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  1. Incorrect
    RpR reacted to stringer bell for a blog entry, Where We Stack Up   
    As I occasionally do, I checked MLB statistics today. I wanted to see how the team stacked up to the rest of Major League Baseball. Most teams have played about 10 games, so we have an idea of trends, although some things are out of whack. Baltimore has good pitching? Cleveland has the top team BA in the American League? Nah, those things won't last. What about the Twins? Well, with a 4-6 record and and -6 run differential, I figured the Twins would profile poorly on offense and middle of the road on the run prevention side, Here's what I found.
    Pitching. Far from a disaster, but not league average. The Twins are 20th (of 30) in team ERA and 15th in runs per game. That difference is explained by only allowing three unearned runs despite 8 errors in 10 games. They haven't played any extra inning games and unearned runs really happen there due to the "ghost runner". Other stats--23rd in walks per nine innings, 21st in strikeouts per nine innings, 15th in Opponents Batting Average and 20th in WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched). The starting staff has been better than expected, but the bullpen ERA is over 4.50. This looks like pretty good luck to this point--they're allowing more balls than average to be put in play, walking more than league average and still at the median for allowing base runners and runs.
    Hitting. The only stat where the Twins are significantly better than league average is home runs. They are sixth in the league in homers per plate appearance. Other key stats--third in strikeouts per plate appearance, 25th in team OPS, 22nd in runs per game. Hitters are more predictable and projectable that pitchers. The Twins have been projected to be a good offensive team, probably enough to make up for their pitching deficiencies and hang around .500, so far that isn't the case. 
    To summarize, it is early. The offense has been a major disappointment, but will improve. Pitching has been better than expected, but there are some number that predict a downturn. After playing three straight 90-win teams (from 2021), the Twins will face a less daunting schedule in the upcoming weeks. Hopefully, the record and stats improve over that time.
  2. Like
    RpR reacted to Sherry Cerny for a blog entry, That's Baseball...   
    This morning I was woken up to, “I know your alarm is set for 8:30, but you need to wake up and see who you just signed for three years, $105mm.” I sleepily sat up as the name Carlos Correa was uttered, and I rolled over to check my phone, which had 105 notifications from Twitter, texts, and various news outlets. I am not a morning person, so waking up and being slammed with big news was not the way to start my day. 
    Since coming back from the lockout, the Minnesota Twins have made some wild trades. It hasn’t felt like the usual off-season Twins front office with the acquisitions made.  The front office is actually making moves, and shocking moves at that. The first shock was trading out Mitch Garver to the Texas Rangers for shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa and minor league righthander Ronny Henriquez. Not a blockbuster deal by any means, but for fans who are attached to players, seeing Garver traded was a slap in the face. 
    Kiner-Falefa wasn’t with the Twins that long. The front office pulled a double-play and traded Kiner-Falefa, Ben Rortvedt, and fan-favorite Josh Donaldson to the Yankees for Gary Sanchez and third baseman Gio Urshela. To say the fan base was shocked is an understatement, more like gobsmacked. Sanchez has been a liability both at and behind the plate since 2018. So when the front office decided to keep Sanchez instead of using him in a trade, the fans were less than pleased. The Twins also signed a deal with Chi Chi Gonzales and picked up catcher Jose Godoy.
    The tornado of trades and the deafening silence after made Twins fans nervous. The Twins, not having a full roster of starting pitching and no shortstop, left rumors about Frankie Montras, Trevor Story, and Sean Manea in talks eating at the fans. We shed tons of players and salary, so what were we waiting on the front office to do? Free agents continued to sign with other teams, and it was beginning to feel like just a typical year in the Twins front office, clear salary and doing nothing. 
    That all changed in the early morning of Saturday, March 19th, when Mark Berman from Fox 26 in Houston, that the Twins had a deal with Houston Astros shortstop, Carlos Correa. 
    Twitter had spent six hours in excitement and losing their minds before I even was ‘scheduled’ to be awake. The one part of the acquisition I liked was that Houston and Yankees fans were both highly agitated and that was almost enough to make the contract worth it!
    Once, I could sound off a couple of foul-mouthed tweets trying to figure out where this came from, considering I went to sleep praying that we would get some information on Trevor Story; I was majorly confused. The Twins made a HUGE acquisition, but they also pulled some considerable rabbit out of their “I’ll show you” hat either to 1. prove they could pay that much for someone, or 2. wanted fans to be proud of them, which they did both. But not all fans. It’s me; I’m that fan. 
    I take baseball very seriously. It’s personal to me for many reasons, so when we pulled a player from the 2017 Astros, I was not too fond of it. The 2017 Astros not only cheated to win the World Series but also received immunity and not a single punishment. That felt like an injustice to baseball, and I have written off the players and the team. Everything that I loathed about that time was staring directly at me, including my moral compass about being a baseball fan and happy for my team. 
    I am not a fan of Correa. I am still upset that he would insult the game like that. I know teams cheat; I am not naïve or blind; I was frustrated with how Major League Baseball and the Commissioner handled everything. It took me a few moments and rambling conversations in the shower while I got dressed and with my group chat. My group chat consists of avid female Twins fans from everywhere. While I was supportive online, I was honest about my frustration in my group, and one friend chimed in and made a good point, “The cheating isn’t allowed in this Twins culture, and once players leave Houston, the stigma tends to be to leave as well. This [sic] (being with the Twins) is the Carlos Correa Redemption Tour.” I liked that; it means that I don’t have to like Correa or the trade, but it gives me a mindset to be good support for my followers and other fans. 
    There is no doubt at all that Correa’s numbers are good. They are downright impressive. 2017 was also a long time ago. It may take me a while to get there, but I did say this morning, and I will say again, “if he has changed and he is good for the boys, and they are happy, then I am happy for everyone else.” Being a fan of a team means being objective and also wanting to win championships, and I believe that is what the Twins front office is trying to do. 
    Carlos Correa agrees to 3-year/$105.3M contract with Twins | SportsCenter
    I am happy and impressed that we have pulled a player like Correa, but we still need starting pitchers. We are going to have to concede some pieces for that to happen. I wish we would have gotten pitching and then a shortstop, but now that we have the big piece, we need to continue building around that, and thinking about what will come from that is unnerving, because it’s clear, the Twins front  office isn’t done. 
    So while I am excited to see what we can do or choose to do with starting pitching, I also know that there will be a sacrifice in players who made the same fans this morning who were happy…extremely upset. You have to take the good with the bad, the attachments with the releases, and the business with the emotions. 
    That’s baseball. 
  3. WTF
    RpR reacted to Franz for a blog entry, Bring on the kids   
    In my first-ever blog entry, I implied that the Twins couldn't compete for a playoff spot. Moreover, I think they shouldn't worry about it. However, I don't think that means they have to give up on playing competitive baseball...putting a team on the field that fans are willing, even eager to watch. Nothing would make me happier than to watch some high-level prospects test themselves against major league pitchers and hitters. Besides, it gives the team a chance to test the limits of their young talent. Jose Miranda hit 30 homers last year at two different levels in an abbreviated season...so what does he have left to prove there? Why not see how that translates to the bigs, and at the same time let him show if his glove will play.
    So, my preferred veteran core is:
    Byron Buxton - CF - Signed through 2028 Jorge Polanco - 2B - Signed through 2025 (including team option) Josh Donaldson - 3B - Signed through 2024 (including team option) Mitch Garver - C - Arbitration eligible through 2023 Miguel Sano - DH - Signed through 2023 (including team option) That leaves four positions to fill, plus (in this day of crowded bullpens) at least three spots for capable backups. For the purpose of this exercise, I'm going to ignore the 40 man roster and assume no trades or free agent signings occur before the start of the season. Ages listed below are for opening day.
    LF - Austin Martin (23) By most accounts Austin Martin's bat is ready, while his glove may never be adequate for SS. His games were about equally split between SS and CF last year, and with CF blocked by Buxton, why not make the transition now. I've got two real reaches in this lineup (see also SS below), and I'm not expecting Martin to be on the opening day roster; he has only 418 professional plate appearances and will turn 23 just before opening day. That said, I think there is a real need to get him significant experience in the bigs this year. RF - Alex Kirilloff (24) Check the spelling twice, and make sure that name is written into the lineup as much as possible. Obviously Kirilloff's spot on the roster is secure after last year's showing, and while many have him slotted in as our first baseman of the future, I would prefer to see him get a serious look in the outfield during 2022 and start learning the finer points of playing bounces off the limestone in RF. Given our prospective pitching staff, there will be plenty of them. Why not Max Kepler, you ask? I haven't given up on Max, but I firmly believe that it is best to give a young player the majority of his games at a single position, giving him one (or two!) less things to worry about. So let's first see if Kirilloff has the speed and arm to play that RF spot. SS - Nick Gordon (26) It's time for the Twins to either give Gordon a chance to stick at SS or move him. Pressed into service last year in CF, Gordon performed credibly, but surely they would like to see him as a SS after giving him most of his AAA games at the position in 2018 and 2019. He was a feel-good story (for part of) last year, but let's face it, he doesn't carry the bat to maintain an outfield position or 2B, where he is blocked anyway by a host of young OF's or by All Star Jorge Polanco. I think if you had asked the Twins in late 2019 who would be the opening day SS in 2022, they would have picked Royce Lewis. I certainly would have. However, with Lewis first losing 2020 to the pandemic and then losing 2021 to a torn ACL, I can't make a case where he is ready play at the major league level until he has at least seen significant innings at AA. Here's hoping his physical rehab from injury has gone well and he's ready to roar out of the gates and press Gordon (or whoever) for playing time by the second half of 2022. 1B - Jose Miranda (23) What more is there to prove at AAA? Miranda shouldn't be expected to duplicate (or even approximate) 2021 .973 OPS. But that's what this 'development' year is for...so these players can face major league pitching and learn to deal with the travel, the grind, the ups and downs of a 162 game season. With the versatility to spell Donaldson at 3B and Polanco at 2B, all Miranda needs to do at 1B is be a better fielder than Miguel Sano. It shouldn't take too long to see if that's the case. Backup C - Ryan Jeffers (24) There is no guarantee that the Twins sign Mitch Garver beyond 2023, and it's even less likely Garver would still be playing catcher in 2024 at age 33. Jeffers was a head-turner in 2020 and a head-scratcher in 2021, but I think it's reasonable to believe that he will take what he learned last year and turn himself into a better hitter. Unfortunately he and Garver both bat right handed. Much as I would hate to say goodbye to Garver's heart and intensity, I suspect he could draw attention (and a reasonable return) as a trade candidate by mid-season 2022, clearing the way for a future platoon of Jeffers and Ben Rortvedt. Backup OF - Max Kepler I'll come right out and say I'm not a big believer in super-utility players. Max can play all the OF positions and as the 4th OF he should get as many games as any of the regulars. Barring any long-term injuries, Rocco Baldelli will still rest the regulars 1-2 times per week, and Kepler should have the maturity to take the role in stride.  Backup IF - Luis Arraez Yes, Arraez can play three infield positions, and corner outfield in a pinch. No, he's not going to win any games for you with his glove. But it's worth spotting a sub-par infielder in the lineup to give everybody a rest, particularly if he can produce runs. Arraez can also take Sano's spot as DH against tough righties. What is lacking in the above line-up? First of all, spots for Rooker and Larnach. I'm not a big believer in drafting relatively unathletic, hit-first prospects that are immediately relegated to the "we think he can play some corner OF, or perhaps 1B" log-jam. I don't track options closely but I assume both of these guys can ride the St Paul shuttle bus for another year in case of injuries. I don't think either of them should factor into the Twins' long term plans unless or until they show they can crush in the minors...and I mean 2021 Miranda-type numbers. Second, there is no reasonable backup shortstop without sliding Polanco over and slotting in Miranda or Arraez in his place, though I guess Martin could be pressed into service in an emergency. I guess that's the price you pay for a shortened bench (and a lengthened bullpen).
    If you made it this far into my babbling, thanks for reading. I'm mostly writing this to sharpen my own thoughts and to pass the time on cold winter days now that the Minnesota pheasant season is over. But I'd love to hear your comments and critiques of my opinions.
  4. WTF
    RpR reacted to stringer bell for a blog entry, Settling in at Shortstop   
    The Minnesota Twins are completing one of their most disappointing seasons in their history in one week. While they will only win around 70 games, they have major league talent under team control at every position except one--shortstop. Andrelton Simmons was acquired on a one-year deal and has shown himself to be a competent (not all-world) defender and has had a putrid offensive season. The consensus at this site is that he should not and will not return in 2022. By all measures, the 2021 Simmons has been among the worst hitters in MLB. Good luck elsewhere Simba. It didn't work out in Minnesota.
    Who replaces Simmons as the everyday SS next year? I think the question is interesting. The Twins can go several different directions, including moving Jorge Polanco back to short. I would think that any shortstop decision has to be made with an eye on some of the Twins top prospects. Royce Lewis will miss all of 2021 following knee surgery. Lewis has the potential to be the kind of five-tool star that Byron Buxton has teased us with when he has been healthy. Lewis also has a minor league resume that is considerably short of his potential and there are murmurs that he won't end up as a shortstop. Another top prospect is Austin Martin, obtained in the José Berríos trade, He also has a history at shortstop, but exclusively played outfield for Wichita since he was acquired by the Twins. Martin seems to have a much more refined hit tool than Lewis, with a high OBP and relatively low strikeouts. He hasn't demonstrated big power in the minors, however. Do the Twins believe either of these guys will be their everyday shortstop next year? I really doubt it. Lewis has almost no experience in the high minors and has essentially missed two years of baseball and while it is quite likely that Martin will make his major league debut next season, his most likely position will be outfield. A third minor league option is Wichita's regular shortstop this season, Jermaine Palacios. He has had a power surge and has been a shortstop through his minor league career. Could he make the jump? At least to start 2022, I think all three guys are longshots to even be on the major league roster.
    Of course, there are two possible candidates on the big league roster. Polanco has almost 500 games played at short, and while he isn't league average with the leather, he is a proven hitter. Nick Gordon has impressed, but despite playing a lot of shortstop in the minors, he's only logged 43 innings at short in this, his rookie year, with the Twins. Again, I have my doubts. However, I think the readiness of a replacement from the organization is the key to determining what type of player the Twins will seek to fill the void at shortstop.
    If they are convinced that one of their prospects will be an everyday shortstop in the majors by 2023, then the focus would be on more of a stopgap player, perhaps someone who might start the season as a regular, but could evolve into a utility player. If the feeling is that none of the prospects in the high minors can cut it as an everyday shortstop by 2023, then they have to sign someone with a bit more permanence. Signing someone from outside the organization for more than one year also would seem to create a glut of major league players. Sano and Kirilloff at first, Polanco, Arraez and Gordon at second, Donaldson at third with also Arraez capable at the hot corner. Add in that their near-certain Minor League Player of the Year, Jose Miranda, can fill first second and third and there seems to be too many players for the infield and DH positions. 
    One additional thought--while he didn't get much love from Twins fans, I think the Twins missed Ehire Adrianza, or at least someone who could fill the role of Adrianza. Moving Polanco to shortstop whenever Simmons was hit for or had a day off seemed to disrupt the entire infield. Having a true backup shortstop who could fill in at other positions would have been a good thing for the Twins' roster. Having such a player in addition to Adrianza and Gordon might make the position player part of the roster very crowded. The frontline defense for the Twins was pretty good, but it seemed whenever a starter was subbed out, it would be for an inferior defender, sometimes weakening more than one position.
    I think that there is enough talent on the position player side for the Twins to contend, perhaps as soon as next year. To achieve the dream of contending, they would have to come up with pitching, but the late-season performances of Ryan and Ober offer hope that they might be pieces of the puzzle next year and that the minor leagues could possibly start producing good quality pitching from within the organization. 
    There are decisions to be made. I don't see any clear path to solving the shortstop position problem, but there have to be answers somewhere. Falvey and Levine need to make the right choices in several areas to help bring the club back. Their jobs may depend on the choices they make.

  5. Like
    RpR reacted to BaseballGenius123 for a blog entry, Why Am I a Twins Fan, And a Little About Myself   
    This post will be about why I am a Twins fan and some memories of the Twins, and a little about me. My name is Levi Hansen, I am 24 years old and I am from Rochester, Minnesota. I went to high school at Mayo High School and graduated in 2016. When I was in high school I knew that after I graduated I wanted to go to college and major in something that involved sports, but I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to go for. My senior year I decided I wanted to go to school and major in Athletic Training, after a couple years of doing this I found out that this wasn’t right for me, so I switched my major to Mass Communications, I graduated from Rochester Community and Technical College for my Associates Degree this last Spring Semester after I was done with my internship. For my internship I did play-by-play for the Yellowjackets at Rochester Community and Technical College men’s and women’s basketball team’s. At first I was really scared to do play-by-play because I am not a huge basketball fan in general, but halfway through the season the Athletic Director at school stopped me in the hallway after one of the games and told me that an assistant coach from one of the team’s really enjoyed listening to my play-by-play announcing, but the one thing I could change is to say the player’s names more instead of saying the jersey number. At the end of season I was really mad because I think I improved a lot throughout the season and I didn’t want the season to end.
    I think I got the love of sports, mostly baseball and football from my father, both my parents are from Trempealeau, Wisconsin, my dad grew up a huge Vikings fan, and when my mom was pregnant with me my dad would read the sports section of the newspaper to my mom’s growing stomach. I like to thank my dad for doing that because I love my Minnesota Twins no matter if they are one of the best teams in the regular season and sadly 0-18 in the last 18 playoff games, or if they are having a disappointing season like they are having this season. Ever since I was in Kindergarten my dad would ask myself, along with my younger brother and sister if we wanted to play youth sports, I played baseball, football, from Kindergarten thru my freshman year of high school and I wrestled from Kindergarten thru my 8th grade year, I truly miss playing all these sports. I also did Boy Scouts for a couple years and they would do a fun night at the Metrodome watching the Twins game and have some fun activities and at the end of the night the Boy Scouts could sleep on the turf. Those times were very fun.
    All good things come to an end. I decided I didn’t want to play football anymore after my freshman year, and I wasn’t good enough to make the high school team my freshman year, the players wanted me to stay and be the student manager my Sophomore year, I knew this was an easy choice I ended up managing the baseball team my sophomore year through my senior year for the baseball team and I ended up managing the football team my senior year both of them were so much fun being around a good group of guys and some good coaches. A little story. The Twins drafted Bradley Mathiowetz in the 2014 draft in one of the later rounds. Bradley was a couple years older than me in high school. I thought that was pretty cool that I went to high school and knew a Twins draftee either  though he ended up not signing. Bradley ended up being Mr. Baseball for Minnesota in 2014, Bradley was a treat to watch it seemed he hit a home run every at bat and he was a pretty great defensive catcher as well.
    Over my 24 years of being a Twins fan, there have been several good players, however my favorite Twins fan of all time is power hitting, gods defensive first basemen Justin Morneau. I think Justin could’ve been in the Hall Of Fame if it wasn’t for all the concussions he suffered while playing the game tough. Justin ended his playing career with 1,545 games played, 5,699 at- bats, 247 Home Runs with a .281 Batting Average, those are pretty good career numbers if you ask me. There was a time I got to meet Justin Morneau at the Metrodome. Years ago there was a reading contest through Cub Foods and people had to read a certain number of minutes to meet Justin, I completed the assignment not because I love to read (I only like to read sports books.) It was because I wanted to meet my favorite player. I remember going through the line as a little kid telling him he was my favorite player it was very fun meeting my favorite player. 
    The year 2020 was a very sad year with COVID making the world a not so very fun place to live. Spring Training was cut short because of it. When I heard there might not be baseball played last year I felt sick to my stomach and didn’t know what to do in my free time. When there wasn’t any baseball I found some fun baseball podcasts to listen to, I really enjoy Nash Walker’s podcasts and really like Aaron Gleeman and John Bonnes’s podcasts both podcasts are a treat to listen to, another podcast I love listening to are Twins Daily offseason podcasts. If there is ever a time that I could join a Twins Daily offseason podcast it would be so fun. I like listening to the podcasts because I just really like listening to people’s takes on my favorite sports team, most of their takes I agree with but, some I don’t. I wanted to pick up my blog I took a break off from writing on Twins Daily, but a couple months ago I stated blogging again. I love to blog on Twins Daily because I can write whatever comes to mind about the Twins, and people can comment on posts. When I found out there was going to be baseball, but only 60 games, without any fans I was really happy that ”America’s Favorite Pastime” was coming back. Other Twins fans can follow me on Twitter my handle is LeviHansen11
    Hopefully you guys like this post. My next post will be about the trades the Twins made at the trade deadline and if I like them or not. 
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