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Seth Stohs

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  1. Like
    Seth Stohs reacted to ashbury for a blog entry, Scorpions Stomp Solar Sox   
    Thursday afternoon's game in Mesa was marred by an injury to Matt Wallner due to an errant pitch high and inside.  I wrote up what I know here.  I find it disquieting that we have not quickly heard a simple "X-rays proved negative" by mid-evening.  The 11-4 drubbing administered to the home Solar Sox by our Twins' Scottsdale Scorpions pales in comparison to the concern I have for Matt, but here is my game summary from a Twins fan perspective.
    In attendance along with me at Sloan Park was Twins Daily stalwart USAFChief.  Perhaps there were other luminaries in attendance, but this was enough star power for me!
    Wallner was the only Twins representative in the batting order, playing in RF.  In terms of fielding, he handled a routine fly out and dealt capably with the base hits in his direction.  As for his work at bat... after striking out to end the first inning, he launched a no-doubter HR to left center to lead off the third, off of Oakland pitching prospect Jeff Criswell (presumably no relation to the famed narrator of Plan Nine From Outer Space).  Two innings later, he came to bat again and on 2-0 was hit in the leg on the bounce by a 55-foot pitch that I'll assume to be a curve that got away from Criswell, still in the game for the last of his four innings of work.  I thought nothing of it at the moment,  but then the next inning Wallner faced a different pitcher, Hogan Harris also of the A's, and I really, really, really hope this was nothing more than a coincidence - the two HBP had little in common in terms of the kind of pitch, and the second one occurred on a 1-2 count which is not a typical situation for a purpose pitch - but in the box score they all look the same.  Wallner headed straight to the dugout after the 95-MPH beaning, not taking even a step toward the base he was being awarded.  After the third out he was escorted across the field, walking under his own power and seemingly steadily, to the left field corner where presumably medical attention was to be had.  Here is a photo of him, a pitch or two before the fateful one:

    The only Twins farmhand to pitch was Zach Featherstone.  As with Laweryson yesterday, the fastballs I saw were low-90s at best, but his mix of pitches was effective and his body of work in the eighth inning was a clean 1-2-3, with two swinging strikeouts after a harmless fly to left.  (Chief noted that, what with Funderburk also, the Twins apparently are cornering the market on three-syllable pitcher names.  Maybe it's the new market inefficiency.)
    The layout of the ballpark allows fans to wander over toward the bullpen and observe pitchers warming up from a vantage point above them, and here is a shot of Zach before he came into the game:

    These are the only Twins tidbits to offer from the game, but it happens that Wallner was not the only person on the field who had unwanted contact with a baseball.  Scorpions third base coach Ydwin Villegas (Giants) was nailed, in the shoulder I think, by a sharp foul liner.  He was cool as a cucumber, having dodged actual injury, and popped right back up to resume signaling the base runners as though nothing at all had happened.  Occupational hazard, which is why base coaches earn the big bucks.
    The AFL has some experimental rules.  One I noticed in both my games so far is that the umpires frequently check pitchers caps and other areas of the uniform for banned substances.  Chief remarked on the lack of extreme defensive shifts.  And a walk seems to have been awarded to Scorpions first baseman Triston Casas (Red Sox) when the pitcher apparently exceeded the 15-second time limit while there was a 3-ball count - we at first thought a balk had been called, to advance the runners, except that Casas also trotted down to first.  This prompted me to look up the rules for the AFL this year, and some these are covered at this website.  (I had failed to notice that the bases were slightly larger, and also that in last night's Salt River game the balls and strikes were not being called by the plate ump.)
    It was a super pleasant afternoon, with temperatures in the low 80s.  But it is sobering to realize that Chief and I have not brought the best of luck to Twins prospects in the AFL when we view games together, as we have witnessed AFL-season ending injuries to Taylor Rogers (struck in the shoulder by a line drive) and Lamont Wade (concussion after collision with a fellow outfielder).  I hope that Matt bounces back as well as these two players have been able to.
    Mrs Ash and I will be concluding the Phoenix area portion of our vacation with one more game, a home game at Scottsdale, Friday afternoon.
  2. Like
    Seth Stohs reacted to Andrew Mahlke for a blog entry, What should the Twins offer Byron Buxton?   
    Back in March, Matthew Trueblood wrote an excellent article on Twins Daily about what a potential Byron Buxton extension would look like. Now, obviously this was before Buxton’s phenomenal (injury plagued, but still phenomenal) 2021 campaign. After the season Buxton had, his value for a future extension skyrocketed.
    With Byron Buxton up until about 2019, the main question was always: “Will he be able to hit major league pitching?”. He always played phenomenal defense, ran the bases ridiculously well, and had an incredibly strong arm. He just had to put it together at the plate. Well, since the start of 2019, Buxton is 20th in the MLB in OPS and 4th in the MLB in slugging percentage. Buxton has really put it together at the plate in the last 3 seasons and it has been a joy to watch. 
    Before we get into his contract specifics, let’s highlight how special Byron Buxton is.
    5-Tool Player
    Byron Buxton helps the Twins win games, plain and simple. Since the beginning of 2019, the Twins are 104-68 when Buxton plays, and 106-106 when he does not. This means that they play at roughly a 98 win pace when he is on the field and an 81 win pace when he is not. This is the difference between not making the playoffs at all and getting home-field advantage in the playoffs. Let’s take a dive into what makes Buxton such a difference-maker for the Twins.
    Hitting
    I mentioned earlier how Buxton has really found his stride with his swing. Back in May of 2019, towards the beginning of Buxton’s outbreak, Parker Hageman wrote a phenomenal article about Byron Buxton’s swing. He took a deep dive into the swing adjustments Buxton had made that year that led to his success. Ever since then, his career has taken off.
    Buxton has been riddled with injuries his entire career, that is no secret. But since 2019, out of all players with a maximum of 700 plate appearances, Buxton leads with 102 extra base hits. The next closest player is Buxton’s teammate, Mitch Garver with 79 extra base hits. With limited appearances, Buxton is thriving.
    Using Baseball Savant’s handy Affinity feature, you can see which players have the most similar batted ball profiles to each other. In 2021, the most similar batters to Buxton were Yordan Alvarez, Fernando Tatis Jr., Rafael Devers, Salvador Perez, Josh Donaldson, and Aaron Judge. Buxton is up there with the cream of the crop. If you follow baseball at all, you know all of these guys are absolute stars and Buxton’s name belongs in that conversation as well.
    2021 was his best year yet. He had a 169 wRC+, had 42 extra base hits (19 home runs), and a 1.005 OPS. Buxton proved in 2021 that he couldn’t just hit, but absolutely MASH major league pitching.
    Defense
    Buxton has always been elite defensively, winning a platinum glove as the AL’s best defensive player in 2017. Since 2016, Buxton has 58 outs above average (OAA), the 5th most among all center fielders. All of the players ahead of him (Lorenzo Cain, Kevin Kiermaier, Billy Hamilton, and Ender Inciarte) played at least 140 more games than Buxton in that span. If Buxton had played 140 more games, he would have the most OAA by 10 outs. It is safe to say that when Buxton is healthy he is the best defensive CF in baseball. He also has an absolute cannon in the outfield. His arm strength has been measured at 99 MPH before, so he definitely has an above average arm.
    Speed
    Buxton has always been one of the fastest players in the MLB. In 2021, Buxton was in the 99th percentile in sprint speed. His average sprint speed was 30 ft/sec and he had the fastest average home to first time at 4.00 sec. Buxton is a game-changer on the bases and has made a huge impact on many games on the basepaths, most notably walking off the Detroit Tigers on a seemingly routine ground ball to the shortstop. 
    Overall Value
    Since 2019, Buxton has been worth 8.1 fWAR in 187 games, or a pace of 7 fWAR per 162 games. To put that number into perspective, there were zero position players with a WAR of 7 or over in 2021. In the last full season, 2019, the only players with a WAR 7 or above were Mike Trout, Alex Bregman, Christian Yelich, Cody Bellinger, Marcus Semien, and Anthony Rendon.
    Buxton’s WAR in 2021 was 4.2 over 61 games. Extrapolated to 162 games, that would be the equivalent of 11.2. That is absolutely ridiculous. That would be tied for the 17th best single season of all time in terms of WAR.
    Injuries
    Just looking at his raw per 162 numbers, you would think that the Twins should sign Buxton to a 10 year, $500 million extension. Unfortunately, Buxton has been injury prone throughout his career. As of July 2021, Buxton had only played 181 of 484 possible games since 2018. It is hard to justify giving him a big extension if he isn’t going to be healthy for a majority of it.
    Extension structure
    In short, I would offer Buxton an extension over seven years. It will start in 2023 and go through 2029, his age 29 through 35 season. As Buxton ages, his defense and speed will most likely deteriorate and he will not be as valuable. You also have to factor in his injury history so you won’t be paying full price.
    Consider the following:
    Since 2019, Buxton has played 187 of a possible 384 games, or 48% of possible games.  Since 2019, Buxton has accumulated 8.1 WAR in 187 games, or 7 WAR/162 games According to Fangraphs, you should pay $8M/WAR. So,
    If Buxton were to play 162 games, he would be worth 7 WAR x $8M/WAR = $56M/year This is obviously egregious, especially considering the Twins usually have a payroll from 125-140M.
    According to spotrac, with the exception of the Dodgers, the top payrolls are right around $200M. We are going to assume those teams are able to use the $8M/WAR calculation
    Since the Twins will use maximum 140M of payroll, 70% of what the top payrolls use, we will also use 0.7 as our multiplier for the WAR value calculation.
    $8M/WAR x 0.7 = $5.6M/WAR
    Using our new 5.6M/WAR, he would be worth roughly $39M a year if he played 162. I think this is fair for a player of his caliber. He has been an MVP level player the last 3 seasons, and shows no signs of stopping.
    Besides injuries.
    Since Buxton has only played about 48% of possible games, I would pay him 48% of that $39M per year.
    39M x 0.48 = about $19M a year. This is the base salary I would give Buxton. His base contract should be 7 years, $133 million
    However, we should account for the fact that there is a chance he remains healthy. This is where it gets tricky. This is where I bring in incentives to the contract.
    Buxton’s 7 WAR per 162 is worth 0.043 WAR per game. The current contract is assuming he plays 80 games If Buxton plays 120 games, he will get the original 19 million plus an additional amount of money We will determine this amount of money by multiplying his WAR per game by the additional 40 games he will be playing
    40 games x 0.043 WAR per game = 1.7 WAR x $5.6M per WAR = $9.5M If Buxton plays 120 games, he should earn an additional 10 million.
    For 130 games, he will be worth an additional 2.4 million using that formula For 140 games, he will be worth another 2.4 million And for 150, he will be worth 2.4 million more. Contract Summary
    Base contract: 7 years, $133 million ($19M AAV)
    120 games incentive: $9.5M/yr ($28.5M AAV)
    130 games incentive: $2.4M/yr ($30.9M AAV)
    140 games incentive: $2.4M/yr ($33.3M AAV)
    150 games incentive: $2.4M/yr ($35.7M AAV)
    If Buxton plays 150 games, he could be making up to $35.7 million per year. This is the contract I would propose to Buxton because he would be getting a good amount of guaranteed money and it also helps him understand that playing a certain amount of games could get him an absurd amount of money.
    How does this contract compare?
    A salary of 19M per year (if he meets no incentives) would make him the 27th highest paid position player in baseball. Since 2019, he is 33rd in WAR among all position players, so this base contract would be just about right. If he meets all of the incentives, he would be the highest paid position player in baseball, which is fair considering the amount of talent he has and his production over a full healthy season would be at an MVP level. I think at his peak, he will play about 120-130 games, making his salary between 28 and 31 million. This would put him in the range of the 5th to 8th highest position player in the league. 
    TL: DR version
    Pay Buxton a base salary of $19 million a year for 7 years, with games played incentives from 120 games to 150 games of various amounts that could net him up to $35.7 million per year.
    Conclusion
    Byron Buxton is a generational type of talent and I haven’t seen anyone like him in a Twins uniform my whole life. It would be a mistake to let him go just because of financial concerns. He is a player that you would rather overpay than not pay at all, so priority number ONE this offseason needs to be extending him. If there’s one player to offer this type of contract to, it’s Buck.
    Thank you for reading, and Go Twins.
     
  3. Like
    Seth Stohs reacted to Danchat for a blog entry, Top 30 Prospects - Summer 2021 Update   
    Continuing from my Top 30 Prospect Rankings in the winter, I have updated my standings in accordance to how well things have gone for the individual players. I'll try to keep this brief, but I can promise nothing!
    Format
    #Num - Pos Player (Winter Rating)
    Current Level - Quick Summary
    Graduated
    #1 OF Trevor Larnach
    #2 C Ryan Jeffers
    #3 OF Alex Kirilloff
    DFA'd
    #18 2B Travis Blankenhorn
    #35 SP Dakota Chalmers
     
    Top 30 Prospects
    #30 - 2B Edouard Julien (Not Ranked)
    A - A former 18th round pick, Julien is raking at Fort Myers. Has a long way to go, but he's on my radar now.
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    #29 - CF Gabriel Maciel (#24)
    A+ - Maciel got off to a rough start and has shown zero pop in his bat. He profiles as a Ben Revere type.
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    #28 - 3B Seth Gray (#32)
    A+ - Gray has shown improvement at the plate and has a high .368 OBP. Part of that is because of 9 HBPs (hit by pitches).
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    #27 - 2B Will Holland (#26)
    A - Got a late start and has been a bit shaky in a small sample size.
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    #26 - SP Luis Rijo (#23)
    A+ - Got a late start, pitched in one game, and hit the IL with a forearm strain. This reeks of a lost season.
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    #25 - SS Jermaine Palacios (NR)
    AA - Palacios is quite the story. He was the only prospect in the Odorizzi trade with the Rays, but he completely flopped in AA Montgomery. He signed back with the Twins in free agency and is hitting up a storm (.850 OPS with great OBP and some power) and he already profiles well as a defender. He always had a high ceiling, which earns him a spot in the top 30.
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    #24 - OF Emmanuel Rodriguez (#29)
    Not playing yet.
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    #23 - OF Alerick Soularie (#28)
    Not playing yet / injured.
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    #22 - RP Yennier Cano (NR)
    AAA - Cano crushed AA with a 13.7 K/9 ratio and doesn't hand out too many walks. The 27 year old Cuban is now pitching at AAA and should debut in August/September for the Twins as a reliever.
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    #21 - RP Edwar Colina (#15)
    On the 60 day IL after having bone spurs removed from his elbow. Still the organization's best reliever prospect, Colina missing a year of development is awful for both him and the Twins.
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    #20 - C Ben Rortvedt (#20)
    MLB - He's filling in as the backup catcher, and as I speculated before, he's a strong defender who can't hit. He'll do better than .140, but he's always going to be a liability at the plate.
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    #19 - SS Danny De Andrade (#25)
    Not playing yet
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    #18 - 2B/CF Nick Gordon (#22)
    MLB - Gordon went from potential DFA candidate to a quality bench player. Even with almost 2 years off, his swing looks good and his speed gives him SB opportunities and can fill in as a CF. This is likely his ceiling, though.
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    #17 - SS Wander Javier (#19)
    AA - Javier is looking better at the plate, but is still only hitting .692 OPS. His future may be as a backup SS who can field better than most, but can't hit.
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    #16 - 2B Spencer Steer (#21)
    A+ - Steer is absolutely raking at Cedar Rapids with a .915 OPS, 10 HRs, and .405 OBP. He may earn a late promotion to AA and has potential to climb higher if he keeps hitting.
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    #15 - SP Blayne Enlow (#16)
    A+ - Looked great in 3 starts, but then needed Tommy John surgery. The first of a bundle of quality starting pitcher prospects, this injury sets him back at least a year.
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    #14 - 1B/DH Brent Rooker (#7)
    AAA - Rooker plummets down the rankings after looking terrible in his short MLB stint and getting passed up by the likes of Garlick, Refsnyder, Gordon (for MLB ABs, not outfield play). He's hit well in St. Paul (.925 OPS 11 HRs), but he turns 27 soon, and if he can't hit MLB pitching, he has no place on any roster.
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    #13 - CF Misael Urbina (#14)
    A - Urbina has struggled at Fort Myers, but he's only 19. It's too early to be concerned.
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    #12 - 3B Keoni Cavaco (#13)
    A - Cavaco is hitting better, though with no power and too many Ks. At just 20, he has a long ways to go.
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    #11 - SP Bailey Ober (#33)
    MLB - Ober takes a massive leap up as I originally projected him as a reliever. He's looked better than expected in the Twins' rotation, and while he has been hittable and given a strict inning limit, he's been able to strike out some of the league's best hitters. If he get more innings under his belt, he could solidify himself as a decent MLB starter.
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    #10 - SP Josh Winder (#27)
    AA - I initially rated Winder too low, as he's now dominating AA with a WHIP under 1.0, 10.7 K/9, and 5.4 innings per start. At this rate he will be able to graduate in 2022 and he profiles as a mid-rotation starter, not just a back-end guy.
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    #9 - 1B Aaron Sabato (#9)
    A - Many thought Sabato might start at A+, but instead he starts at the bottom and he's been bad at the plate. A 33 K% in the minors is a big red flag. It is early, but like Rooker you have to wonder if his power-first approach will sink him at the plate.
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    #8 - CF Gilberto Celestino (#10)
    MLB - Celestino went from AA to MLB in the span of two days, and unsurprisingly looked shaky at the plate. He needs more time to work on his bat, but 2022 will be his final option year (had to be protected from Rule 5 draft). It'd be nice to use Celestino as a Buxton substitute.
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    #7 - SP Cole Sands (#12)
    AA - Like Winder, Sands looked very good at AA, albeit with a few too many walks. Unfortunately, he's on the IL with an undisclosed injury.
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    #6 - OF/1B Matt Wallner (#8)
    A+ - Wallner was hitting at a ridiculous 1.005 OPS (.333/.384) before hitting the IL with a hamate bone injury. He did have a 38% K rate in that small sample size.
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    #5 - 3B Jose Miranda (#17)
    AA - I mentioned last time that Miranda needed to take a big step forward, and that's exactly what he did. With an insane 1.0006 OPS (.348/.415), 12 HRs, and a microscopic 10% K rate, Miranda looks like the real deal despite his struggles in the lower minors. It's fair to debate if he can stay at 3B full-time, but his bat looks like it has MLB staying power.
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    #4 - SP Matt Canterino (#11)
    A+ - Canterino looked flat-out unhittable until hitting the IL with elbow issues. Hope for the best, everyone.
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    #3 - SP Jhoan Duran (#5)
    AAA - Duran has struggled with injuries and command so far, and has now been shut down with an elbow problem. This is looking like a lost season.
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    #2 - SP Jordan Balazovic (#6)
    AA - After missing time with a back problem, Balazovic is ramping up and has been a bit shaky. He has nasty stuff, but needs to get more innings under his belt.
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    #1 - SS/CF Royce Lewis (#4)
    Torn ACL - With my top three graduated, Lewis took over the top spot, but of course blew his ACL in Spring Training. He should be ready for the 2022 season where he will likely start in AAA. 
     

    Rule 5 Eligible Prospects for Winter 2021:
    Royce Lewis
    Jermaine Palacios
    Jose Miranda
    Josh Winder
    Cole Sands
    Wander Javier
    Gabriel Maciel
    Blayne Enlow
  4. Like
    Seth Stohs reacted to Cormac McCarthy for a blog entry, Blood Quotidian: Volume Two, The Leverage Trilogy   
    Read Volume One here
    The last time he had been inside in a bullpen was in Coahuila to hold a vaquero accountable for bedding the hacendado’s wife. Yet somehow this bullpen held more misery.
    In one corner the pitchers sat on chairs huddled around a few desultory flames and passed around a small roasted animal impaled on a stick, their faces still firelit beneath some kind of soft velvety hood. He walked closer and saw they were all clad in identical robes, like tunics belonging to an ancient heathen sect that stopped believing in their deity after they wearied of their prayers being met instead only with calumny. He walked closer still and saw each of the dark robes had a name and number etched in scarlet on the back. One of the pitchers saw him studying the robes. 
    All we got left of the time before everything went to hell, he said. He gestured toward the charred remains of the transfixed animal. Used to be we had the rally squirrel too. Not no more.
    He started to ask if the visitor would like some but the visitor waved away the request. That is not why I am here, he said. I have taken your measure and I find you wanting.
    Hold it. We been doin better last few games. Strikeouts up. Walks down. Still lettin in inherited runners like screech owls into a bored out cactus but — 
    No. You don’t know what this is.
    But our ERA been — 
    ERA, he said, as if pondering the quaint invention of the kinetoscope or the first webbed mitt. A crude cudgel wielded by false prophets. I am of the elect. I know your barrel rates and your exit velocities. I know who you are.
    What are you tellin me?
    You will have one more chance to save yourselves. When you are called you must choose and the chosen must be your redeemer.
    A deafening crack seemed to split the evening in two. Then silence. Then a white spheroid hurtling toward them. It landed in the smoldering remains of the fire, sending sparks arcing in every direction, once dying ashes now dying faster separated from that which gave them succor. 
    Thought Shoemaker was goin tomorrow, the pitcher said.
    The phone rang. The inevitable progression of things. Like the settling of concrete.
     
  5. Like
    Seth Stohs reacted to Twinternationals for a blog entry, [ES] How does a Venezuelan girl become a Twins fan? (Part 1)   
    Welcome to Twinternationals! This is a space for Twins fans from different countries to read about their team in their native language. This section is run by Venezuelan Mariana Guzmán (@TwinsLatinos) and Brazilian Thiéres Rabelo (@TwinsBrasil).
     
    Por Mariana Guzmán
     
    ¡Venezolana y fanática de los Twins!
     
    Sí, esa es parte de mi historia. Nací y crecí en Venezuela y aunque cuando era una niña no tenia mucha noción del béisbol de Grandes Ligas, siempre supe que el béisbol era el amor de mi vida.
     
    En mi país el béisbol es un estilo de vida pero muy pocas veces los Twins eran un tema de conversación. Los Yankees de Nueva York, Medias Blancas de Chicago, Medias Rojas de Boston, Rockies de Colorado e Indios de Cleveland fueron, quizás, los equipos mas populares durante mi niñez en Venezuela.
     
     
     

    Todo comenzó en el 2003


     
    La primera vez que escuche hablar de los Minnesota Twins fue en el 2003, cuando un joven venezolano de 23 años se perfilaba como una futura súper estrella del equipo de las Ciudades Gemelas. Para esa época, yo vivía enamorada de nuestro béisbol invernal y por mi cabeza pasaban los nombres de varios equipos de Grandes Ligas pero jamás el de los Twins, no hasta que Johan comenzó a brillar con ellos.
     
    Transcurría la temporada 2003 y los diferentes medios de comunicación de mi país tenían muy presente a Johan, quien ese año fungía como relevista y en algunas ocasiones como abridor. Esa temporada, la tercera de Johan con los Twins, concluyó con record de ocho victorias y seis derrotas, y el buen sabor de boca de dejar una buena impresión con el equipo que le abrió las puertas vía Draft de Regla 5.
     
    La temporada 2004 comenzaba y yo por primera vez escuchaba hablar de los Entrenamientos Primaverales, inmediatamente comprendí cuan importante era para Johan hacer un buen papel durante ese tiempo en Florida. Con la conclusión de los Campos Primaverales llegaba la noticia de que el nativo de Tovar, al Oeste de Venezuela, se convertiría en uno de los abridores de la rotación de Ron Gardenhire; y comenzaría así su transición de relevista a abridor. La emoción con esta noticia se regó como pólvora por toda Venezuela, el muchachito que sorprendió a muchos en el 2003, se convertiría en abridor de un equipo que podía claramente pelear por un puesto a la postemporada.
     
    Con Johan como abridor, los dos canales de la televisión local que transmitían juegos de MLB una o dos veces por semana, hacían todo lo posible por siempre transmitir las aperturas del venezolano, y eso era para mi un alivio y disfrute. Sin embargo, mientras mas crecía mi amor por Johan y los Twins, más era la necesidad por conseguir información sobre el equipo, información en español; es ahí donde comenzaba mi sufrimiento. Si bien es cierto que Johan fue el detonante de mi fanatismo por Minnesota, también era cierto que en esos años también había un grupo de venezolanos y latinos sobresaliendo con los Twins; y eso, por supuesto, reforzó mi amor por este equipo. Y como es obvio, yo quería saber más sobre el grupo de jugadores y más sobre la historia del equipo que se estaba robado mi corazón.
     
    Los venezolanos, Juan Rincón, Henry Blanco, Carlos Silva, Luis Rivas y Luis Rodríguez también eran parte de nuestro roster, a ellos se sumaban los talentosos Eddie Guardado, Christian Guzmán, JC Romero, por solo mencionar a algunos de los talentos latinos que vistieron la camiseta de los Twins entre el 2003-2005.
     
    Ese año 2004 comencé a vivirme el béisbol de MLB con mucha pasión, solo hablaba de los Twins y de las maravillas que hacia Johan. Ese año, los Twins me “regalaron” un pase a la postemporada, nada mas y nada menos que ante los Yankees de Nueva York. Pasé el 2004 pegada a la TV, fue la primera vez en mi vida que no esperaba con tantas ansias el béisbol invernal.
     
    Por primera vez en mi vida sentía la emoción y presión del béisbol de octubre. Con la clasificación de los Twins llegó la Serie Divisional ante los Yankees. Vivir esa serie estando en Venezuela, era básicamente vivirla sola, muy pocos ligaban a los muchachos de Gardenhire. Era yo contra el mundo; y sí, suena dramático pero así lo sentí en su momento.
     
    El sueño de mi primer “October Baseball” se esfumó rápidamente. La única victoria que Minnesota conquisto en esa serie ante Nueva York lo hizo con Johan en la lomita en el primer juego. Santana lanzó siete solidas entradas en blanco, Juan Rincón y Joe Nathan se encargaron de preservar el triunfo. Una carrera impulsada por Jacques Jones en el tercer tramo y un jonrón solitario de Shannon Stewart, dieron el aporte ofensivo que necesitó Johan para ganar su primer y único juego en octubre. Pero aunque Minnesota sucumbió ante los Yankees, lo mejor para Johan estaba esperando por él durante el off-season del 2004.
     

    11 de Noviembre de 2004



    La fecha que le regalo una nueva hazaña al béisbol venezolano


     
    Jamás voy a olvidar la tarde del jueves, 11 de noviembre de 2004. Había salido del colegio y me fui a un Cybercafe a esperar los resultados del Cy Young 2004. No se cuantas horas pasé sentada frente a la computadora esa tarde, no se cuantas llamadas recibí de mi mama pidiéndome que me fuera a casa. Era como que todo en mi se había paralizado y solo esperaba que las Grandes Ligas emitieran el resultado. Caía la tarde en Venezuela y con ella llegaba la noticia, “Johan Santana es el ganador unánime del Premio Cy Young 2004”.
     
     
    El 2004 catapultó a Johan como una figura histórica del béisbol venezolano y me catapultó a mi como fanática de los Twins. Una histórica actuación de Johan ese año (record de 20-6 y 2.61 de EFE), lo hizo merecedor del Premio Cy Young al Mejor Lanzador de la Liga Americana, convirtiéndose así en el primer venezolano en recibir dicho galardón y en apenas el séptimo lanzador en ganar el premio de manera unánime.
     
    Todos en Venezuela estábamos seguros de que Johan ganaría; pero cuando la noticia ya era oficial, la explosión de emociones se disparo por todo el país. Mientras la nación celebraba la histórica hazaña, yo, aún perpleja, lloraba de emoción y felicidad. Me tomo unos minutos calmarme y salir de ahí a celebrar como todos lo estaban haciendo. Esa tarde se escucharon las cornetas de los autos como medio de celebración, desde esa noche y por muchos otros días, nadie paraba de hablar de Johan Santana.
     
    Ese día recibí llamadas y mensajes de texto de mis amigos, todos sabían cuanto admiraba a Johan y a los Twins, ese día hasta el menos experto en béisbol se enteró de la proeza del zurdo. Y con el reconocimiento individual de Santana, también, de alguna manera u otra, los Minnesota Twins comenzaban a ganar un poco de fama, ya no eran un equipo “fantasma” y eso me hacia muy feliz…
     
    En una próxima entrega continuaré contándoles como se siguió alimentando mi amor por este equipo y como nació Twins Latinos. Y por supuesto, que además de mi historia, en este espacio también nos dedicaremos a realizar entrevistas y a contar la historia de cómo los Twins Latinos han conquistado el Territorio Twins.
  6. Like
    Seth Stohs reacted to Travis M for a blog entry, A Chat with Ricardo De La Torre   
    The Minnesota Twins drafted Ricardo De la Torre in the 6th round of the 2017 MLB Draft out of BB Academy in Puerto Rico. The Twins assigned De La Torre to the GCL Twins and in 153 at bats he hit .268/.341/.359. In 42 games his fielding percentage from 3 different positions were a combined .900. I got the chance to interview him via. Instagram using Google Translate.
     
    Me: What was one of the things that brought you to baseball?
     
    Ricardo: One of the experiences that brought me to baseball was seeing my two brothers playing ball since childhood and they inspired me to play and I really liked baseball and thanks to my parents if it were not for them I would not achieve my dream.
     
    Me: At what age was that?
     
    Ricardo: At 5 years old
     
    Me: Okay, what are some exercises or diets you do to keep fit?
     
    Ricardo: Some of my exercises that I do is always work with my legs, strengthen my legs, that's where the strength is and I always work on continuing to strengthen my arm.
    In the diet and that is already spoken with the nutritionist we already have a plan created to continue like this and my diet is to eat well and nutritious.
     
    Me: What is one of your favorite foods of the diet?
     
    Ricardo: One of my favorite foods is salad with breast.
     
    Me: That would be my favorite too... But here's a different kind of question. How many Fortnite victories do you have?
     
    Ricardo: Hahaha I have 45 victories in Fortnite
     
    Me: Who is your favorite teammate to play with?
     
    Ricardo: I always play with my brother, Royce Lewis.
     
    Me: What connection do you think brings you two so close?
     
    Ricardo: The connection was from high school when we played in All Americans and in our first year as a
    professional we went to roommates.
    And since then he really is one of my best friends.
     
    Me: That's really great that you ended up in the same organization.
     
    Ricardo: That’s it
     
    Me: How many baseball cards do you think you have signed for fans?
     
    Ricardo: I have signed many letters but I do not know how many specifically
     
    Me: That is very nice of you to do that.
    So, who was one of the most influential people in your baseball career?
     
    Ricardo: One of the people was my parents.
     
    I would like to thank Ricardo for answering these questions and I wish him luck on his way to the majors!
  7. Like
    Seth Stohs reacted to mikelink45 for a blog entry, Happy New Years to the 2018 WS Champions   
    Ah, New Years, time for resolutions that will last a week or two. Let’s lose all our extra pounds, work out more, be smarter, be more beautiful… Well it is a time of reflection which is good and it is a time for hope. And no sport is better situated to take advantage of hope than baseball. Hockey and basketball are in the middle of their never-ending seasons and football just eliminated hope for over half their teams with the playoffs about to begin. But baseball is in the smoky haze of the hot stove. It is a time to reflect, speculate, lie, and hope. We are all equal, we can all sign the big star, we know the next great player is about to be called up from the minors, and we are all undefeated. So, until Spring training ends, I nominate the Twins as the 2018 World Series champions. I can revisit that prediction many times in the next few months and like most New Years resolutions and predictions it will be hard to remember anyway.
     
    But there are some interesting stories in MLB that revolve around that eternal hope. In 90 years baseball had no team go from worst to first! Not one. Then over the next two dozen years we had 11 teams do it. That doesn’t happen in football – sorry Cleveland – but baseball is a resilient sport. Remember 1991? The Twins and the Braves both went worst to first and the greatest world series of all times took place that year. I am still excited remembering those games and walking down the street after each victory.
     
    Then we cheat – instead of 2 leagues there are three divisions in each of the leagues giving six chances for worst to first. But if you won, who cares! Imagine the year 2000 and how impossible it would have seemed to have both the Red Sox and the Cubs win the World Series – both with the same GM! That is really worst to first.
    Even the seven teams that have never won a World Series: the Seattle Mariners, the Texas Rangers, the Tampa Bay Rays, the Milwaukee Brewers, the Washington Nationals, the Colorado Rockies and the San Diego Padres can look ahead and hope. Seattle and Washington can hope to get to their first world series ever. It is all possible – probably not likely – but possible.
     
    For teams that have been to the World Series, but have not won for a long, long time we always have hope – for the last two years Cleveland hoped to join the Red Sox/Cubs bandwagon, but now have a drought of 69 years since they won a championship. The Pirates are the National League team with the longest drought since winning. I remember the WE ARE FAMILY teams of Clemente and Stargell; well it has been 38 years since they won.
     
    Perhaps the most difficult drought for me to accept is in Baltimore where we had all those great Earl Weaver teams with perennial 20 game winners throughout the rotation and the Robinsons at bat and in the field. But they have 34 years since their last greatness. And the list goes on with the Tigers, Mets, Dodgers, etc. But all have hope today. Today everyone is a winner.
     
    In 2003 the Florida Marlins won a world series with Dontrelle Willis and Josh Beckett! I think that is the same team that just got rid of their MVP, all world slugger and anyone else that can lift a baseball bat, but maybe they can find the magic anyway (I doubt it). In 2003 they had Ivan Rodriguez, Derek Lee and Mike Lowell – not all studs, but they won! One of the worst world series champions, but who cares – there are no asterisks in the champion list and of course they then got rid of their best players – sounds familiar?
     
    Or the unlikely 1987 Minnesota Twins. I remember watching the Hrbek wrestling match on first base while sitting in a bar in Arizona. The bar went crazy and I had one of the best laughs ever. Do you remember who pitched besides Viola and Blyleven? Good luck.
     
    And if we are remembering worst to first we should also look back on the Florida Marlins again for some perspective. In 1997 the won the World Series and in 1998 their record was 54 – 108. What kind of ownership does this? Jeter was not around in those years.
     
    The same potential lies in every player. Mickey Vernon hit 275 before going in to the service. Then he came out to win the batting title beating teammate Ted Williams. Going back to a more natural average he hit 251 until he was 35 and suddenly won his second title – yes, every year is a clean slate. I remember the shock of Detroit Slugger Norm Cash winning the batting title win a 361 average. For 17 years he was known for home runs and not average (he was also known for corking his bat), but that year he set the league on fire.
     
    Who will be our surprise of the new year? Who will come out of no where to be the next Mark (Big Bird) Fidrych? The bird was as famous for his mound presence as he was for pitching, but a 19 – 4 record with a 2.34 era and a 1.08 Whip is hard to ignore.
     
    I remember well the 1957 seasons when the Milwaukee braves called up Bob Hazle who went crazy and was the star of the team – that included Hank Aaron, Eddie Mathews, Red Schoendienst, Warren Spahn. He hit 403 in 41 games and was probably the world series winners MVP.
     
    We all know Bill James for his Sabremetrics (Aside – I am not big on Marvin Miller, GMs, owners, umps, etc in HOF but I would put in Bill) however this is about the big surprises that carry the year and the Bill James that makes that list was a pitcher who was known as Seattle Bill. He completed 30 of 37 starts with a 1.90 era! He was outstanding in the WS as well with 11 scoreless innings for the 1914 Braves and then he faded – fast!
    Joe Charboneau was a Cleveland star who was going to bring back the team glory. A slugger with charisma – he even got his own song - https://www.bing.com/videos/search?
     
    q=joe+charboneau+song&view=detail&mid=C0A94198CFAADC3B4FF9C0A94198CFAADC3B4FF9&FORM=VIRE he was famous for opening beer bottles with his eyelids - Great story – short career! But how fun for Cleveland that one year.
    There was Brady Anderson who hit 12 – 15 homeruns a year for the Baltimore Orioles, but in 1996 he hit 50! Some stars like Bob Grim who won 20 games as a Yankee Rookie, but was devastated by a line drive are a much sadder remembrances of how things can change.
     
    Baseball is filled with stories and promise. So Happy New Year and congratulations to the 2018 World Series Champion Minnesota Twins (so far).
  8. Like
    Seth Stohs reacted to SD Buhr for a blog entry, Thank You, Betsy   
    If you're a Minnesota Twins fan, you're probably already well aware of the allegations that independent photographer Betsy Bissen went public via Twitter a couple days ago with her #MeToo experience involving Twins star Miguel Sano. I won't go into all the details but you can easily find them with a quick browser search.
     
    (This article was originally posted at Knuckleballsblog.com)
     
    http://knuckleballsblog.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/metoo-300x169.jpg
     
    In a nutshell, Betsy's account is that, following an autograph session at a memorabilia store in 2015, Sano forcibly attempted to pull her into a restroom. The struggle, from which she ultimately extricated herself, lasted several terrifying minutes.
     
    Over the past few weeks and months, we've seen victim after victim of male abuse of power/position come to light, most predominantly in the Hollywood, political and corporate environments. However, to my limited knowledge, this is perhaps the first allegation against a major league professional athlete, at least since the #MeToo movement came to prominence.
     
    Given the historically misogynistic world of professional sports, the only surprising thing is that it took this long for experiences such as Betsy's to become public. Her allegation may or may not have been the first involving a MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL player, but I think we can be pretty certain it won't be the last.
     
    MLB is beginning an investigation into the allegations regarding Sano, as is their responsibility and duty, apparently, under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement with the MLB Players Association. It is proper, I know, for those who know neither Sano nor Bissen personally, to decide they want to hold off on judgement until MLB does it's investigation thing.
     
    Most of us who know Betsy at all (I consider myself her friend, though we are not what either of us, I'm sure, would consider to be close friends) are not generally feeling compelled to wait out an investigation before expressing our unequivocal support for her.
     
    In fact, since she went public, she has received what would at least be considered public corroborative support from various parties who have, in the past, been at least somewhat familiar with Mr. Sano's treatment of women in manners not inconsistent with what Betsy described.
     
    One person, Mike Holmdahl, recounted via Twitter that he had observed Sano making a female usher in Chattanooga uncomfortable during Sano's playing days with the Lookouts earlier in the same season that the event involving Bissen took place. That person was told by a senior usher there that they were so aware of Sano's activities with regard to female ushers that they had made an effort to avoid posting females near the home dugout. (You can find Holmdahl's full recounting as part of Brandon Warne's excellent piece at Zone Coverage.)
     
    Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports wrote that he had been told by, "five people, including teammates, ex-teammates and confidants, with whom he has spent time," that they characterized Sano as someone who, "saw the pursuit of women as sport," One of them called Sano "a ticking time bomb."
     
    Jeff Goldklang, a member of the ownership group that currently owns the St. Paul Saints (for whom Bissen does some photography work) and previously owned the Twins' class high-A Ft. Myers Miracle related via Twitter that, "I've seen enough of both people to have absolutely no doubts in this story's veracity. I've personally seen Sano act inappropriately towards a woman- while in uniform, no less."
     
    In fact, given these statements of at least partial corroboration, it does lead one to wonder what the Twins' front office knew about Sano's issues with women and when they knew it. But that's a question for another day and, if the MLB and the media do their jobs, we'll possibly get some answers some day.
     
    All of this is just by way of saying that it would appear that Betsy Bissen is worthy of the support that her friends and many others are giving her.
     
    But I'm not writing this to say I support her. She deserves more than that.
     
    I'm writing to say, "Thank you," to Betsy for having the courage to speak out, knowing that the result would not be 100% supportive - that there would be a significant - and very vocal - segment of the population of Twins Territory who would demonize her for speaking out (conveniently hiding behind anonymous social media pseudonyms in most cases, of course}.
     
    I will admit that Betsy's public allegations made me uncomfortable, just as the whole #MeToo movement has made me uncomfortable. But you know what? It's SUPPOSED to make me uncomfortable.
     
    It's supposed to make me take stock of my own views and treatment of women - past, present and, in particular, future. And it has done just that.
     
    I'm a 61 year old man. And while I certainly have never behaved toward any woman the way that Betsy related that Sano behaved toward her, I'm absolutely certain my words and actions toward women at various points in my life would not stand up to the spotlight that #MeToo is shining on us today.
     
    I'm not naive enough to think #MeToo and people like Betsy Bissen are going to quickly and dramatically change the way we view and treat women in our society, especially, perhaps, in an era where our country has elected an openly misogynist President, sending a signal to a considerable segment of our population that it's OK to behave similarly toward our wives, girlfriends, sisters, daughters and granddaughters.
     
    In fact, I doubt we'll see the kind of change that is needed take hold fully during my lifetime.
     
    But, thanks to people like Betsy and others possessing similar courage, I have hope that my two grandsons (ages 2 and 4) will grow up in a world where they don't even question whether it's appropriate to treat girls and women with respect and, frankly, just common decency.
     
    More importantly yet, I have hope that my not-quite-yet born granddaughter will grow up in such a world.
     
    I have hope that she will grow up knowing that, if she aspires to be a sports photographer (or an actress or a political aide or a corporate executive), she shouldn't have to accept that being subject to what Betsy Bissen went through (or much worse) is considered just the price of admission into her chosen profession or avocation.
     
    So, on behalf of my granddaughter and myself, let me just say it.
     
    Thank you, Betsy.
  9. Like
    Seth Stohs got a reaction from KGB for a blog entry, Eight Predictions For Season 8 Of The Walking Dead   
    Alright, as many of you know - and maybe many of you are - I'm a huge binge TV watchers. I've got access to Amazon, Hulu and Netflix and watch so many shows. I'll watch almost anything. I've watched shows like Highway to Heaven, and I've watched shows like American Horror Story. I'm currently watching old episodes of 7th Heaven, and I'm very excited for Season 8 of The Walking Dead on AMC!
     
    I was late to the show, to be honest. Season 7 was the first season that I watched on AMC as it was happening. I binge-watched the first six seasons and completed them just before Season 7 began. I tell you, needing to wait a week for new episodes was incredibly difficult. Waiting a whole week between episodes? Waiting for months between seasons?
     
    On Sunday night at 8:00 central time, Season 8 of The Walking Dead will debut. Of not, it is also the show's 100th episode.
     
    In anticipation of the show tonight, I thought I would make eight predictions for Season 8. It should be noted that I haven't read any of the comics, so I don't know what follows that storyline or not. And, until typing this sentence, I never though to google The Walking Dead either. So, these are really just my top-of-head predictions for what should be an interesting season.
     
    When we last watched an episode, King Ezekiel, Rick and Maggie were standing before the people from The Kingdom, Alexandria and the Hilltop. They were inspiring their people, sending them off to war against Negan and his many, many followers.
     
    So, let's get started:
     
     
    Prediction #1 - Maggie Takes Over
     
    I don't know if she'll necessarily take over for Rick as the overall leader, but I think personally that she has shown to be a better, smarter leader. Rick has had his ups and downs in the leadership category over the years, and Maggie's got the intelligence and charisma to lead. Now, she is pregnant, so I don't know how that storyline will work this season. It certainly didn't set her back during the fight with Negan in the season 7 finale, but it may come into play.
     
    Prediction #2 - Death In Episode 100 (or Season 8, Episode 1)
     
    In the premier episode of Season 7, we saw the brutal deaths of Glen and Abraham at the hands of Negan (with the help of Lucille). I would anticipate that at least one or two of the main characters will be killed off. I don't think it'll be anyone like Rick, Carol, Daryl or Carl, but that next tier of character could be affected. Morgan finally got angry and decided that killing was OK, so he might be one to watch. Maybe someone like Tara or Rosita could also be lost. Shiva was one of the big heroes of the final Season 7 episode, so the hero tiger could play a factor in this as well.
     
    Prediction #3 - Carl & Enid
     
    It has to happen at some point, right? Carl and Enid have been kind of this cutesy couple of kids who might like each other, but kind of kept their distance, but also walked off in the woods together, and even ended up roller blading together. So, it's got to happen, right?
     
    Prediction #4 - A Relationship for Jesus
     
    We first saw Jesus in a semi light-hearted episode with Daryl and Rick in which a huge truck loaded with food ended up lost in a lake. At that point, I kind of figured his character would become prevalent. Jesus was a nice character in Season 7, but I would think it would be a bigger role in Season 8. In Season 7, he came out to Maggie as gay, which I'm sure sent shock waves to many, and likely upset some as well. I would guess that Jesus will have some sort of relationship this season. Many wonder if that will be with Daryl, who has pretty much only had platonic inclinations through the first seven seasons. Who knows? Maybe the writers will really go for the upset and hook up Jesus with Father Gabriel. Probably not.
     
    Prediction #5 - The Plight of Dwight
     
    So, I think that Dwight was being truthful in saying he wanted to help Rick's group against Negan, but in the final fight scene, he was still working with Negan. I am very curious how this plays out, again because I think he will want to be on the side of the good guys. In fact, I could see him being the one to take down Negan. But how will he integrate himself into Alexandria? That could be an episode or two all its own. Another question might be whether or not his wife will show up, maybe with beer and pretzels?
     
    Prediction #6 - Eugene will survive, somehow
     
    Eugene lied about knowing how to save the world. He is smart, and he's all about self-preservation. That's why he's all about the "I am Negan" right now. He feels comfortable right now, and he probably feels he is in a power position, and he likes it. But if we assume that "Negan" goes down, what will Eugene do to preserve himself again? Will he find a way back into the confidence of Rick and his group? My guess is Yes...
     
    Prediction #7 - Rick and Michonne Break Up
     
    I don't know. I just never thought they really made sense in the first place. As I watched, bringing them together seemed really forced. Plus, a break up is something that really hasn't happened on the show so far. I mean, there was Carol and her husband's issues early in Season 1, but those were resolved quickly. I mean, the Shane, Rick, Lori situation was kind of fun in Season 1 too, but a break up could create all sorts of intrigue.
     
    Prediction #8 - A Few Mini-Predictions/Questions
     
    OK, eight predictions for Season 8 just made sense, but I'm going to cheat a bit and throw a few quick predictions at you in #8 for your thoughts. The relationship between Daryl and Carol is interesting to me. They've had a very strong connection, strictly platonic to this point, throughout the show. If they don't have Daryl hook up with Jesus, could he and Carol come together? And, who will be the nemesis of the show is Negan isn't in power? Will Jadis take over as the real bad guy, or will there be another group? Gregory will also obviously be killed, or at least be taken out of the equation. Will it be fighting for the good side, or will it be at the hands of someone from the good side? Oceanside will have to come into play somehow, right? I still think that Tara and Cyndie will wind up together as a couple, so how will they all come together?
     
    So, there you have it, Eight-ish predictions for Season 8 of The Walking Dead. Please feel free to leave your comments on any of my predictions or predictions of your own in the Comments. And then after the episode, I may be back with additional thoughts, maybe even more blogs... at least if people are interested.
  10. Like
    Seth Stohs reacted to Lefty74 for a blog entry, Terry Ryan-- a baseball lifer   
    Recently spent 3 days outside of Cleveland watching Midwest League games between Lake County Captains and Lansing Lugnuts. Sitting behind home plate the first evening I glanced to my right and did a double take. There with a stopwatch in his left hand and radar gun in right was Terry Ryan. Watching him work gave me an appreciation of the hard work he puts in when watching a game. He had an 8.5 x 14" sheet for each team and he was evaluating every player. Every pitch he put the gun down and wrote something on one of the sheets.
     
    I approached him in between innings the first night and mentioned the fact I was from MN and a huge Twins fan. We talked for maybe 5 minutes. I told him he must be proud of the fact that many of the players performing so well were drafted during his tenure. He quickly said something to the effect that "many were involved" and "last year was so tough, really happy to see the success". He also received a call from a Twins employee while we were talking; he clearly still has strong connections to the org.
     
    Terry stayed at every game until the bitter end, writing on his sheets after every pitch. There are typically 5 or more scouts at all these games. Watching them work it was clear Terry takes his craft very seriously. Saturday, after the series ended, my wife and I were at the airport at 6:30am ready to head back to MN. I looked up and Terry was making his way over. We talked for awhile about many things and my last comment to him was, "well at least you get to go home for a 3 day weekend." His reply, "oh no, when I get to MN I'm grabbing a car and heading to Beloit to power scout a series this weekend"!! I just laughed and thought, yep he's a baseball man and lifer!
  11. Like
    Seth Stohs reacted to Loosey for a blog entry, The New America's Past Time: Complaining   
    This blog entry will be sweet and short. The Twins are 14-12 on Cinco De Mayo. Last year on May 5 the team was already eliminated from playoff contention, at least it felt like at 8-20.
     
    But this year baseball is fun because the team is winning. Many of the guys helping the team win are guys who will be part of the future of this team. Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler and Eddie Rosario.
     
    However, anytime one mistake is made or a move is or isn't made by the front office the complaints come out in full force. A handful of fans don't like the new front office and think these new guys have same philosophies as the old regime and complain, complain, complain.
     
    They want Berrios up even though he might not be ready yet, they wanted Gibson sent to AAA and when he was they complained it took too long. They complain about Nick Tepesch, even though he might be an ok back end starter. Danny Santana . . . . Ok, I understand that complaint.
     
    But my point is, let's enjoy the winning and fun baseball team we are watching right now. I trust the front office even though I too scratch my head on some moves. I think we are watching the beginning of what will become a very good baseball team in the coming years.
  12. Like
    Seth Stohs reacted to ScottyBroco for a blog entry, A Night at the Karpeles Musuem, Duluth Minnesota   
    I got a text from a fellow Society for American Baseball Research, SABR, member Anthony Bush. He said that there was a little known museum in downtown Duluth, Minnesota that had a baseball exhibit. I was surprised that an old church of Christian Science is now a little museum and located about a 5 min walk from my rental house. The Karpeles Manuscript Museum is named after a Denfeld High School Graduate who made his fortune in real estate. The Karpeles is a too well kept of secret in Duluth, where approximately 3.5 million people visit a year. There is a special place for local history, here in the Zenith City. In fact, Duluth once had the highest millionaires per capita in the United States thanks to the iron ore, shipping and logging industries in the Northland and around the shores of Lake Superior.
    The museum director was a woman named Doris and extremely warm and inviting. She was impressed with our baseball knowledge and asked if we were interested in a baseball talk about some the manuscripts at the museum. She said that we could do whatever we wanted. Soon, I found myself in her office scheduling a time for the gallery talk.
    The next step was researching some of the items at the museum. This gave me an excuse to watch Ken Burns’ Baseball. About 10 years ago, I had rented and watched every episode from the local library. Baseball, is a 20-hour baseball history documentary, has 9 episodes that are called innings, a must for any baseball fan and a great way to pass the time in the winter and non-baseball months. I bought it for 120 dollars as a special Christmas gift to myself. But now, it’s on Netflix or pirated for free on youtube.com, that is if it’s not taken down. In addition to the documentary, I read the 34-ton Bat by Steve Rushin and interviewed him for Twins Daily. Lastly, I researched almost all the 30 plus items in the museum and I met with my partner twice at a local coffee shop. The event even got a little press at the local paper.
    When the night arrived after a long, high volume day at work, I was little nervous. But I remembered that this was supposed to be a fun experience. In the Museum church it was a little musty and warm in contrast from the cool, dry air off Lake Superior. I met my colleague in Doris’s office while 30 people gathered and waited for the talk to begin around 7pm. Once 7pm rolled around, we walked to the center of the old building that has the acoustics of old an old European church from the 15th century. I was introduced as a graduate student from the University of Michigan, although correctly, I am enrolled at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. After Doris completed the introductions, Anthony read his one thousand-word essay and the history of baseball in Duluth. The locals love their local history and this was no exception.
    The next 80 minutes went by in a blur as we covered a wide arrange of topics and some of the exhibits manuscripts. We started with the History of Duluth, The birth of Baseball, spread of it in the Civil War, Babe Ruth’s Career, the short rundown of the Black Sox’s scandal, baseball’s worst teams and all the while Anthony made local connections to each national topic. The next thing I knew, the talk was over. The audience thanked me for telling stories that brought some of the old documents to life. Doris couldn't thank us enough. At a local watering hole afterward we meet up with some friends. The beer tasted great and brought out some mellowness from the thrill of public speaking on your passion.
  13. Like
    Seth Stohs reacted to DRizzo for a blog entry, I Am a Fan   
    I am a fan.
     
    Not a player. Or a coach. Or a manager. Or a GM. Or an owner.
     
    I am a fan.
     
    I played my last organized (non-pick up/wiffle ball) game of baseball in 2003. It was in a 'I-can't-play-for-my-high-school-team' league and I remember that we needed one more win to get into the playoffs. I was playing 3rd that day so me and a teammate were on the field so I could take some throws to first when our last teammate finally showed up. In basketball shorts. Without a glove. We lost the game.
     
    The reason I bring this story up is I remember getting into the car with my mom after and telling her "I don't understand how someone would show up so unprepared to play. Why would you even come?"
     
    I can't quite tell if this was how I felt about the Twins. I rode the high of the first half of the season like all of us. "Holy crap, this team can play!" "How is Torii hitting like this??" "Good lord! Is this the same Mike Pelfrey??" "Terry Ryan is finally moving prospects up instead of AAAA players!"
     
    I got to see the team I love riding a huge series win against the Tigers into the All-Star break. Heck, Dozier finally got some national attention and got into the All-Star game! Through the last 4 years, I couldn't remember feeling like this. I was actually going to Target Field to watch baseball, not just to hangout in the summer while drinking some beer and looking for beautiful women. (No shame on that one, that was a large factor)
     
    And now the 2nd half has started and I've started to think I'm one of the people I listed above. "Why is Danny Santana still playing SS?" "I'd so much rather watch Oswaldo Arcia wiff multiple times a week but mash one into the parking lot in right field than pretend Eduardo Nunez can take another a bat at DH." "Does Molitor even look at stat lines?" "How the hell is Blaine Boyer still on this team?" (Okay, that one is legitimate. Seriously, why?)
     
    Games have gotten back to being the background noise on my TV while I'm at home. I watch a couple innings but it doesn't have the same pull as the first half. I look at the box score everyday but it's more out of habit than passion now. But I finally remembered something last night.
     
    I am a fan.
     
    And that means I'm going to go through the same things as the team. I'll get into a slump. I will roll my eyes and sigh. I'll start playing with my phone in the 3rd inning and look up to see the start of the 6th. And that's perfectly normal and okay.
     
    This isn't to say I shouldn't be critical when the team doesn't play well or question front office moves but seriously, I'm a fan. And every team in baseball slumps at some point.
     
    Because I've remembered that, I'm disappointed the team is playing this bad but I don't feel anything like I did the last 4 years. And I am incredibly excited for what this team can do, the rest of this year and the coming years.
  14. Like
    Seth Stohs reacted to Shane Wahl for a blog entry, Top 30 Twins Position Player Prospects   
    It is time for part 2 of my mid-season prospect list. Here are the top 30 position player prospects in the Twins system:
     
    1. Byron Buxton (1): CF, 12-18-93
    2015 status: Buxton is basically done with minor league baseball. He got injured again, but should be back with the Twins in September. ETA: already arrived.
     
    2. Miguel Sano (2): 3B, 5-3-93
    2015 status: Has obliterated the baseball after his promotion to the Twins. He is also done with minor league baseball. Sano will be used as the DH primarily for the rest of this year, but the Twins should be shopping Trevor Plouffe in the offseason. ETA: already arrived.
     
    3. Jorge Polanco (3): SS/2B, 7-5-93
    2015 status: Promoted to the Twins for one game and then moved to Rochester from Chattanooga. His bat is ready, not he just needs to get his SS defense up to acceptable standards. ETA: 2015.
     
    4. Max Kepler (6): OF/1B, 2-10-93
    2015 status: In the midst of a breakout season that is really pushing the envelope for the Twins. I would like to see a move up to AAA and then a September call up. Outstanding to see Kepler develop in this way this year. Could be trade bait. ETA: September 2015, or 2016 after Twins roster shakeup in offseason.
     
    5. Nick Gordon (5): SS, 10-24-95
    2015 status: The youngster struggled offensively initially at Cedar Rapids, but is really hitting his stride. Defense is great. ETA: 2019
     
    6. Adam Walker (7): RF, 10-18-91
    2015 status: He is having a great season. Homers and strikeouts abound, but he is also hitting a bit better overall and has an .899 OPS. Also trade bait. ETA: September 2015 for some fun homers, or else 2016 after some AAA time.
     
    7. Amaurys Minier (8): OF/1B, 1-30-96
    2015 status: Getting moved to Elizabethon will be a bit of a challenge initially, but he should be fine. He could have a monster season. ETA: 2020.
     
    8. Lewis Diaz (11): 1B, 11-19-96
    2015 status: Getting used to playing in the States. Born on the day I got my driver's license. Taking it slow, obviously, but Diaz is about as fun as any prospect to watch in anticipation for the rest of the year. ETA: 2021.
     
    9. Wandy Javier (NR): SS, 12-29-98
    2015 status: Just signed by the Twins to a $4 million bonus, the SS could top this list within two years. Looks like a good all-around player, both offensively and defensively. ETA: 2022.
     
    10. Travis Harrison (9): LF/RF, 10-17-92
    2015 status: Harrison is a good all-around hitter, who is fully in the OF this year. The power still has not come, however, and this is going to force him down the list. Harrison is definitely someone the Twins should try to shop in some package in the offseason, or if they really want to trade for a bullpen arm for the stretch run in 2015. ETA: September 2016.
     
    11. Levi Michael (10): 2B, 2-9-91
    2015 status: Michael has battled an injury again this season. When actually healthy, he is good. He has an .807 OPS for Chattanooga this year and is back to stealing bases. He is slugging substantially more this year, which is interesting. Given everyone above him, Michael is in Harrison's camp as trade material. ETA: September 2016.
     
    12. Travis Blankenhorn (NR): 3B, 8-3-96
    2015 status: Drafted in the third round, the Twins sent Blankenhorn to the GCL. Nice pick, good bat. ETA: 2020.
     
    13. Niko Goodrum (14): SS/3B/CF, 2-28-92
    2015 status: Promoted to Chattanooga after an OK start in Fort Myers. He always threatens to push that OPS over .700 . . . time will tell. Great speed. Adding CF to his resume is interesting. Good end up being a more athletic and bigger version of Eduardo Escobar. Still relatively young. ETA: September 2016.
     
    14. Dalton Hicks (20): 1B, 4-2-90
    2015 status: Hicks was smashing the ball in Chattanooga before getting injured. He has been up and down my lists over the past few years now. ETA: September 2016.
     
    15. Tanner English (18): CF, 3-11-93
    2015 status: Has hit a bit of a snag with his first full season, but the steals and defense are intriguing enough. He also draws a good amount of walks. Only grounded into one double play all year, which is crazy. ETA: 2018.
     
    16. Engelb Vielma (17): SS, 6-22-94
    2015 status: Slow to develop bat at Fort Myers, but that should be expected. He is inching toward similar offensive numbers in 2015 as he had in Cedar Rapids in 2014, but the stolen bases have exploded. ETA: 2017 if the Twins want a defensive shortstop, otherwise 2018.
     
    17. Stuart Turner (12): C, 12-27-91
    2015 status: As expected, the bat is bad in AA. He is a very good defensive catcher, however. A .566 OPS in AA is a bit scary and the Twins have an immediate hole at the catcher position. ETA: September 2016.
     
    18. Mitch Garver (15): C, 1-15-91
    2015 status: Started very slowly offensively, but is now coming around. Would like to see him pushed to AA in August to test his bat a little bit and get him ready for a full season of AA in 2016. ETA: 2017.
     
    19. Danny Ortiz (22): OF, 1-5-90
    2015 status: Ortiz was hitting really well to start the year in AAA, then cooled off as he was moved to CF. Maybe the two are unrelated, but I think that it is a good thing for Ortiz to add CF to his resume. The Twins should definitely be interested in his 4th OF capability if they are going to be trading some of their OF depth (Kepler, Walker, Harrison). Otherwise, Ortiz is trade bait to add in a package. ETA: would be September 2015 in about any other organization. Here, 2016.
     
    20. James Beresford (24): 2B/IF, 1-19-89
    2015 status: Beresford is totally consistent. There is basically no steadier a bat in the system. The Twins know how Beresford will produce offensively in the big leagues if they want him there. The issue for him is that he needs to move beyond being a second baseman. His future anywhere is going to be as a utility infielder, much like Ortiz's future is as a 4th OF. ETA: September 2015 wouldn't be totally out of the question if the Twins have 40-man space. Otherwise 2016 somewhere in MLB.
     
    21. Jermaine Palacios (NR): SS/IF, 7-19-96
    2015 status: Palacios is pounding GCL pitching right now after a very solid 2014 season in the DSL. Currently, he is quite slight, measuring six feet tall while being listed at under 150 pounds. He might not outgrow SS, so there is a decent chance that he sticks there. Big sleeper prospect right now. ETA: 2021.
     
    22. Zach Granite (NR): CF/LF, 9-17-92
    2015 status: Granite dominated in Cedar Rapids and was quickly promoted to Fort Myers. He is struggling some there, but should get his 2015 A+ numbers to match his 2014 A numbers. He has very good speed and some decent plate discipline. ETA: 2018
     
    23. Rafael Valera (NR): 2B/3B/SS, 8-15-94
    2015 status: Valera is another sleeper prospect. The Twins sent Valera to Cedar Rapids this year after a decent season in the GCL in 2014. Good plate discipline and speed. ETA: 2019.
     
    24. Max Murphy (13): OF, 11-17-92
    2015 status: After dominating in Elizabethon in 2014, Murphy struggled some in Cedar Rapids last year. Those struggles have continued and that is why he has fallen dramatically on this list. Still can rebound. ETA 2019.
     
    25. Trey Vavra (HM): 1B/LF, 9-17-91
    2015 status: Vavra got off to a torrid start this year before getting injured. His performance has been a pleasant surprise. When healthy he has hit and hit for power. ETA: 2018.
     
    26. Brian Navarreto (HM): C, 12-29-94
    2015 status: Navarreto got off to a terrible start at the plate, then was injured, and now has been better since returning. His defense is good to very good, but the bat is really lagging. He will certainly be in Cedar Rapids for much of 2016. ETA: 2019.
     
    27. Zach Larson (19): OF, 10-8-93
    2015 status: Really going backwards this year, not even really close to his 2014 numbers in Cedar Rapids. He is still young, though, so there is time for him there to work it out. ETA: 2019.
     
    28. Trey Cabbage (NR): 3B, 5-3-97
    2015 status: Drafted in the 4th round, Cabbage could be a bit of a steal in the draft. He is starting out for the GCL. ETA: 2022.
     
    29. Tyler Kuresa (HM): 1B, 11-17-92
    2015 status: I had high hopes of a breakthrough season for Kuresa, but Cedar Rapids was very rough for him. He was then demoted to Elizabethon where he immediately started hammering the ball. After only 63 plate appearances there, the Twins have promoted him back to Cedar Rapids for round two. ETA: 2019.
     
    30. LaMonte Wade (NR): CF, 1-1-94
    2015 status: Drafted in the 9th round, the Twins sent wade to Elizabethon where he is off to a very impressive start. ETA: 2020
     
    Honorable Mentions: Kolton Kendrick (1B), Jorge Fernandez (1B/C), Rainis Silva ©
     
    Overview: This list doesn't compare to the pitching prospects list in terms of depth, though the high-end talent is probably better overall. You can see where it really starts to breakdown with Mitch Garver at 18 as a kind of "hope he doesn't fizzle" status and then the minor league veterans in limbo at AAA in Ortiz and Beresford. Palacios and Valera are two guys to watch. The rest at the end have real questions about either performance or the lack thereof (2015 draftees). Wade is another fun guy to see develop this year.
     
    Breakdown by ETA:
    2015: 1. Buxton, 2. Sano, 3. Polanco.
    2016: 4. Kepler, 6. Walker, 10. Harrison, 11. Michael, 13. Goodrum, 14. Hicks, 17. Turner, 19. Ortiz, 20. Beresford.
    2017: 18. Garver.
    2018: 15. English, 16. Vielma, 22. Granite, 25. Vavra,
    2019: 5. Gordon, 23. Valera, 24. Murphy, 26. Navarreto, 27. Larson, 29. Kuresa.
    2020: 7. Minier, 12. Blankenhorn, 30. Wade
    2021: 8. Diaz, 21. Palacios,
    2022: 9. Javier, 28. Cabbage
     
    Part 3 will be a combined list of pitchers and position players
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