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Brandon Warne

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About Brandon Warne

  • Birthday 02/22/1986

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  • Location:
    Saint Michael, Minn.
  • Biography
    Twins fan, baseball writer, and workout enthusiast.
  • Occupation
    Sports Writer and UPS Store Manager

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  • Interests
    Baseball, Writing, Pro Wrestling, but most of all, my wife


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  1. This is an excerpt from a story which originates at Zone Coverage, please click here to read in full. Minnesota Twins players Mitch Garver and Josh Donaldson addressed local media on a conference call Thursday afternoon, and it covered a wide range of subjects -- many of which would come as no surprise to curious fans. What are they specifically doing to maintain as much of their Grapefruit League progress as possible? What are they doing to pass the days when they aren't working out? Where are they staying in the interim? Donaldson stayed in Fort Myers as long as he possibly could -- including closing a new home in the area -- before relocating to Alabama, while Garver has relocated to the Twin Cities, where he's working out and hitting with teammate Max Kepler as much as possible. Garver also said he raided the Target Field workout room for some equipment to help him stay in shape -- something that could be an unusual wrinkle for a player who squats for nine innings per game. But one question that couldn't go unanswered was about the potential of teams playing their schedules in Arizona in a sterile environment with no fans and as little off-field fraternization as possible. Earlier this week, ESPN's Jeff Passan outlined a plan where teams could relocate to Arizona and play games at Chase Field -- home of the Diamondbacks -- in addition to 10 spring training facilities in the area. That's one advantage Cactus League teams have over their Grapefruit League counterparts -- no long bus rides during spring training. And while Passan reported there were still some stumbling blocks in the way of executing this appropriately, this was also met with trepidation from players -- as well as their families. Eireann Dolan -- who is not only the wife of Washington Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle, but a social activist who hosted an Oakland A's show entitled "Call to the Pen" on Comcast SportsNet -- was especially vociferous in her thoughts (threaded tweets): https://twitter.com/EireannDolan/status/1247504431731609600 Kaycee Sogard -- wife of Milwaukee Brewers infielder Eric Sogard -- was a bit more concise in her disdain: Garver had a tepid, but tempered endorsement to how it could work, but still had some questions. For what it's worth, it sounds as though the plan has been amended to possibly include Grapefruit League stadiums, as well as the potential of making separate leagues with the respective winners of each side facing off in the World Series. https://twitter.com/KayceeSogard/status/1247606483195330561
  2. This is an excerpt from a post originating at Zone Coverage. Please click here to read it in full. A couple of offseasons ago, we ran a series similar to what we’re doing here, entitled “Minnesota Twins 40-Man Report Cards.” The only key difference to be aware of is since it’s happening now instead of during the offseason, we’re going to make it forward-looking — that is, with the current roster as constructed, looking back on their 2019 season. Previous editions: Homer Bailey Jose Berrios So in some cases, it’ll be looking at players who might not have necessarily spent all or even any of their 2019 season in the organization. Let’s dive right in, starting with the pitchers: Player: Randy Dobnak 2019 team(s): Minnesota Twins Pertinent Numbers: 28.1 IP, 1.59 ERA/2.90 FIP, 0.8 fWAR/0.7 bWAR (with Minnesota); 46.0 IP, 2.15 ERA/3.45 FIP (with Rochester); 66.2 IP, 2.56 ERA/3.00 FIP (with Pensacola); 22.1 IP, 0.40 ERA/2.73 FIP (with Fort Myers) 2019 LOWDOWN Maybe I’m just needing to stand on my soapbox for a second, but it feels so reductionist to continually recall Dobnak as the Uber driver-made-good — especially when it’s used to encapsulate his meteoric rise to pitching in the Bronx in Game 2 of the American League Division Series. Or if you’re an opposing fan, demean the fact that he was there in the first place. I’m willing to be wrong here. Certainly, it wasn’t his fault that Michael Pineda was suspended and Kyle Gibson had a rough end to the season. But even without his ride-share prowess, the story of Dobnak is unlike many, if any, ever told in professional baseball. Dobnak wasn’t drafted out of high school, so he went to Division II Alderson Broaddus University in West Virginia. After four years of putting up numbers for the Battlers, Dobnak again went undrafted. In fact, Dobnak made light of this fact when he faced the Minnesota Golden Gophers in a scrimmage for the first game action for the Twins this spring. He joked with reporters afterward that it was the first Division I baseball he’d ever played. Despite going undrafted in 2017, an undeterred Dobnak went and pitched in the United Shore Professional Baseball League in Michigan, making six appearances before finally catching the eye of the Minnesota Twins, who signed him on July 31. Dobnak’s final appearance in the USPBL was a brilliant one — a complete-game four-hitter with two earned runs, seven strikeouts and no walks against the East Side Diamond Hoppers. That was it for Dobnak in the Independent Leagues. No longer was he a Utica Unicorn — though in reality, a unicorn is what he truly is to this day. A little over two years later — Aug. 9 of last season — Dobnak found himself on the mound at Target Field taking on the Cleveland Indians.
  3. Dude could FLY. Like 80 steals in a minor-league season fly.
  4. Here's an excerpt from an article originating from Zone Coverage. Please click through here to support the content. A couple of offseasons ago, we ran a series similar to what we're doing here, entitled "Minnesota Twins 40-Man Report Cards." The only key difference to be aware of is since it's happening now instead of during the offseason, we're going to make it forward-looking -- that is, with the current 40-man roster as constructed, looking back on their 2019 season. So in some cases -- such as this one -- it'll be looking at players who might not have necessarily spent all or even any of their 2019 season in the organization. Let's dive right in, starting with the pitchers: Player: Homer Bailey 2019 team(s): Kansas City Royals/Oakland Athletics Pertinent Numbers: 163.1 IP, 4.57 ERA/4.11 FIP, 2.9 fWAR/2.0 bWAR 2019 Lowdown When Bailey signed an extension with the Cincinnati Reds on Feb. 20, 2014, he was entering his age-28 season and coming off back-to-back seasons with a sub-4.00 ERA. That season, he posted a 3.71 ERA in 145.2 innings, and henceforth totaled 231.2 innings over the rest of the $105 million contract at an ERA of 6.25. In a lot of ways, his career is semi-parallel to that of Anibal Sanchez. The Twins brought Sanchez into camp as a non-roster invitee in 2018 after a three-year run that saw him post a 5.67 ERA in 415.2 innings with the Detroit Tigers, but ultimately cut him loose upon signing Lance Lynn to a one-year deal. All Sanchez has done in the two years since is post a 3.39 ERA in 302.2 innings with a 1.19 WHIP and well over two strikeouts per walk. Anyway, there was ample reason to believe Bailey's career was over. He went 1-14 with the Reds in 2018, was traded as part of a salary dump deal to the Los Angeles Dodgers and was unceremoniously released the next day. But rather than take his millions and fade into obscurity, Bailey agreed to a minor-league deal with the Royals and pitched his way onto the team, taking a regular rotation spot for 18 starts before he was traded to the A's on July 14 for prospect Kevin Merrell -- a utility infield prospect with a career OPS of .669, including a .617 mark last season. To say even the A's weren't expecting a ton might be an understatement.
  5. A couple key distinctions: 1. It was for a banned substance, not a PED. The rules are different — for instance, had the suspension lapsed before the end of the season, he’d have been playoff-roster eligible. 2. Based on some stuff circling around out there, this was a very serendipitous test result. Pineda deserves another chance, and it might as well be from the team that gave him the last one.
  6. This is an excerpt from an article that appears at Zone Coverage in full here. Please click through to read it in full. No matter what direction the 2019 season takes the Minnesota Twins, their offseason is going to be filled with intrigue. Three of the team’s five starting pitchers — Kyle Gibson, Jake Odorizzi and Michael Pineda — are eligible for free agency, leaving Jose Berrios and Martin Perez, who has a team option, as potentially the sole holdovers heading into 2020. And while the Twins certainly can hope internally that some combination of Brusdar Graterol, Fernando Romero, Jordan Balazovic, Lewis Thorpe, Jhoan Duran and Jorge Alcala can take a step forward and help fill out the rotation, relying on three of them to fill out the rotation of a contender is a losing proposition. So maybe the Twins resign Gibson, since they’re very familiar with him and his track record of health and what he does on the mound. Maybe they buy into Odorizzi’s step forward this season. Maybe they like the direction Pineda, the youngest of the trio, is trending and try to lock him down. The Twins could definitely look to the free-agent market for help as well. The current front office group hasn’t yet spent a significant amount of money on a free-agent starter, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t, either. If they go down that road, Gerrit Cole is the obvious target, but Madison Bumgarner, Dallas Keuchel, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Zack Wheeler could be in play. A little further down the list — but still viable — might be guys like Brett Anderson, Gio Gonzalez, Cole Hamels, Wade Miley, Rick Porcello, Tanner Roark, Alex Wood or Michael Wacha. Even Corey Kluber, if his $13.5 million club option is bought out, could be an option. But maybe the team also gets…..creative. What about trading left fielder Eddie Rosario? Certainly he could bring back a pretty good starting pitcher with two more years of control left after this season, right?
  7. Maybe not, but based on playing time it’s pretty clear who the Twins think is the better player.
  8. Lots of factors in the bullpen that make a similar exercise hard to do, too. Thanks for the nice words.
  9. Since May 1, Gonzalez is hitting .281/.341/.460. There is no doubt in my mind he's a better hitter and player than Ehire Adrianza.
  10. This excerpt is from an article originating at Zone Coverage. Click here to read it in full.When Devin Smeltzer was summoned to make a spot start after Michael Pineda was placed on the injured list last Sunday, he became the first pitcher outside of the team’s established rotation to make more than two starts in 2019. Kohl Stewart has made two starts and Lewis Thorpe has made one. Through 100 team games, 95 of them were started by one of Jose Berrios, Martin Perez, Kyle Gibson, Jake Odorizzi or Pineda. Last Sunday was game 111. Make that 105 of 111, then. That means that 94.59 percent of the team’s first 111 starters were made by one of that quintet. If that seems like a lot — it’s because it is. Only the Cincinnati Reds (95.45 percent) had a higher rate of starts made from their top-five pitchers in the rotation, and like the Twins, that’ll go down with Trevor Bauer being added into their top five. By the way, it’ll probably come as no surprise that the Los Angeles Angels are by far the lowest, with their top-five guys making just 54.87 percent of the starts. The next worst team? The Toronto Blue Jays — nearly 20 percent ahead at 71.05 percent. And it’s not just about making the starts for Twins pitchers. Amidst all the uproar — and deservedly so — about the sagging bullpen of late, it’s worth noting that the rotation has to get the game to the point where the bullpen can even have the chance to blow it. Through last Sunday, Twins starters with fifth in MLB in ERA at 3.77. They were fifth in MLB and second in the American League in innings pitched per game, and third in fewest pitches per inning as well. All of those numbers — plus the team’s historic offense — pretty clearly spits out a team that’s 24 games over .500 even despite their struggles since the All-Star break. But what makes a rotation go? Or more importantly, how do you keep pitchers healthy? It’s an age-old question that even the Twins don’t necessarily know the answer to — even despite the fact that they’ve proven to be pretty good at it over the long, or perhaps more accurately, medium-haul. “Credit goes to our pitching coaches, medical staff, strength and conditioning staff as well as to our pitchers,” said general manager Thad Levine. “Some of it is luck,” said Gibson. “I think you have to give Rocco, Wes and Hef a lot of credit for how they’ve managed our pitchers and certainly our bullpen as well,” said team trainer Tony Leo. “We put a strong emphasis here on recovery and the weight room,” said pitching coach Wes Johnson. “I think everybody (is) just doing their work, really,” said Odorizzi. “It’s been a really good run that we’d like to continue as best we can,” said manager Rocco Baldelli. Each of these seems to hint at a larger idea, so let’s see what else these key performers had to say about how this starting staff has been able to stay so durable. Odorizzi was the first subject approached, and he immediately revealed an answer perhaps not easily seen on the surface — but very easy to digest. “We have a group of guys here who understand what it takes to get through a full season, and that’s something only experience can bring,” Odorizzi said. “How you need to manage yourself as the season goes on, that sort of thing.” True enough; this is the most experienced Twins rotation in quite some time. Pineda will almost certainly go over 800 career MLB innings when he makes his next start. Odorizzi’s closing in on 1,000 himself. Gibson is over 1,000 and Perez is a couple starts away from 900. And Berrios, the baby of the group, has thrown nearly 550 MLB innings — and is prodigious for his workouts to keep himself in shape. “Jose is really, really good at recovery,” Johnson said.
  11. Better fielder based on 15 innings of UZR data? You also have to convince yourself that what Adrianza is doing is completely sustainable to bench Gonzalez entirely. I'm not buying that.
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