is certainly worth taking a shot at signing Ohtani.  Tell his agent it is your BAFO (best and final offer) and is good only for 24 hours.  If he signs, great.  If he doesn't sign, you gave it your best shot.
  9. Like
    Oldgoat_MN reacted to Doctor Gast for a blog entry, Ricardo Olivar   
    Although the Twins are really hurting for viable future catching yet it seems like Ricardo Olivar is totally off the Twins radar. In '22, Olivar was named the MVP of the FCL, FCL post season All-Star catcher and FCL player of the month in July. Although he's listed at catcher, where he played the most of his games, he still played a lot of games at CF and some at 2B and cOFs. He's also good defensively w/ above average arm.
    Season Team Level Age G PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA   wRC+         2021 MIN FCL 19 34 59 1 5 5 3 13.6% 28.8% .143 .290 .204 .339 .347 .336   92         2022 MIN FCL 20 40 154 5 16 23 5 11.7% 21.4% .256 .430 .349 .442 .605 .480   181 He got drafted in '19 but didn't start pro ball until '21 because of covid. Like a lot of these prospects during this time their development stopped & they became stagnant. The problem is he turned 21 last Aug, & that's a little old for rookie ball. My hope is like Endy Rodriguez exploding this year going from A to AAA, Olivar will do this coming year starting at A ball. Endy was Rule 5 draft eligible this year & Ricardo will be next year.
    Ricardo didn't even make TD's honorable mention but he's been on my radar & I'll be tracking him this coming year. 
  10. Like
    Oldgoat_MN reacted to IndianaTwin for a blog entry, One Guy's Take on the Roster Makeup   
    The end is in sight. While I'll have one eye on Caitlin Clark and her Iowa Hawkeye team's amazingness the next six weeks (hopefully), it's great to see Spring Training starting this week. Much speculation has been made about the roster, so I'll add my read on how I see things shaking out. Here goes: 
    Offensively, I see the Opening Day roster as:
    Group A: C - Jeffers, Vazquez Group B: 2B/SS/3B - Polanco, Correa, Miranda, Farmer, Gordon Group C: 1B/LF/RF/DH - Kirilloff, Gallo, Kepler, Larnach Group D: CF - Buxton, Taylor They'll move around, of course, but this provides a framework. The other three position players on the 40-man roster and healthy are Julien, Wallner and Celestino. If one of the guys in Group B gets hurt, the door opens for Julien. If a Group C player gets hurt, the door opens for Wallner. If a Group D player gets hurt, it could be Celestino, but with Gordon's (and even Gallo's) ability to play CF, it could mean either Wallner or Julien, so that Celestino stays in St. Paul.
    If a catcher gets hurt, they have to make a corresponding 40-man move, but they have Wolters, Sisco and Greiner in St. Paul and Paddack and Canterino (and maybe Lewis) as possibilities to go on the 60-Day IL. And hey, it's a catcher. If they get hurt, it could well be the 60-day for him anyway!
    I didn't mention Lewis, but momma always said, "We'll cross that bridge when we get to it." When Lewis is healthy, something will have happened to provide a spot for him. And if not, awesome! As for other prospects not on the 40-man, they'll take a number and get worked in as spots become available. And spots will become available. Injuries happen. So does suckitude. 
    On the pitching side, the starting pool looks like:
    Group 1; Ryan, Gray, PLopez, Mahle and Maeda as the intended starting five. Group 2: Ober, Varland, Winder and Woods Richardson are all on the 40-man and have made starts in the majors, so any are options to step into the rotation when one from Group 1 goes on the IL. Otherwise, it's assumed they'll start in St. Paul. They're listed in the order of when they made appearances, so that may be a clue as to the order. Group 3: Paddack can go on the 60-man as needed, but it's assumed that he'll get starts at some point.  Group 4: Dobnak, Rodriguez and Sanchez are also in St. Paul, but not on the 40-man. I think they'll churn through Group 2 before going here, but they are available if needed. By the time it gets to these guys, at least one of the injuries will likely have been of the 60-day variety, creating another spot on the 40-man. Group 5: Balazovic and Headrick are two guys on the 40-man that I'm guessing they aren't ready to move them to the pen yet. With great starts, they could theoretically move to the back of Group 2. The bullpen looks like: 
    Group 6: Duran, JLopez, Jax, Alcala, Thielbar, Moran, Megill, Pagan as the assumed bullpen. Alcala, Moran and Megill have options. Group 7: Sands and Henriquez. Sands only pitched in relief in August and September, but it was usually multiple innings. That could be a sign of moving him to the pen full time. Henriquez bounced back and forth between starting and relieving, and I wonder if he might move to relieving full time as well. They could join Alcala, Moran and Megill on the St. Paul shuffle. Conceivably, either of these could bump one of the guys in Group 5, particularly given that they are viable multi-inning guys. Group 8: Coulombe, DeLeon, Ortega are three guys not on the 40-man, but who have major league experience. Once Canterino goes on the 60-day IL, any of these could be added to the 40-man in his spot. With that in mind, several observations: 
    I really like the flexibility they have created on the position player side. I also don't trade Kepler, unless it's for a right-handed hitting 1B or OF, but that's just tinkering. If it was going to happen, it would have happened earlier. Groups 1-3 make 10 starting pitchers that I can feel good about as options. And Group 4 is a nice group to have in St. Paul, hopefully beating down the door with good performances, and otherwise providing enough starts to keep the prospect pipeline flowing. I've been one of the group wishing they would have signed a Fulmer-type for the bullpen. As I play this out, I'm not that sure it's a big deal. He'd add another player to Group 6, but it feels like they have enough options to not worry about that.  Pagan deserves his own observation. Folks want him gone. I see one of two things happening. Best case scenario is that he pitches like he did the last couple months and earns his keep. But I think he'll be on a relatively short leash. Consider last year -- when Duffey and Smith stunk and they had other bodies available, they cut bait and DFAed both. What was different about Pagan was that he had another year of control, so there was hope of a turnaround. Now that he's in the last year of control, I think his leash will be much shorter. I think this is a playoff contender. From what I gather, this group is WAY deeper across the board than Cleveland or Chicago. Ace/Schmace. I hate the articles debating what classifies as an "ace" and how an "ace" is needed in the playoffs, but here's the way I view it: Are any Twins starters Hall of Famers? No. Are any of them Sure-Fire Top 10 (or 15) MLB Starters, or however you want to define this "Ace" term? Probably not. BUT, and I've got a big but(t), I think that any of the guys in Group 1 or Group 3 can pitch like an "Ace" on any given night and even for an extended run. Consider Maeda's 2020, for example. And if the Twins have made it into the playoffs, it's likely because at least one has been pitching like an "Ace," so I'll take my chances. I'm sure we're biased and have rose-colored glasses on Ober, Winder, et. al, but if you look at the depth charts of other teams, there's very few that have the kind of depth we, both in the top five and particularly in the top 10. Goodness -- we just waived A.J. Alexy and he shows up as the No. 7 starter on one list for The Team That Shall Not Be Named.   What did I miss? 
    Besides noting that we're at T-minus 44 days and counting to Opening Day. 
  11. Like
    Oldgoat_MN reacted to Steven Trefz for a blog entry, What a difference a month makes...   
    The Twins away game idea emerged as a "rooting for laundry" dream. Roster moves over the past month have started to imply that something more might be underfoot for our 2023 squad. All of a sudden, I have new names to learn and new expectations to decipher. A trip to re-introduce myself to this nation that I call home now is beginning to reek of fanboy angst...
    Are the Twins for real in 2023 all of a sudden?
    I wasn't anticipating a need to feel nervous at these ball games. I was just going to enjoy the relationship-building travel and some delicious food along the way. Now I might have to worry about a playoff race? I was just going to cheer on Luis Arraez as he wiggled his way to breaking up some Dodger pitcher's no-hitter in a 9-0 game, but now I might have to be on the edge of my seat with a series victory on the line in Chavez Ravine? I was breathing a sigh of relief at not having to witness Carlos Correa Giants jerseys in year one, and then it was Mets jerseys for a few weeks, and now I'm left kicking myself for not buying every jersey while they were still on clearance.  The worst part is, Carlos will know after 81 games of seeing me in the one Correa jersey that I have, that I gave up on him when he said he signed with two other teams.  I'm not a true believer.
    Increased team expectations for 2023 mean that frigid April bullpen debacles in Kansas City sting that much more. Random acts of lineup malfunction in Chicago in May mean increased blood pressure in September. 
    I'm pretty sure that the Twins aren't yet finished with shaping this year's roster. I'm guessing that at least one more familiar face that my kid's loved cheering for will be someone I now get to see in a new home on the road this season. There will be more where that came from during the trade deadline in July/August for sure. Why? Because when Correa re-signed the tables turned and the season took on an urgency that wasn't a part of my earlier trip calculations. 
    I'm fine with it.  Trust me.  I like winning.
    But instead of being "the weird dude in Twins gear at our ballpark when the Twins have moderate to no shot at winning the game," I'm more often than not going to be "the weird dude in Twins gear at our ballpark when the Twins are making local fans angry for shelling out cash to watch our team beat their team in their park so they are gonna verbally (not physically please) take it out on that weird dude" guy.
    It's going to be very hard for the Twins to go unnoticed this season on the national level. Will this help our team rise to the occasion? Or will the added attention multiply our faults? Will it drive up my ticket prices and lodging costs? Or will locals stay away because they don't want to cry in their own stadium?
    Time will tell, and I for one can't wait to get it started!  Pitchers and catchers report in less than a month, on my birthday, Februrary 16th.  I can't think of a better gift in the middle of such a long harsh winter on the Dakota plains.  
    Grace and peace Twins Territory, wherever you are!
  12. Like
    Oldgoat_MN reacted to Steven Trefz for a blog entry, On interleague play and interstate realities...   
    2023 marks a distinct revolution in MLB scheduling.  For the first time, the Minnesota Twins will play every MLB team during the regular season.
    In the ever evolving nature of sport, some changes can fly under the radar.  This scheduling change will impact the entire league in both extreme and subtle ways, and I'm not sure the Twins will be on the winning end of any of them.  Here are a few of the main changes that I'm noticing as I plan the All 81 trip.
    1.  In-Division games are reduced from 19 to 12 per team.  For the Twins, this means that feasting on KC or Detroit gets portion-controlled.  One might also argue that since our Guardians head-to-head record was so ratty, this will help the Twins stay in the running within the division.  Pundits are arguing that for teams in "weak" divisions, the new balance of schedule does not help.  Time will tell.
    2.  At the very least, it amplifies the 12 games that we do have within the division.  A 3-game series in April gets magnified in the new revised standard schedule system.  Series tended to get lost in the shuffle when conceptually there were 5 others waiting down the road.  Now, a 3 day rough patch in KC could make or break division hopes.
    3.  There are the same amount of road series, but little replication.  Why does this matter?  In baseball, routine matters.  In the next few years, finding a way to adapt to new travel and surroundings on a week to week basis will replace almost a month of traveling to the same AL Central destinations.  Keeping rhythms now that interleague travel and new ballpark navigation becomes the norm rather than the exception will be vital to success.
    4.  Now, you could argue that every team has to deal with these same issues, so nobody will really benefit from the switch in scheduling.  Yet, because of their unique and isolated geography, the Twins gain no benefits from an expanded list of destinations each season.  Everywhere they go is definitely "away."  Think Cleveland as a counter-example.  Adding stops in Pittsburgh or Cincinnati or Washington mean less in terms of travel and time than it does for Minnesota.  Again you could argue that taking one trip to Chicago or Cleveland or Detroit out of the Twins' annual travel schedule provides room for this change.  But because of how the geography and divisional alignment work, those new interleague journeys will always be further away for the Twins.
    5.  If you think the Twins have it rough...try being Seattle, or Miami.  Losing those 4 in-division trips up and down the coast inevitably ends up with more 3 series road trips, thousands of more miles of travel, and the inevitable time-travel through time zones that can mess with a player's focus.  
    6.  What is gained with the new scheduling?  Potentially more parity.  In most recent history, a team could convince its fanbase that playing to the ability of your division resulted in "success."  Now, every team will be increasingly exposed for how they stack up across the entire MLB.  Good teams will rise to the top regardless of division.  Teams will have live-action experience with every MLB roster every season for scouting and analysis purposes.  Trades to teams in the other league now have the chance of biting you each year, not just every three.  
    7.  On the positive, to the members of Twins Territory scattered across this country (and Toronto!) the new schedule opens up far more opportunities to experience your favorite squad live and in person.  Transplanted Twins fans in San Diego know that they get 3 games every other year in their backyard.  South Beach influencers who cut their teeth on Kirby Puckett's heroics will get a guaranteed chance every two years to wave their homer hankies in Miami.  If attending a Twins game live is the practice that strengthens the relationship, then Twins Territory is prime for expansion and growth.
    In summary, I'm pretty sure that the new schedule will not help the Twins reach their playoff goals this season, or any season.  But if the schedule benefits the ability of Twins fans to engage with their club and their passion for MLB baseball, then its a move worth making.  And if there is even the slightest chance for bringing some element of parity into the MLB conversation, then such a change is long overdue.
    What are you most interested in seeing with regards to how the new MLB interleague scheduling shakes out?
    Grace and peace,
  13. Like
    Oldgoat_MN reacted to Nick Hanzlik for a blog entry, Peanuts, Crackerjack and D&D?   
    I want to start off this entry by saying that I am no writer. I joined Twins Daily so that I could follow the blog of a life-long friend of mine, who is much more talented than I. Shout out to Alex Boxwell, former Gopher outfielder and the next Ernest Hemmingway (follow his blog and become enlightened).
    Maybe it’s the holidays being around the corner or the fact that I am snowed in and bored, but after what is appearing to be the mundane end to what could have (and should have?) been a historic FA signing period for the Minnesota Twins, I felt the need to find some positives and reflect on why I should continue to give my time to a team I follow with a passion. As well as why I should keep up with a sport that appears to be dying.
    The answer is a seemingly strange one and stems from the origins of how I became interested in baseball as a kid. Growing up I was super into all the nerdy things. Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, comic books, video games, you name it. Then I received MVP Baseball 2005 (Manny cover) as a gift on my 10th birthday. I had zero interest in sports at this time, but my best friend (RIP Brandyn) insisted that I try it so I caved and began to play. It was the greatest gift a nerd could receive. The in-depth simulation, the statistics, the attention to detail, stadium creation, owner mode, everything about that game kept me glued to my computer screen. That game is literally how I became interested in baseball. I was horribly unathletic but I decided to sign up for Little League the following Spring. I was terrible, I mean TERRIBLE, unwatchable even for an 11-year-old. Each year I managed to get a bit better and through sheer love of the game I willed myself onto the varsity baseball team my junior year of High School (as a PO obviously, hitting is hard). As I began to spend more time with skilled athletes, the personalities of the people I spent my time with changed drastically, and the true beauty of baseball revealed itself. It became a wonderful bridge between nerdom and sports culture.
    As I have gotten older, I have realized I am far from alone in experiencing this ‘world between worlds,’ something about baseball fascinates nerds unlike any other sport. Maybe it’s the heavy influence of statistics, maybe it’s the fact that you don’t need to be a world class athlete to play it, who knows, but there is no denying that nerds love baseball. Just look at Dungeons and Dragons, an amazing game I suggest everyone tries at least once in their life. That game, which I think most people would consider to be the first game that used character stat sheets and involved freedom of choice, came out in 1974. Strat-O-Matic, a baseball simulation game using character sheets, statistics and dice rolling like that of D&D, came out in 1961. That is 13 years prior...
    I have played D&D almost every Tuesday for the last 6 years and I can tell you that anyone watching such a game without having played, is going to fall asleep. However, that does not mean there isn’t anything going on. It’s just a heavily nuanced world filled with strategy, branching narratives, statistics, probability and larger than life characters.
    Look at baseball now, every moment has nuance and complexity that leads to anticipation of 1000 different outcomes. I understand there aren’t seven-foot-tall specimens flying around dunking on each other, or 250-pound dudes colliding in full pads, but the game is more complex than that. A matchup between the likes of Bryce Harper and Max Scherzer is beyond interesting. Every pitch something changes. What pitch was thrown? Where was it thrown? How has the hitter been approached by the league? How has the hitter been approached by the specific pitcher? Are there runners on base? What’s the score? What inning is it? All of this can change with every pitch and the mental warfare between hitter and pitcher is absolutely fascinating.
    I read an article a while back that made a similar connection between D&D, nerdom and baseball. They made the point that it would be amazing to bring together a D&D party in full cosplay and a group of hardcore baseball fans in team attire, face paint, foam fingers and all. I found this to be hilarious, and I imagine the look on their faces when they realize how remarkably similar they are, would be priceless.
    At the end of the day, I will always follow the Minnesota Twins and baseball as a whole. It is a beautifully complex game that bridges two wonderfully unique yet similar worlds. At times it feels like David vs Goliath for both the franchise among the league, and baseball among the other major sports, which are often seen as more action oriented and ‘exciting.’ Hopefully MLB can find a way to market the game to the next generation better so it doesn’t go belly up. It’s scary to think of the 11-year-old kid who almost never got to experience the immersive culture and beauty of baseball. It would have been a damn shame if the game had never reached me. Friendships that would never have been made, memories lost and a passion left undiscovered. With the game in its current state, that may have been my reality.
  14. Like
    Oldgoat_MN reacted to Seamus Kelly for a blog entry, Unpopular Idea to Fix the Twins   
    Us under 30-year-olds want one thing from Minnesota sports. A championship. We want the stories handed down by our parents of how crazy the State was in 87 and 91. We want I94 closed. We want to be nationally relevant. Much has been made of the 0-18 playoff record and many hot takes and debates have raged over social media. It seems like anything the Twins do at this point will be met with unnecessary cruel criticism and unwarranted unwavering support. So here is my useless take to add to the mix, and I am afraid it is not going to be popular among the Twins Haters and Twins Supporters. But maybe a small minority will support me.
    Twins need to reset and rebuild.
    No more chasing the offseason whales of Donaldson and Correa, no more trading prospects for mediocre talent that is oft injured and fails to make any sort of impact. We should start trading aging players no matter how beloved and rebuild our prospect pool. We need to analyze what has gone wrong in the scouting, drafting, and developing of pitching prospects and change our approach there. If the Twins and Pohlads really want to have an impact playoff run, then they need to strip it down for the next 2-3 years and then rebuild it back up.
    Many of you will argue otherwise. But I ask a simple question. Do they have a competitive roster right now? The obvious answer is no. So as an organization you have 3 choices:
    Add players to it through Free Agency or Trade to make a playoff run. Maintain course and hope you have the most luck any baseball team has ever had. Tear it down and rebuild. Option 1. Adding would be a gigantic mistake. You already missed out on impact free agents. Throwing money and more importantly years at non-impact free agents is never a good idea for any market, much less a mid-market team. Trading prospects to add talent is also not wise. You already have a depleted farm system due to poor drafting and trades for non-impact players. What available trade is there to make that could lift this roster to make an impact trade? The answer of course is no. You would need 4-5 trades to do so, and you do not have the prospects to do that.
    Option 2. Staying on the course seems like a non-option. I get it, the division is bad, maybe we can luck our ways into the playoffs and then who knows. But given the vitriol on Twitter and other social media sites this also seems like a non-option. This front office/coaching staff is most likely fired if they have another 70–80-win season and fail to make the playoffs. Even if they do the roster is incomparable to other playoff teams and increasing 0-18 to 0-20 is only going to enrage an already volatile fanbase.
    Option 3. Tear it down. This is the only logical course of action. It will be painful. Trade Arraez, Trade Buxton, Trade Kepler, Trade Polanco, Trade Mahle, Trade Gray, even Trade Kiriloff who is oft injured. Trading any player with value but has a huge flaw that limits them from being an impact playoff performer. Get prospects in return, use good fortune in the draft to start rebuilding this thing. Start drafting and developing impact pitching.
    It may not work in the end; it may turn out to be another period like 2011-2016. But it is the only course this organization can take if they want to win a championship. This front office/coaching staff won’t do it because they want to save their jobs. But if the ownership has a real long-term vision this would be the only clear path of action.
  15. Like
    Oldgoat_MN reacted to Greggory Masterson for a blog entry, If Luis Arraez were to be traded, my new favorite stat would be in jeopardy   
    Do I think that Luis Arraez is in any great danger to be traded? No. He doesn't have enough value to be the centerpiece in a trade for top end starting pitching.
    I would be sad though. Upon his winning of the AL batting title, I did some research, and found an interesting statistic, which I shared on Reddit at the time with some inaccuracies, and I want to write up here as well as the definitive edition.
    The Twins have had the AL batting champion 15 times since 1964, a whopping 26% of seasons (Carew x7, Oliva x3, Mauer x3, Puckett x1, Arraez x1). In that same timespan, the Twins have had 16 seasons with at least one (1) 30 homerun hitter. They are almost as likely to have a hitter win a batting title as they are to have a single hitter hit 30 home runs. To show my work, here is a list of years with at least one player who hit 30 homeruns:
    2021: Polanco (33), Sano (30)
    2019: Cruz (41), Kepler (36), Sano (34), Rosario (32). Garver (31)
    2017: Dozier (34)
    2016: Dozier (42)
    2012: Willingham (35)
    2009: Cuddyer (32), Morneau (30)
    2007: Morneau (31)
    2006: Morneau (34), Hunter (31)
    1987: Hrbek (34), Brunansky (32), Gaetti (31)
    1986: Gaetti (34), Puckett (31)
    1984: Brunansky (32)
    1970: Killebrew (41)
    1969: Killebrew (49)
    1967: Killebrew (44)
    1966: Killebrew (39)
    1964: Killebrew (49), Oliva (32), Allison (32)
    During a stretch from 1971 to 1983, the Twins had zero hitters hit more than 30 home runs, but had a player win the batting title six times. From 1988 to 2005 there were also no 30 home run seasons, but there was a batting title. There have been more players that won a batting title than have hit 40 or more homeruns in a season (Cruz, Dozier, Killebrew).
    With at least one more season of Luis Arraez and no sure bets to belt 30 longballs in 2023, the record may come to 16-16, which would make any curmudgeonly, old-school, Twins Way, baseball fan like me smile.
    As a side note, in 1981, Roy Smalley led the Twins in homers with 7.
  16. Like
    Oldgoat_MN reacted to Andrew Luedtke for a blog entry, 5 Reasons Christian Vázquez is a GREAT Fit for the Twins   
    Earlier today the Minnesota Twins crossed a major offseason to-do off their list by signing catcher Christian Vázquez to a 3 year/$30M deal. Since 2020, Vázquez has caught the 5th most games in MLB and was worth 1.6 fWAR in 2022. Important considering Ryan Jeffers' health concerns.
    Prior to the signing, the Twins were projected to generate the 5th worst fWAR out of the catcher position. Now, they project to be around league average (15th) with the duo of Vázquez (2.0 projected fWAR) and Jeffers (1.4 projected fWAR).  
    Here are five reasons the Vázquez signing could be exactly what the Twins need:
    1. A great defender
    Since 2020, Vázquez has accumulated the 6th most DRS at the catcher position (+17) in 2,277.1 innings behind the plate. His fielding runs above average is also the 6th highest during that span (30.9). 
    Additionally, he's been a plus pitch framer his entire career. He was worth +1 framing runs in 2022, but has the 8th most framing runs in MLB since Baseball Savant began tracking this metric (+29 framing runs). The Twins have been known to be great with their catchers to improve this metric. Ryan Jeffers was worth +2 runs in 2022. Gary Sanchez went from -6 in 2021 with the Yankees to +1 last year, so it's possible that Vázquez could benefit even more from coach Hank Conger. 
    Image via Baseball Savant. 

    2. Elite Pitch Caller
    It's baseball so everything is trackable. The statistic rCERA is catcher ERA runs saved. So essentially, it's measuring how effective (or ineffective) a catcher is at limiting runs for a pitching staff. A plus in this statistic is a good thing. It's as close as we can come to assigning a number to a catcher's ability to call a game. 
    If you watched a Twins game late in 2022, you saw some questionable pitch calls by Gary Sanchez. Jeffers is above average in this statistic (+1 rCERA since 2020) and Vázquez ranks 4th best in MLB since 2020 with a +5 rCERA. 
    During that timeframe Gary Sanchez ranks dead last out of 130 catchers with a -10 rCERA. 
    The Twins overall ranked 19th in rCERA (-1) in 2022. The combination of a healthy Jeffers and Vázquez should no doubt help the Twins pitching staff. An improvement from last year. Here's to hoping that we see less righty on righty changeups being thrown in 2023 :) 
    3. Throws Out Runners 
    It's not a secret that the Twins have a stolen base problem. Late into the 2022 season it seemed like runners could take extra bases at will. The Twins allowed 94 SB in 2022, the 9th most in MLB only throwing out 20% of runners. 
    Ryan Jeffers is not a great throwing catcher. Last year he only threw out 18% of runners. Since he came into the league he has the 3rd worst rSB (runs saved by throwing out runners) at -6 rSB, ranking 163 out of 165 catchers. 
    Since 2018 Christian Vázquez has thrown out the second most runners in MLB (81) at a 30.45% clip. 
    His exchange time of .67 seconds was 4th quickest in MLB last year. His 1.94 sec pop time ranked 22nd in MLB among 85 catchers. 
    With stolen bases a problem for the Twins, and base sizes increasing in 2023, all the more reason for the Twins to add a catcher who can control the run game, and they're getting this here. 
    Here's a nice video of Vázquez's hose piece vs the Twins (sorry Jake Cave). 
    4. Hits RHP Better than Jeffers 
    Vázquez is by no means a thumper. He owns a 92 wRC+ since 2020. But, has posted a 95 WRC+ vs RHP during that span. 
    Twins catchers were especially poor vs RHP in 2022. They ranked 24th in baseball with a 66 wRC+ and a 30.7 K% which was 3rd worst in MLB (YUCK!).
    Ryan Jeffers posted only a 57 wRC+ vs RHP last year (ranked 41st out of 55 catchers who had 100 PA). 
    While the best offensive combo for the Twins would have been to pair a LHH catcher with Jeffers as a platoon, just having a catcher who can at least hold their own vs RHP will be a massive upgrade. 
    Ryan Jeffers will assuredly get all of the AB's vs a LHP - a career 125 wRC+ vs LHP (Vázquez has only posted 84 wRC+ vs LHP since 2020). 
    The combo of Jeffers vs LHP and Vázquez vs RHP will be plenty serviceable offensively and a lift upon a total black hole at the spot last year. 
    5. Veteran Presence 
    Vázquez is 32 years old and has played in 8 seasons. Two of those eight have resulted in World Series parades (2018 with Boston and 2022 with Houston). He's played in 31 playoff games logging 99 PA's which is more than Max Kepler, Byron Buxton, and Jorge Polanco have in the playoffs combined. 
    No doubt a player of Vázquez's caliber will be instrumental in leading a young Twins core in 2023 and beyond. The Twins average age of position players was 26.9, 4th youngest in MLB. He's the cliche "clubhouse guy" and the Twins absolutely need that. In his short time in Houston, he made an impression in that locker room and with the pitching staff. 
    One can only hope he is on the Twins team that breaks the playoff curse during his tenure here. 
    Please enjoy this video of Vázquez hitting a walk-off HR vs the Rays in the playoffs last season. 
    6. He's Buddies with Carlos Correa (BONUS!)
    OK, I know I said 5 reasons but I couldn't pass this up. Carlos Correa and Christian Vázquez went to the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy together. Maybe they will find each other playing for their country in the World Baseball Classic in 2023 alongside Twins 3B Jose Miranda and RP Jorge Lopez. 
    And maybe the combo of Jose + Christian + Jorge can recruit their fellow countrymen back to Minnesota?
    It's a dream. But, it certainly can't hurt! 
  17. Like
    Oldgoat_MN reacted to Doc Munson for a blog entry, the Anti- Correa move   
    More and more it is looking like the "Nuclear Option" is the only way the Twins will ever improve.
    With rumors now circulating of Yankees in on Correa as well as other big spenders, and rumors circulating about a $400M contract. the Twins must SPRINT to the door and get out!!!  That is very sad, as I was actually thinking the Twins actually get a decent deal done around the $300-320M mark.
    I had shared an option in previous posts, and it nwo onyl seems even MORE the right way to go.  HELP THE YANKEES!!!
    Joel Sherman is saying he believes the Yankees will release Stanton in a couple of years, that is eating MILLIONS, if this is potentially true, then why no let him go NOW and NOT have to pay millions.
    Yankees signed Judge, if they want Correa at nearly $400M, AND want Rodon in the rotation, we can still help make this happen, but because it would be waiving the white flag on Correa it would have to be even sweeter for us!!!
    AS mentioned in other posts, we take on...
    1) Stanton and his large remaining contract. but we renegotiate opt outs for him after EVERY year in order for him to waive his NT clause.
    2) Donaldson, but the Yankees remain on the hook for any potential $6M mutual option that may get picked up in 2024.. No, I don't want Donaldson, but we flip him for a one f those big nachos in a batting helmet. Someone would take him on, especially if they could get him for FREE next year.  Maybe Boston?? Donaldson gets to stick it to the yanks and if he plays for Boston while getting paid by Yanks, that is always fun!!
    3) Aaron Hicks and his remaining contract. would be tough sledding being able to flip this deal, and would be on the books in future years at $10M as well.  (BUT IF WE CAN GET VALUE ITS DOABLE)
    That is about $63M
    Those are the bad contracts we have to eat. Now for good stuff.  In order to incentivize us to take on all those years and dollars, and more importantly allowing the Yankees the freedom to go after Correa AND Rodon. , the Twins also get...
    1) Luis Severino, and his 1 year of control at $15M.  This gives us a potential Ace, yes he has health issues, but we are only committed for 1 year, and if he proves healthy its a steal. PLUS it frees up another $15M for the Yanks bringing the cash clearance to about $78M (EASILY enough for Rodon and Correa!!!)
    2) Anthony Volpe... Untouchable you say??  well if you sign Correa then Volpe is redundant. plus we demand big time prospects for clearing teh cap space!!
    3) speaking of big time prospects, we also demand Jasson Dominguez.  again have to give up big pieces to get big pieces
    4) Luis Gil.  Gil is a big armed prospect (former Twins prospect) who is MLB ready and would add more depth
    5) Final piece is either Roderick Arias or Josh Breaux. Arias is a high ceiling infielder you can never get enough of, and Breaux is an MLB ready young catcher (albeit not LH).
    What do the Twins give up???  the answer is basically very little.  let say Kepler,  I mean he is a LH with Yankee Stadium 81 games per year. and then maybe throw in Arraez (like an All-Star batting champ is a throw in). Maybe a prospect going back to make it look more even
    SO why does this work for both?
    Yankees: It allows the Yankees to clear bad contracts of players they want gone in Hicks and Donaldson, It gets them out of the Stanton contract and he has never really fit in NY. and it allows them the roster and cap space to sign both Correa and Rodon without impacting luxury tax. They are set up for the foreseeable future, and can afford to move prospects who are now blocked, and after all... "prospects are suspects until proven otherwise".
    The Yankees are currently at an estimated $248M payroll, signing either or both of Correa/Rodon would push them crazily past the highest penalty tier, and as repeat offenders would pay an additional $40+M in penalties, not to mention the loss of bonus pools and draft picks.
    Why do the Twins do this?
    OK so lets assume we are able to somehow flip Donaldson, for little to nothing in return. Maybe even sending a marginal prospect away in addition. That is a wash. swapping Arraez & Kepler for Severino is essentially a wash financially after Arraez Arb win. so that means teh Twins are taking on a net $42M dollars which brings the estimated payroll to just $135M which is still $14M below last years payroll!!  and what do we get for this payroll?  we get a big RH bat we need who would be primary DH but could play some OF (and with the chance he may opt out at any year releasing us from paying him to teh end). We get a crowd favorite back (but for how long would he be a crowd favorite now) who can play backup CF. we get to add a potential dominat arm to the rotaion, AND we get absolute stud prospects in Volpe, Dominguez, Arias, to go with our already good list of prospects. This sets us up to have the next wave of cheap young players to extend a window or use as trade material for the young top pitcher we cannot afford on the FA market.
    Imagine a lineup in 1.5 years of Volpe, Lewis, Dominguez, Miranda, Buxton, Stanton and if Kirilloff can hit potential and get rid of that wrist, and if Wallner/Larnach can hit. That is a great young lineup!!!
    yes, this seems crazy, but seriously, if we lose out on Correa, what else you gonna do to make an impact?
  18. Like
    Oldgoat_MN reacted to LA VIkes Fan for a blog entry, Recommended Coming Changes in Rotation and Bullpen Pre 9/1   
    The time to make changes in the starting rotation is coming with Mahle due off the IL in about a week. Mahle, Gray and Ryan are easy picks, everyone else is in play - pick two of Bundy, Archer, Aaron Sanchez, Smeltzer, Louie Varland, SWR for 5, or should we go to a 6 man rotation and pick 3? Who goes into the bullpen?
    To me, first choice is obvious - Dylan Bundy,  The man has a 2.33 ERA in August and has kept the Twins in every game he's started this month. Rocco needs to try giving him a shot at going  more than 5 innings but he has been an above average 4/5 rotation guy for the last month. The second choice is less obvious but the guy it shouldn't be is pretty clear - Chris Archer. He had a 11.74 ERA in July and has a 5.24 ERA in August. While he was better earlier, he only pitched 19 innings last year and is coming off a potentially career ending injury. He is running out of gas. Either put him in the bullpen or shut him down. 
    That leaves Smeltzer and Sanchez on the roster, and Louie Varland and SWR down in AAA. Smeltzer was exposed while in the rotation before - 1.50 ERA in May, 4.10 in June, 8.76 in July - and actually looks the part of a long reliever with a 1.80 ERA since coming back up. Varland is tempting but he just got to AAA. SWR still has control issues and also just got there, and there isn't anyone else on the Saints roster who looks like anything close to a MLB starter. Those two could come up on 9/1 and still be under the 45 days so retain their rookie status for 2023. Very tempting to try to catch lightning in a bottle but I just don't think either one is ready.  Here's your winner - Aaron Sanchez. Yes, he was bad with the Nats, but his 2 starts with the Twins so far have been a total of 9 innings, 4 runs. He would have gone longer against Houston if Rocco hadn't messed up. His pitches have life and I could see him being very good against weaker teams and holding his own against better ones. If he pitches well Sunday against the Giants I think he's the man for the #5 spot in the rotation. 
    For the bullpen, two changes jump out at me. First, Brad Peacock or Jharel Cotton should come up and replace Megill. Megill has good stuff, but he's been figured out - 1.86 ERA in July, 6.55 in August. Peacock is experienced and can better give us back of the bullpen work. Cotton had a 2.83 ERA when sent down, albeit with a FIP over 5. He's risky, but we could use another multi inning/long man with the shorter starts and he can fill that role. Archer stays and hits the BP or goes on IL. I would also be ok with Moran coming up if Archer goes on the IL. Remember, we get 2 more spots on 9/1 and one of them can be a pitcher so we can add one for a 9 man bullpen.  I say add Peacock and Cotton, move Archer to the bullpen, option Megill and option/DFA Pagan. Moran can come up if there's an injury but remember, once he comes up he's hit his limit for the year and can't be sent back down without exposing him to waivers. 
    That would give us a starting rotation as of 9/1 of Mahle, Gray, Ryan, Bundy, Sanchez. The Bullpen is Duran and Lopez as the late inning guys, Jax, Theilbar, Fullmer, Archer (or Moran) and Peacock for innings 6-8, and Smeltzer and Cotton as the multi inning/long men. Smeltzer and Archer are the emergency starters. That's our best pitching staff for September in my view.
    What say ye?
  19. Like
    Oldgoat_MN reacted to Dave The Dastardly for a blog entry, It Don't Sano in July   
    You're the manager, you've run about 20 reports off your computer, had three statisticians, a data geek and a borrowed nun from St. Francis explain esoteric stuff that went right over your head and had you daydreaming like Goldie Hawn and you've now retreated to your manager's office and are debating about throwing darts at the player's roster, wondering who you're going to start at 1st Base. But Fast Frankie, the team's towel guy, has stuck a purple post-it note on your desk that you can't avoid:
    Arraez   .346   .420   .499   .869
    Miranda  .260   .299   .463   .762
    Kirilloff   .269   .319   .407   .726
    Sano   .093   . 231   .148   .379
    And you wonder why Fast Frankie wants you to know the players' locker combinations.
    Who would you start at 1st?
  20. Like
    Oldgoat_MN reacted to Matt Braun for a blog entry, Matt's Top Prospect List (June) + Explanations   
    Royce Lewis Royce Lewis is still the best prospect in the Twins’ system, but the soul refuses to accept that truth. Lewis will now miss extended time with another ACL surgery, and it’s impossible to feel anything but grief and sympathy for the man; he’s an elite talent that life continues to deal poor hands to maniacally. His major league performance proved that he’s capable of great things, and all we can do is hope that he’ll come back without missing a beat as he did before.                                                                                     
    Austin Martin  .311. That number represents a crappy rock band from the 90s and Austin Martin’s season slugging percentage as of June 29th. It will be impossible for Martin to fulfill his destiny as a high-level number 2 hitter unless he—at the very least—finds his .380s slugging mark from last season. I’m not sure why he’s suddenly trying to put the ball in play with no regard for extra-base damage, but it is failing; he has 11 extra-base hits in 60 games. We knew Martin would never become Sammy Sosa at the plate, but he desperately needs a buoyant power level from which his excellent OBP skills can consistently launch upwards. Martin is also not a shortstop.
    Noah Miller      Now we get to the messy part of the system. I like Noah Miller, but he has cooled off tremendously since his blistering May; this is the danger in trying to rank recently-drafted high school players. I’ll stick with my guns and say that he’s a future star—his defense and on-base abilities are still undeniably elite—but that statement carries less oomph than it did just a month ago. I believe he’ll grow into some power, but he probably will never be Fernando Tatís Jr. out there; instead, I see him as a jack-of-all-trades type of quality shortstop.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
    Emmanuel Rodriguez    Have you ever heard about the tragedy of Emmanuel Rodriguez the wise? Rodriguez was laying waste to low-A pitchers before he tore up his knee, costing him at least the rest of this season. Knee injuries for athletic marvels like Rodriguez are still scary, but Lewis’ success in returning from one proved that it might not be worrisome. It’s a shame, Rodriguez’s play was cartoonishly dominant, but we’ll have to wait a while before seeing him on the field again. The long-term outlook remains sturdy, but the short-term playing time loss hurts.
    Jordan Balazovic Aaron Gleeman recently noted that Jordan Balazovic is dealing with a knee issue that has curtailed his effectiveness this season. Maybe it’s weird to say this, but knowing that fact improves my opinion on Balazovic; his under-performance has to do with injury, not a sudden loss in ability. Still, he’s walking far too many hitters at AAA and gives up contact loud enough to break the sound barrier. I’ve knocked him down a few spots already, and the slide will continue unless he changes something quick.
    Spencer Steer Is Spencer Steer the only top name here with an unimpeachable performance in 2022? The Oregon product is slaying the ball, slashing .277/.360/.577 between AA and AAA with only a slight drop-off in production since his promotion; a low BABIP may be the culprit. He’s no defensive whizz, but he doesn’t need to be with that bat, and he should be firmly implanted in the Twins’ future infield plans. I debated placing him above Balazovic, but since Steer has less overall time as an elite player, I gave the nod to the pitcher for now.
    Simeon Woods Richardson Simeon Woods Richardson was pitching well, and then he got injured because of course he did. I was still deeply suspicious of his performance—4.87 xFIP and all—but he at least had a nice ERA, and that’s better than nothing. I don’t think he has unquestionably shed the narrative that he can’t pitch at AA; Woods Richardson is striking out fewer batters than he did at every other level in the minors before this season. Yet, he’s still just 21 years old, so it would be foolish to write him off yet. It’s strange that that team placed him on the IL with no explanation or announcement. 
    Edouard Julien I’m uncomfortable placing Edouard Julien this high on the list, but I also don’t know who would reasonably overtake him. Julien is positionless, but who cares about that when you walk 20% of the time. He has had a suspicious drop-off in power (.138 ISO this season), which could be an ominous sign of future disappointment; until that shoe drops, he’ll remain a top-10 prospect on my list.
    Cade Povich Cade Povich is probably my new favorite Twins pitching prospect. The lefty has been dominant, striking out hitters at a 32.7% clip with an average walk rate and few homers; that’s a great combination, by the way. Povich has little left to prove at A+ and will be pitching in Wichita sooner than later. Just pray that his arm doesn’t fall off.
    Marco Raya I think the hype train on Marco Raya has accelerated a touch too quickly, but I can understand why. Raya combines the top-dog mentality needed in an ace with top-tier stuff; that’s an excellent combination for a pitching prospect. The drawback remains: Raya has 36 innings over 10 appearances and just recently left a start after netting two outs. Are the Twins using kid gloves to handle him? Probably, but I need a nice, unquestionably dominant run from Raya before I move him up any further; TINSTAAP and all that jazz. 
    Cole Sands Yeah, I’m still too high on Cole Sands. His command needs tweaks that may be beyond his abilities—how many players suddenly drastically improve in their fourth year with a team—but that sweeper is what keeps Sands up here. His breaking ball is ridiculous, mimicking the great American migration of the early 1900s in how it moves from East to West with great efficiency. The rest of his profile is meh, but he’ll always have potential thanks to his vicious breaking ball.
    David Festa David Festa is the most pop-up-y pitching prospect in the system; as a 13th-round pick, he’s punching out hitters at a 30.4% mark over 54 ⅔ innings split between A and A+ ball. His status as an “un-prospect” may benefit him, as the team is less likely to baby him, instead throwing him to the wolves where he can prove his ability. Festa may reach AA this season—he’s pitched that well—and we should know more about him once he does.
    Christian Encarnacion-Strand It’s been a while since CES went berserk in April to the tune of a billion RBIs (at least that’s what it felt like). No, he’s not that good, but he is a solid hitter. Encarnacion-Strand’s beautiful slash line is .291/.357/.567, which will play in any league, which is good because he cannot field even a little bit. Errors are far from the end-all stat they used to be, but he has 21 of them in just over 400 innings at 3rd base this season; that’s bad. Being a future 1st base/DH type player curtails his upside, so his entire prospect pedigree rests on the power of his bat.
    Matt Wallner I think I was too harsh on Matt Wallner last month. I emphatically stated that a player with his strikeout numbers would need to be otherworldly in other aspects to offset the K. His response? Walk a lot. I still hold those reservations, but if his new monstrous walk rate (21.4% in June) is even slightly sticky, he has a solid shot at becoming a major league contributor. Also, he owns an absolute cannon in right field.
    Blayne Enlow Blayne Enlow is dipping his toes into the minor league waters after a missed year, so I find it difficult to evaluate him too harshly. The numbers aren’t great, but that barely matters; him just being on the mound is good enough for the moment. At some point, slack will no longer exist, but I’m okay with punting on criticizing him for now. 
    Louie Varland In a season that has been chaotic for so many players, Louie Varland chugs along like nothing is wrong. The Minnesota native’s under-the-hood stats aren’t the best—he’s walking more batters than he did in his stellar 2021 campaign—but the rest of his profile appears solid. His 68 ⅓ innings leads the entire Twins minor league system.
    Brent Headrick Brent Headrick might be the biggest under-the-radar name in the Twins system. As a late-blooming 24-year-old in A+ ball, Headrick has utterly dominated with a 2.40 ERA and a strikeout rate above 30%. It’s hard to scout prospects in this vein; I give Headrick the benefit of the doubt until/if his numbers reverse.
    Ronny Henriquez What do we make of Ronny Henriquez? Sure, he’s still just 22 years old, but there’s little to latch onto regarding his AAA play so far. It seems that the Twins are okay with letting him die at that level, given that his ERA is 6.95 and his FIP isn’t far behind (6.07). At some point, I need performance to outweigh pedigree; that needs to change soon for Henriquez.                                                                          
    Matt Canterino      I’ll try to be as diplomatic as possible: Matt Canterino has not yet shown the ability to be a consistent, innings-eating top-level arm. He recently set his single-season record for innings pitched as a professional (34 ⅓) before another elbow injury sidelined him for a significant time. I don’t see real reasons for optimism; the Rice background combined with these injuries leaves little faith in him ever becoming the big front-of-the-rotation starter we expected of him. 
    Steve Hajjar Steve Hajjar was following in the Cade Povich breakout mold until a shoulder injury in the middle of June stopped him in his tracks. Shoulder problems are not the death sentence they once were, but that ailment is still something to keep an eye on for the future.
    Sawyer Gipson-Long Sawyer Gipon-Long is shockingly similar to Brent Headrick; he is also an old-for-his-level breakout prospect looking to prove that he isn’t a fluke. The process is farther along for Gipson-Long as he recently enjoyed a promotion to AA Wichita; he has one clunker and two solid starts. The rest of the season will be essential to understand Gipson-Long more as a prospect.
    Kala’i Rosario Kala’i Rosario dropped three points off his strikeout rate since I last wrote about him, but that still leaves him at 36.0%. My view on players with a penchant for whiffing is well known; you must do something extraordinary to offset the Ks. Rosario has good power (.204 ISO) and is still just a teenager, so he still possesses the rare chance to evolve into an elite power threat.
    Michael Helman Not mentioning Michael Helman was probably my last ranking’s worst mistake. The 26-year-old has quietly hit well at every level in the minors and is now knocking on the Major’s door thanks to his 125 wRC+ at AAA. Is this just Brian Dinkelman 2.0? Maybe, and that’s not just because of how similar their last names are. Helman could debut soon if the Twins desperately smash the “break in case of emergency” glass if a few too many infielders suffer injuries.
    Brayan Medina Brayan Medina finally pitched in the Twins system for the first time this month. He’s thrown fewer than 10 innings, so who knows where he’s at in his development, but the stuff descriptions are good, so he’ll stay here until further notice.
    Aaron Sabato Aaron Sabato’s slash line is still not optimal for a great 1st base prospect. The walks are good (14.2%), but he doesn’t neutralize his strikeout tendencies with overwhelming power (.171 ISO). I remain skeptical that Sabato will develop into the type of player the Twins expected when they drafted him.
    Alerick Soularie I didn’t rank Alerick Soularie in my last write-up, but the guy put up a 144 wRC+ in June, and now here he is. His play rounded more into form; he struck out a little less, walked a little more, and ballooned his ISO from .114 to .167. If he’s genuinely backing his elite athletic ability with a more sound game, Soularie could rocket up this list.
    Misael Urbina Misael Urbina just recently popped back up in the Twins system after dealing with visa issues earlier in the year. He’s played a few games in the DSL; he’ll likely rejoin Fort Myers when he’s back in the groove. 
    Keoni Cavaco Keoni Cavaco rebounded a little bit in June (101 wRC+), but his walk and strikeout rates remain heavily lopsided, and his power does not make up for it (.151 ISO). Maybe the play improvement will aid his confidence; he needs to improve his performance before people buy back into his prospect stock.
    Jake Rucker Jake Rucker recently earned a promotion to A+ ball after holding his own with Fort Myers (100 wRC+). He’s 22 years old, so the Twins might accelerate his movement through the system; keep an eye on him in the Michael Helman under-the-radar vein. 
    Travis Adams All Travis Adams has done this season is pitch well for Fort Myers. The former 6th-round pick is crushing with a 3.10 ERA and peripherals to match. There’s still an unknown factor to his game that will only clear once he plays in A+ ball and beyond, which should be soon.
  21. Like
    Oldgoat_MN reacted to TwerkTwonkTwins for a blog entry, The Twins are Bad At Baserunning - But Does It Matter?   
    I know I'm not alone in thinking that the Twins are bad at baserunning this year. It's easy to find that they are terrible at stealing bases, as they rank 30th in both total stolen bases (14) and stolen base percentage (58%).
    After watching Nick Gordon turn errantly around first base only to get thrown out on this play, I decided to look up the numbers to see if there was a quantifiable baserunning metric beyond stolen base percentage that would prove my eyes correct.
    And boy, did the numbers confirm the eye test. According to FanGraphs, the Twins rank 28th in MLB with a -9.7 BSR (baserunning metric). Only the Washington Nationals (-10.6) and the Detroit Tigers (-12.5) have a lower team BSR. 
    The definition of BSR can be found here, but it essentially combines everything that does or doesn't happen on the base paths. These actions can include stolen bases, being caught stealing, grounding into double plays, getting thrown out, taking/not taking an extra base, and more. 
    A BSR of zero is league average, and every ten runs is equal to one additional win. The fact that the Twins have a -9.7 BSR as a team indicates that their baserunning has nearly taken off a win from their record. That's beyond awful, according to this chart. 

    Baseball Reference also has another stat called Runs From Baserunning (Rbaser). The Twins rank 29th with -7, matching what FanGraphs is reporting with BSR. Multiple sources have confirmed the Twins have some work to do when it comes to running the bases this year, and that it is impacting their run scoring.
    This raises the question: How long has baserunning been a problem, and will it hurt the Twins in the standings? 

    The answer is that the Twins' baserunning metrics have been completely random over the last few years.
    Paul Molitor stressed baserunning excellence during his time as a manager, but that didn't reflect well in the standings. The Twins were also awful at baserunning in 2019, but that didn't stop them from recording 103 wins. The 2022 Twins have been absolutely frustrating on the basepaths, but it's not strongly correlated with overall winning percentage. 
    I'm not saying you shouldn't pull your hair out when you see an out on the bases. Stolen bases are incredibly fun. But in the long grind of 162 games, there are many other factors that will contribute more heavily to the end result of a team having a successful season. Rocco and his coaching staff are going to keep rocking on instead of running on. 
  22. Like
    Oldgoat_MN reacted to cjm0926 for a blog entry, A Different Idea For Twins Catching   
    I will start it off by saying, this is just an idea, I am not saying it should or will happen. I am also not saying it is a terrible idea and it could possibly work. With that being said, here we go.
    The Twins currently have 2 very good catchers, one being Mitch Garver, a well above average batting catcher who is nearly 31 years old. The other, Ryan Jeffers, a 24 year old catcher who underperformed with his bat this past season. While neither player is an AL MVP candidate Twins are likely set for the coming years with this duo. But I recently had a thought that I will explain below.
    Mitch Garver is a beast with the bat, no doubt about it. But he is getting up there in age for a catcher, being 31 years old by next opening day. If I remember right, that is the age that Joe Mauer moved over to 1B full time. Currently, the Twins are set at first base, with Alex Kirilloff, the expected 1st Baseman for the better part of the 2020's, and Miguel Sano, who appeared to have finally figured something out towards the end of the 2021 season, holding down the position. Nobody is saying that Garver will not catch for another 5 years, but the odds are pointing against it. Garver had a career year in 2019, a horrible year in 2020, and looked to have bounced back in 2021, but was injured for a lot of it. Mitch Garver currently has a 10.9 trade rating on baseballtradevalues.com.
    Ryan Jeffers was a former highly regarded prospect within the Twins system. He debuted in 2020, hitting .273 with 3 homers in 62 Plate Appearances. However, in 2021 he took a massive step back offensively, hitting below the Mendoza line, although he showed solid power hitting 14 home runs in 293 Plate Appearances. He also struck out at a nearly 37% clip. Jeffers was drafted as a bat first catcher, but has turned into a very good defender, which is more important for a catcher than any other position, being directly involved in every play. Jeffers is rated at 19.2 on baseballtradevalues.com.
    Now, we look at the primary catchers for the 2 best teams in their own respective leagues, Travis d'Arnaud and Martin Maldonado. We will start off with d'Arnaud. He hit .220 with 7 homers in the regular season for the eventual World Series champions, the Atlanta Braves, and posted an 0.2 WAR. Maldonado for the Astros hit .172 with 12 bombs, posting a -0.1 WAR. I am not saying that just because these teams had average to below average hitting catchers with very strong defense it improved their World Series odds, but I am saying there could be something to be taken away from that.
    Catcher is the most important on the field defensively, calling pitches, controlling baserunners, aligning defense, etc. But offensively they can get away with things that other positions can't like low averages, low power, etc. which makes a lot of sense. Catching puts a lot of wear and tear on the body causing many to eventually move away from the position or retire early, like Posey and Mauer. 
    The Twins have frankly been spoiled at the position offensively since 2019, and they could try a different approach to fill other holes in 2022. The Twins have a massive need for top of the rotation type pitching, and with many 2022 offseason blueprints being posted on Twins Daily, a catcher is often in a trade to acquire said pitching. I have seen both Garver and Jeffers name thrown around in those blueprints as trade bait for a high end starter. But what if I said the Twins should trade both of them. They both have very good value and could be a solid part of a package to bring back good pitchers. Jeffers has about twice as much value according to a website, but Garver could be a huge addition to almost any team being a veteran and above average hitter. It is better to trade a low risk player away a year too early rather than a year too late. Especially with catchers and freak injuries.
    Say the Twins do trade both away, then what would we do? The Twins have Rortvedt making the league minimum and providing stellar defense, even better than Garver and Jeffers. Rortvedt's huge downside is his bat. In 2021 Rortvedt hit .169 with 3 homers in 98 Plate Appearances. He also struck out at around a 30% rate. If Rortvedt can hit around .200 and cut down the strikeouts a bit, he could become a solid catcher for years to come. That solves half of the puzzle, now what do the Twins do about the other catcher? There are many low risk, low reward catchers available in free agency this offseason that could be had for 1 or 2 year deals at very low prices. Possibly a right handed bat to platoon with Rortvedt, a lefty, like the Twins did in 2019 with Castro and Garver. Although Rortvedt and another catcher wouldn't be as nice offensively as Jeffers and Garver, it could be very nice defensively, which is what a catching tandem needs most. For a catcher 3 or 4, they can call on a guy in AAA or AA to fill in for a week or two.
    What I have noticed is that an offensive catcher is just a cherry on top, not needed, hence the Astros and Braves making the World Series with their average offensive catchers. Defense is needed much more and strong offense can only overshadow bad defense so much *cough cough Gary Sanchez*   I am also not saying the Twins are as talented as Houston or Atlanta at other positions, but filling the holes through trading the catchers could make it much closer. Although this isn't the prettiest or nicest plan to hear as a fan, it could be what is needed for the Twins to jump back into contention and fill the holes. Leave a comment on what you think about this, and don't be afraid to say if you think its garbage, just have some reasoning and I'll happily discuss. Thank you for reading.
  23. Like
    Oldgoat_MN reacted to Danchat for a blog entry, 2021 Prospect Rankings: 1-8   
    #8 - Matt Wallner OF (1st Round 2019, Southern Miss)
    Another bat-first prospect, Wallner has some serious power behind his bat after hitting 58 HRs at Southern Mississippi (in just 872 PAs!). He did alright at Elizabethton, and his main concern as a hitter will be limiting the strikeouts. Defensively he's a subpar runner and will be limited to corner OF, if not 1B. He also pitched part-time in college, which means he's got the arm to throw out runners.
    #7 - Brent Rooker 1B (1st Round 2017, Miss State)
    Rooker's very similar to Sabato and Wallner, but unlike them, he's ready to play in the majors. He did well in his first week of games in the majors before fracturing his wrist on a pitch, and we saw a glimpse into his upside. He's got the power to hit 25+ HRs a season and his batting average did not suffer much in the minors. Strikeouts will be a concern, as he had a dangerously high 33.8% strikeout rate at AAA. Despite that he still hit .928 OPS with a super strong .399 OBP. Defensively, he really shouldn't be playing in the outfield. He hasn't played a ton of 1B, but hopefully he's given plenty of practice there because that would be an ideal place to end up. Otherwise he'll be a DH his whole career.
    #6 - Jordan Balazovic RHP (5th Round 2016, HS)
    The Twins have gone through a drought of starting pitcher prospects for at least 10 years, and have been desperate to get a guy like Balazovic up and going. He mowed through Fort Myers A+ in 2019 with a strong 2.84 ERA, a phenomenal K/9 rate (11.8) without a bad BB/9 rate (2.6). He uses a strong mix of a 94-95 MPH fastball that acts a sinker, and sprinkles in similar-looking curveballs and sliders. He needs to get more innings under his belt and I don't think he profiles as a #1 or #2 starter, but he has a clean injury history and he'll likely be starting in AA at the young age of 21. Balazovic has a bright future in the big leagues if he continues down the path he's headed.
    #5 - Jhoan Duran RHP (International from Dominican Republic, acquired in 2018 trade)
    The top pitching prospect, Duran turned his career around once arriving in the Twins organization, going from a #20-30 prospect in Arizona to top-tier prospect. Duran's fastball has sped up the past couple season, sitting in the upper 90s and he'll hit 100 every once in a while. His secondary pitch is a splitter that can hit 94, and consistently fool hitters with its fastball-speed. His command can be a bit shaky at times, but that's even been a huge problem for him. Duran does have the toolset to be a dynamite reliever, but he's successfully pitched a starter's workload in the minors and should land in the rotation. Perhaps he pitches in the Twins' bullpen down the stretch in 2021 as his first dip into the MLB pool.
    #4 - Royce Lewis SS (1st Round 2017, HS)
    Most prospect rankers won't agree with this, but I'm not as high on Lewis as most are. The first overall draft pick in 2017, Lewis had very strong 2017 and 2018 seasons, but he hit poorly in 2019 at A+ and AA. He was promoted to AA despite hitting .665 OPS, and proceeded to hit .649 OPS there. Critics have pointed out that Lewis' swing does not look good and his approach at the plate needs heavy refinement, and his pitch recognition is currently poor. He's still young, turning 22 this summer, but I don't think he's particularly close to being MLB-ready. There has also been debate about whether he will end up at SS or CF, as he has the raw speed to handle both. This ranking has mostly been negative, but Royce has the potential to become a talented hitter with 60-65 power potential and has the highest ceiling of any prospect on this team. I just get the sense that Lewis will become a hitter whose approach at the plate won't click until Year 4 or 5 of his career.
    #3 - Alex Kiriloff OF (1st Round 2016, HS)
    The Twins are poised to make Kiriloff their starting LF in 2021, and it's not hard to see why. He has a career .317 batting average in the minors, and that's no fluke. Scouts rave about his ability to make consistent contact on tough pitches, he has has some serious power behind his swing, with the potential for 20+ HRs a year. Kiriloff's focus on contact has kept the number of walks low, but that's not a big concern if he hits > .300. He's had a couple of wrist injuries and missed the entire 2017 season. Defensively Kiriloff is one of the lower prospects on this list, and while he has a good glove and a great arm, he may end up at 1B. Hopefully his bat will end up somehwere in the #2-4 spot in the lineup one day.
    #2 - Ryan Jeffers C (2nd Round 2018, UNC Wilmington)
    This is probably the highest you've ever seen Jeffers on a prospect ranking, but I am comfortable putting him this high. Good catching prospects are rare, and Jeffers is the entire package. He was yet another 'questionable draft pick' in the 2nd round, but the Twins organization sculpted him into one of the best defensive backstops in the minor leagues after initial scouting reports claimed he wouldn't be able to stay at catcher. He ranked as a top-notch pitch framer, and showed as much in his 26 game debut in 2020. His bat was always his calling card, and it didn't disappoint in the minors with a very strong (.296/.383/.453 .836 OPS). He'll take a lot of walks and has the potential for more power. Jeffers is ready to graduate off this list and will push for the starting role as the Twins' catcher.
    #1 - Trevor Larnach OF (1st Round 2018, Oregon State)
    I conclude with another bat-first position player, of whom has the best minor league track record to this point. Larnach covered 4 levels of the minor leagues through only two years (2018-19) and held his own at every level, never dipping below a .295 batting average or .840 OPS. In total he's recorded a (.307/.385/.468) triple slash, and that's even with only 18 HRs in that stretch. He's got more power in that bat, no doubt. Larnach will take plenty of walks too, as his K/BB ratio was very healthy too. Defensively he's a bit on the slower side, but I think he will work as a RF with a decent glove and strong arm. Once he figures out the big leagues, Larnach is a hitter whose name should be penned into the #3 spot in the lineup and be let loose to rake to his heart's content.
    I will add one more blog post soon going over my formula of how these rankings were calculated. Until then, let me know what you think!
  24. Like
    Oldgoat_MN reacted to mikelink45 for a blog entry, What works with a pandemic?   
    One of the most interesting thing I have found in researching the virus and the Spanish Flu is this article on the affect of social distancing? https://qz.com/1816060/a-chart-of-the-1918-spanish-flu-shows-why-social-distancing-works/
    For baseball fans who like to look at charts and graphs this is a really good study of St Louis and Philadelphia during the 1918 epidemic.
    "The extreme measures—now known as social distancing, which is being called for by global health agencies to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus—kept per capita flu-related deaths in St. Louis to less than half of those in Philadelphia, according to a 2007 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."
    “I think the critical lesson from both the modeling and the historical work is that the benefits of multiple interventions are greatest if they are introduced early (before 1% of the population is infected) and maintained,” wrote Hatchett, who has also directed medical preparedness in the Obama White House."
    The history channel describes a very similar tactic to what the states are trying to do now, "The 1918 flu was first observed in Europe, the United States and parts of Asia before swiftly spreading around the world. At the time, there were no effective drugs or vaccines to treat this killer flu strain. Citizens were ordered to wear masks, schools, theaters and businesses were shuttered and bodies piled up in makeshift morgues before the virus ended its deadly global march."
    Should we think 2 weeks or a month is going to take care of us, here is another quote from the History.com, "The first wave of the 1918 pandemic occurred in the spring and was generally mild. The sick, who experienced such typical flu symptoms as chills, fever and fatigue, usually recovered after several days, and the number of reported deaths was low.
    "However, a second, highly contagious wave of influenza appeared with a vengeance in the fall of that same year. Victims died within hours or days of developing symptoms, their skin turning blue and their lungs filling with fluid that caused them to suffocate. In just one year, 1918, the average life expectancy in America plummeted by a dozen years."
    Why was it called Spanish Flu? "By 11 March 1918, the virus had reached Queens, New York. ... The Allies of World War I came to call it the Spanish flu, primarily because the pandemic received greater press attention after it moved from France to Spain in November 1918. Spain was not involved in the war and had not imposed wartime censorship."
    So do we assume that once the summer comes and the seasons change that we are done? No. "The second wave of the 1918 pandemic was much deadlier than the first. The first wave had resembled typical flu epidemics; those most at risk were the sick and elderly, while younger, healthier people recovered easily. By August, when the second wave began in France, Sierra Leone, and the United States,[93] the virus had mutated to a much deadlier form. October 1918 was the deadliest month of the whole pandemic."
    Sports Illustrated described - "There’s a face mask on the hitter, the bench and the crowd. Underneath their standard equipment, the umpire and catcher have them, too.
    "This is how the Pasadena Merchants and Standard-Murphys played a game in the Southern California Winter League on January 26, 1919."
    "The 2016 Marlins-Pirates series in Puerto Rico, which was moved to Miami due to Zika virus."
    In 1909 " as typhoid fever spread in California, the San Francisco Examiner ran the front-page headline “Epidemic Threatens to Ruin Ball Team” as the Pacific Coast League saw several players fall sick at once. The illness-related charity games have evolved with the times, too: The St. Louis Cardinals had an annual “Tuberculosis Day” game for more than two decades, and years later, President Eisenhower declared “Baseball Polio Day,” when MLB games were used to raise money for the disease on July 4, 1957."
    We think of our athletes as men of good health and conditioning, but we have the following list of players who died during their career - only two from flu. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_baseball_players_who_died_during_their_careers
    And finally for Twins fans there is this February 20 LA Times article that tells about Brusdar Graterol overcoming the flu - https://www.latimes.com/sports/dodgers/story/2020-02-20/dodgers-brusdar-graterol-over-flu-100-mph-fastball
  25. Like
    Oldgoat_MN reacted to Steven Buhr for a blog entry, Bet On It! Part 3   
    It has been over a month since we checked in on the MLB “Futures” at the William Hill and Elite sportsbooks and with spring training now well underway, it seems like a good time to see how the betting odds for the Twins (and others) are looking.
    Of course, even if I see something really interesting, it won’t do me any good right now since I’m in Florida at least through the end of the month and the Sunshine State has not legalized sports betting, yet. So, while I can look up odds at the two booking sites I subscribe to, I can’t actually place any bets until I get back in Iowa.
    Then again, with my inability to accurately predict college basketball games, that’s probably a good thing.
    First, let’s take a look at an updated version of the chart outlining the Twins’ odds to succeed at various levels in 2020.
    A couple of things jump out at us here and they’re mostly reflective of the folks at William Hill coming around to thinking the Twins might be better than originally thought.
    William Hill’s odds on the Twins to win the American League pennant and the World Series have continued to drop.
    Before the Twins signed Josh Donaldson, William Hill had the Twins at 12-1 and 22-1 to win the AL and World Series, respectively. Those numbers have improved to where they stand at 7-1 and 14-1 now. Interestingly, while Elite has adjusted their line on a Twins AL pennant from 10-1 to 8-1, they continue to see them as 20-1 longshots to win WS rings.
    Overall, I’m feeling pretty good about booking my bets on the Twins to win the AL at 11-1 and the Series at 22-1. Now, all I need is for the guys to actually, you know, win!
    Both books have increased the over/under on Twins regular season wins by one win since the end of January, with William Hill still projecting one more win than Elite does.
    A few other interesting notes, just glancing at the differences between the two sportsbook sites:
    Like everyone, they both like the Yankees to win it all. You get just a little above even money on the Yankees to win the AL pennant and a bit better than 3-1 odds on a bet to win the WS. There are so many other good teams that those odds don’t seem worthwhile to me. Let the Yankee fans feed the rest of us.
    If you think the Astros can overcome their issues and ride their “us against the world” mentality into a repeat championship, you want to look at William Hill where you can get 9-1 odds on a Houston title. Elite is offering just 5-1 on the ‘stros. Both are third on the list behind the Yankees and Dodgers (3-1 WmH & 4-1 Elite).
    In the last article, we saw a huge discrepancy between the two sites where the Red Sox were concerned. WmH had them at 12-1 to win the AL, while Elite had them at 5-1.
    Man, the people who took that 5-1 bet are kicking themselves. They’ve become 18-1 at WmHill and 12-1 at Elite.
    We also looked in on the Angels last time, when Elite was offering 17-1 odds on winning the AL and an almost irresistible 35-1 odds to win the Series (at least it was irresistible to me). That’s come down to 14-1 to win the AL and 30-1 on the WS now. The odds have remained at 10-1 (AL) and 18-1 (WS) at WmH.
    How about that pesky team in Cleveland? They were getting 7-1 at Elite and 14-1 at WmH to win the AL last we checked in. Today, they’re at 12-1 at Elite, while remaining at 14-1 at WmH.
    Looking at the American League Central race, while both sites have the Twins as favorites and the same predicted order of finish, there are some differences in the odds.
    Cleveland gets just +120 to win the ALC at Elite, but 3-1 odds at WmH.
    The White Sox get nearly identical lines (+350 Elite and +325 WmH). Of note, that puts Cleveland and Chicago in a virtual dead heat for the second spot in the Central, according to WmH.
    I had to check the Royals lines several times to believe what I was seeing. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a discrepancy between the two sportsbooks like Kansas City’s odds to win the AL Central.
    Elite set the line at +750. That’s 15-2 (or 7 1/2 – 1). But WmH will give you 60-1 odds on a Royals division championship. Now, I don’t see any way in hell the Royals win the AL Central, so maybe the odds don’t matter. But, still, that’s an incredible difference and a prime example of why you always want to shop around. Imaging being the Royals fan who decided to put a few bucks on their favorite team at Elite, only to later find out they could have gotten 60-1 odds at WmH.
    The Tigers, of course, pull up the back end of the division, getting 125-1 odds at Elite and 300-1 at WmH.
    Interestingly, Elite has Cleveland and Minnesota both at 20-1 to win the World Series (along with Milwaukee and Philadelphia at the same odds, placing them tied for 10th on the list of WS favorites). WmHill likes the Twins twice as much as Cleveland, though. While the Twins are at 14-1, Cleveland is at 28-1.
    William Hill has set some additional prop bets that weren’t out there before, such as pitting two teams against one another in a race to see which will win 30 games first.
    For instance, you can bet on whether the Twins or Braves will reach 30 Ws first. Braves are even odds, Twins at -120.
    When you shift to Twins vs Astros on the same bet, the Astros are favorites at -130, while the Twins get you +110.
    The Twins are favored to get to 30 before the A’s. Twins paying -125, while Oakland gets +105.
    Are you tired of RBIs not being a meaningful offensive statistic? Put a little money on Nelson Cruz to be the MLB leader in ribbies at 15-1 odds. Or go crazy and take Josh Donaldson at 60-1. Eddie Rosario & Miguel Sano both list at 100-1.
    Jorge Polanco will get you 28-1 odds if he finishes as the MLB leader in hits.
    What will it take to lead the Majors in home runs this season? Is the ball still juiced or will it be deadened? The over/under is set at 50 1/2 bombas.
    Think Jose Berrios is going to become the ace we’ve been waiting for? Go get the 40-1 odds being offered on Berrios being the MLB ERA leader.
    So many options. How will I possibly be able to wait three weeks before I can throw my money away on them?
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