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The Mad King

Gold Caretaker
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  1. Like
    The Mad King got a reaction from Richie the Rally Goat for a blog entry, I cheated   
    What the heck, I splurged

  2. Like
    The Mad King got a reaction from Hosken Bombo Disco for a blog entry, I cheated   
    What the heck, I splurged

  3. Like
    The Mad King reacted to Doc Munson for a blog entry, Sano related moves.   
    We have talked about the scenario the Twins will be in once Sano and his rehab stint come to an end. Well that time has come.
    There is clearly only one move. But before we go there, lets take a quick look at why it is the only clear choice.
    MOVE SANO?: We could just DFA Sano. There is no way this happens his "potential" is still just too teasing.  We will also not trade Sano, as his trade value is absolutely rock bottom. No contending team will roll the dice on him if it means giving up anything from there system. no rebuilding team will take on the large team option for next year. So Sano is going nowhere.
    lets look positionally...
    1B:  Arraez is an All Star and a spark plug Where else is he going to get consistent AB? wont be SS (Correa) 2B (Polanco) or 3B (Urshela/Miranda). He is not going to the OF. so 1B it is. He is controlled for 3 more seasons and a potential batting champ. You also do not trade a player like this.  Kirilloff hid platoon mate is also now hitting well. Kirilloff has options, but with all of the up and downs of Kirilloff's young career you do nto throw him back down when he is finally starting to hit well.
    NOTE>>> AS typing Kepler just came out of the game after a HBP on the foot... could this change everything??? well see, but lets continue as is...
    DH: This is a platoon/rest position for the Twins.  Buxton just got PRP injection, and will have had nearly 2 weeks of rest (with an All Star appearance in teh middle) so maybe he comes back and will be able ot play more in the field down the stretch, but as of now he will be DH at least 1 out of every 3 games. Then there are AB's for Miranda,  and of course as mentioned above both Arraez and Kiriloff BOTH cant play 1B at the same time. SO where does Sano fit in here?
    OF:  Outfield would be a natural area to move Kiriloff to free up some ABs, but who do you move? Kepler (assuming no foot/toe injury) is not going to get moved. Buxton??  to reference a borderline good movie that I still haven't figured out just how good it is or isnt... NOPE.  That leaves Gordon.  Gordon is out of options so you risk losing him by trying to send him down. Gordon has clearly played well enough to not risk losing. I see him as a piece of the future.  As far as starters go there is no room at the inn.
    3B: the final position that could be ancilarily (is that a word?) impacted. and the only move that makes sense. Ursehla is the only one now mentioned who would be the most expendable. Yes he is still ARB eligible, but he is not a part of the core future Twins. He would not command a strong return, but maybe getting "just enough" back makes sense. Miranda can slide in at 3B. this now leaves Arraez, Kirilloff, Sano in a 3 way rotation between 1B/DH.
    Of course all of this becomes moot, or at least delayed should say Kepler have a broken toe that requires a DL stint. then Kiriloff moves to OF opening the spot for Sano.
    So how moveable is Urshela?
    He would upgrade the Mets 3B (apologies to Escobar who I love).
    Urshela = .261/.307/.408
    Escobar = .219/.273/.388  
    How about a Urshela for Thomas Szapucki deal straight up?
    He could be a nice addition back in NY with the Yankees.
    Donaldson = .229/.313/.395
    Falefa (SS) = .271/.316/.322
    If the Yankees want to be in on Soto, there is a good chance they would/could include Gleyber Torres, as well as other near MLB ready infield prospects. I am sure Yanks would love to have Urshela back. What would we get for him from Yanks? That would all depend on what the Yankees will give up for Soto (and they will get Soto)  I would say to basically just taking a flier on a young prospect with one standout tool. Or heck even a return swap of Rortvedt at C.
    Baltimore is actually now in contention and Urshela could fit in well there.
    Regardless of trade destination, this is the move.  Trade of Urshela is the right move all the way around.
  4. Like
    The Mad King reacted to Jack Griffin for a blog entry, Twins prospects that I was wrong on   
    Since roughly 2009 the Twins have had some well... rough seasons. When a team is bad, they become sellers at the deadline, and at least me personally, stop caring as much about the active games, and switch to focusing on prospects and the future.
    During those bad years I become pretty fixated on prospects, so lets go over some that I really thought were gonna be good.
    1. RHP Dakota Chalmers
    Woof. I was so high on this guy when we acquired him from Oakland for Fernando Rodney in 2018. I blame Garvin Alston, the Twins pitching coach at the time, for talking up Dakota from his time coaching in the A's minor league system. I can't quite remember what he said but I'm almost certain he called him a "potential system changing arm" and I was hooked. Chalmers had a myriad of injuries as well as off the field mental health stuff that lead to him not pitching a whole lot before coming to the Twins, but once he did he had success. In 2019 he even pitched in the AA playoffs, and everyone seemed to be talking about his stuff, I was so intrigued. He was added to the 40 man roster in 2021 and I envisioned all his success, and it was followed by struggles and a pretty quick DFA. I was devastated. Since then he has been on a few different teams with little success, and is currently in the Dodgers system.
    2. RHP Fernando Romero
    Most Twins fans will probably remember this one, and probably at some point felt the same I did. A top arm in the Twins system for years, what wasn't to like about him. A fastball that reached 100 mph (This was pre Graterol and Duran so the Twins just frankly never saw that) and a wipeout slider to boot. We all remember his electric 2018 rookie season, where he had immediate success. He did drop off slightly as the year went on but still, the sky was the limit. That was followed by a ton of control issues in 2019 and after the season, he was out of the MLB completely (Although he potentially had a chance to re establish himself in 2020, but it was stopped completely by Visa issues. Because well... there were some things going on in the world that made it tough to travel) He is currently pitching in Japan.
    3. OF Adam Brett Walker
    This one was more me just being young and naïve more than anything. ABW was a 3 true outcome guy before it was cool. High power, high strikeout, and not a whole lot else. I really had no reason to be high on him besides the fact he had some really exciting homeruns. Wow could he hit the ball when he connected. He really was never much of a true prospect and never even got added to the 40 man in a Twins uniform. His last year with the Twins was in 2016, he bounced around the league until 2018. He then moved to indy ball, and actually some some success as recent as 2021, but it never materialized into a second MLB chance. He's currently playing in Japan.
    4. OF Oswaldo Arcia
    Much like Romero, I feel like most fans will remember this name. Arcia was an international FA signed in 2008, who quickly worked his way up through the levels and had a TON of success at each level. He reached the majors in 2013 and had some initial success, but really couldn't put together any consistency year-to-year. from 2013-2016 he was basically on the Twins taxi squad going up and down multiple times a year. The Twins eventually gave up on waiting and traded him to the Rays, but that didn't last very long. Altogether he was on 4 total teams (TBR, SDP, MIA, MIN) in 2016 but really had no success with any of them. In 2017 he had somewhat of a renaissance in the DBacks system, but I don't think anything could've happened to get him up with the team. Arcia was pretty much the definition of a AAAA player. He is currently playing in an Independent league.
    5. RHP Alex Wimmers
    I don't really have an explanation on this one. He was a first round pick I suppose so that always makes you hope they work out. Wimmers had a 22 game cup of coffee from 2016-2017 and had very mediocre results. in 2018 he struggled at AAA and was released. He had a short stint that year with Miami but registered no official playing time. He is currently not playing baseball anywhere.
    Some of these are more defensible than others, but I just wanted to talk about them.
  5. Like
    The Mad King reacted to Jack Griffin for a blog entry, Rocco Baldelli's mindset on close games is annoying   
    As I read Ted Schwerzler's article from earlier today, this quote from Twins manager Rocco Baldelli stuck with me:

    "...We want them to be available and ready to finish ballgames when the time comes"
    What if the time never comes, because you throw in the proverbial towel if the team doesn't have the lead?
    Last night the Twins got down early, and when the starter Cole Sands got pulled from the game the Twins went to a combination of Juan Minaya-Yennier Cano-Tyler Duffey-Trevor Megill to finish the game. Correct me if I'm wrong but that doesn't sound like a winning formula. That sounds to me like what a team in last place does when they are down big in the last few innings.
    Lets just throw a position player out there to finish the game. Why not? its a "low leverage" situation.
    Okay, maybe that's a bit of a reach, but I'm frustrated.
    How I interpret this is no matter if the team is down 10 runs in the ninth, or 1 run in the fifth, both have the same leverage in the eyes of the team.
    Now I understand wanting to have some decent relievers available for protecting the lead, that's fine, but being only down 1 run against a very good team and then putting in your 4 worst pitchers, is asking for disaster. Last nights game was just another example of extremely confusing bullpen management from Rocco. The game was winnable, the offense was scoring runs, but the Twins were not committed to stopping the other team from scoring.
    This team has been playing well, they are leading their (Very weak) division, but this team does not "feel" like a first place team.
  6. Like
    The Mad King reacted to jlarson for a blog entry, The Ones That Got Away   
    I know this story is not unique to the Minnesota Twins. Every year prospects are traded before they ever play an MLB game with the team that drafted them. Every year players decide not to sign with the team that drafted them and go the college route. That does not mean we cannot reminisce on Twins players that could have been. Looking through some draft history here are some names that would have looked pretty good in a Twins uniform.
    Brian Anderson, 3rd basemen Miami Marlins
    Anderson was drafted by the Twins in the 20th round of the 2011 draft but did not sign. Miami drafted Anderson in the 3rd round of the 2014 draft.
    Not an amazing player, but a useful player who has some value.

    George Springer, Outfield Toronto Blue Jays
    Springer was drafted by the Twins in the 48th round of the 2008 draft but did not sign. Houston drafted Springer  in the 1st  round of the 2011 draft.
    This one hurts a bit. Springer is probably the best player that did not sign with Minnesota in recent history. 3x All Star and 31.7 WAR through the age of 32.

    Kolten Wong, Second Base Milwaukee Brewers
    Wong was drafted by the Twins in the 16th round of the 2008 draft but did not sign. St. Louis drafted Wong in the 1st round of the 2011 draft.
    The 2008 draft class could have been amazing. 20.1 WAR from Kolten Wong and 31.7 WAR from George Springer. Wong is no superstar but has been a very valuable player in his career.

    J.D. Martinez, Outfield Boston RedSox
    Martinez was drafted by the Twins in the 36th round of the 2006 draft but did not sign. Houston drafted Martinez in the 20th round of the 2009 draft.
    Martinez is a 4x All Star. MVP Votes in 4 different seasons and may get MVP votes this season at the age 34 if he keeps playing the way he has. This one hurts as bad as Springer. 

  7. Like
    The Mad King reacted to TwerkTwonkTwins for a blog entry, Examining the Twins Pitch Tempos   
    MLB wants a pitch clock to speed up time of games, and has already implemented a pitch clock in Minor League Baseball. The current clock is set at 14 seconds for when the bases are empty, and allows up to 18 seconds when runners are on. These changes have shaved off 20 minutes from MiLB game times, and MLB has a new policy in the recent CBA that could allow them to implement a pitch clock at the major league level in 45 days, but 2023 seems more likely. 
    Today, MLB's Baseball Savant released a "Pitch Tempo Leaderboard", which measures the median time between pitches (release to release thrown to the same batter). Maybe MLB wants to help prepare the public by making this available? It's not the most insightful data in the world, but it's fun to conceptualize and match our perceptions with reality. For example, I knew Emilo Pagán was a slower pitcher, but there are some pitchers with a surprising pitch tempo that I didn't notice.
    Below is a quick look at how the current Minnesota Twins pitching staff currently fares in this department compared to the league, and then we'll dive into the slowest and fastest pitchers on the staff with bases empty and runners on base scenarios. 
    MLB Average Pitch Tempo vs. Twins Average Pitch Tempo
    MLB Average With Runners Empty: 18.2 seconds Twins Average With Runners Empty: 18.9 seconds  
    MLB Average With Runners On Base: 23.6 seconds Twins Average With Runners On Base: 24.3 seconds Overall, the Twins have a slower pitch tempo than other teams. It doesn't appear to matter if the bases are empty or if the bases have traffic. We can't determine if this is a philosophy of Derek Falvey and pitching coach Wes Johnson, or if it's just the mix of pitchers on the staff. Every pitcher likely developed habits long before they were in the Twins system, especially older players who had no pitch clock prior to their MLB careers. 
    Pitcher-Level Pitch Tempos - Bases Empty
    The table below is sorted by average pitch tempo when Bases are Empty.

    Fast Tempos with the Bases Empty:
    Jhoan Duran and Dylan Bundy lead the Twins pitching staff with a tempo of 15.7 seconds. Duran leads the Twins in percentage of pitches that are considered "Fast" (thrown under 15 second), at 37.1%.  This appears to be very unusual for a reliever, as Duran ranks 50th across all of MLB Pitch Tempos with the bases empty. Most of the pitchers above him are starting pitchers. 8 out of 14 qualified Twins pitchers are faster than the MLB Average pitch tempo with the bases empty (18.2 seconds).  Slow Tempos with the Bases Empty:
    Cody Stashak has the slowest pitch tempo on the team when the bases are empty, with 24.1 seconds between pitches. This ranks as the 13th slowest pitch tempo in MLB when the bases are empty.  Most of the Twins bullpen outside of Duran has taken Stashak's approach. Griffin Jax, Caleb Thielbar, Emilo Pagán, and Danny Coulombe haven't thrown a single pitch under 15 seconds this year, and all average over 20 seconds with empty bases.  Chris Archer has the slowest tempo of the starting pitchers with the bases empty, at 19.5 seconds between pitches. All other starters are below 17,7 seconds.  
    Pitcher-Level Pitch Tempos - Runners On Base
    The table below is sorted by average tempo when runners are on base. 

    Fast Tempos with Runners On Base:
    Dylan Bundy is the fastest pitcher on the staff overall with runners on bases,  with an average tempo of 21.6 seconds. This is 5.9 seconds above his tempo with the bases empty. While this is the fastest tempo with runners on base across the Twins pitching staff, Bundy's 21.6 seconds between pitches ranks 77th in MLB. This indicates that the team take time with runners on base as a staff.  Joe Ryan has the second fastest pitch tempo with runners on base, at 22.5 seconds. He is the only Twins pitcher to throw a single pitch under 15 seconds with traffic on the bases (only 1.1% in this scenario).  While Jhoan Duran is a speed demon with the bases empty, he slows down considerably when runners are on base at 23.9 seconds between pitches. This is a difference of 8.2 seconds to his pitch tempo from when the bases are empty.  Only 4 of the 14 qualified Twins pitchers are faster than the MLB Average pitch tempo with the bases empty (23.6 seconds).  Slow Tempos with Runners On Base:
    The slowest pitches with runners are actually starters: Josh Winder (26.4 seconds) and Chris Paddack (26.2). These tempos rank 46th and 60th in MLB, respectively.  Winder also has the highest percentage of pitches over 30 second with runners on base, at 22.2%. Chris Paddack has the largest difference in tempo between bases empty and runners on, with 9.1 seconds added. Cody Stashak is weird. He is the only Twins pitcher on the staff that is actually faster when runners are on base. His pitch tempo is 23.8 second with runners on, which 0.3 seconds faster than with the bases empty. This could be due to him pitching in low-leverage situations, but that's me speculating.  Caleb Thielbar, Danny Coulombe, and Emilo Pagán all have nearly the exact same pitch tempo with runners on base (25.4 - 25.5 seconds).  Who would be in violation of the current Minor League Pitch Clock? The current limit is 14 seconds with the bases empty, and 18 seconds with runners on base.
    All Twins pitchers have an average pitch tempo above 14 seconds with the bases empty and above 18 seconds with runners on base. They would all be in violation! However, only 8 MLB pitchers have a pitch tempo that would not be in violation with the bases empty, and only one (Wade Miley) wouldn't be in violation with runners on bases.  Fun Chart Time
    I highly suggest using the "compare" tool to see how pitchers vary in pitch tempo. You can see how consistent Dylan Bundy (the speed king) is, while Cody Stashak can be all over the place. 


    If you got to the end of this post, congratulations. I hope you read this at a quick tempo, like Dylan Bundy. 
  8. Like
    The Mad King reacted to Melissa Berman for a blog entry, The Future is Now   
    Another series, another sweep! 
    The Twins just keep rolling! My main takeaway from this past weekend's series vs the Oakland Athletics is what a joy it was to get a glimpse of what the Twins' future lineup might look like. On its face, let's say someone showed you a Twins lineup featuring Royce Lewis, Trevor Larnach, Jose Miranda, Gilberto Celestino and Josh Winder on the mound. What year would you think it is?
    Although we are seeing some of these faces due to illness and injury, it's apparent that the future is bright for the Twins. They have depth, talent, and based on the number of one-run games they have pulled out this year, grit and ability to tackle adversity. The Twins have the largest division lead in baseball- 3 games over the the second place Chicago White Sox. But exactly as I predicted, here come the Sox; they have gone on a tear and have won 6 in a row. Things have begun to calm down in the field for them after starting the year off with a circus of errors.  But as long as the Twins are taking care of business on the field, they don't need to worry about what the Sox are doing.
    Regarding Lewis specifically, seeing him make his long-awaited debut AND get his first hit on Friday was a blast. Considering how beautiful of a night it was and that the Twins' #1 prospect was making his debut, I was expecting a bit larger of a crowd, but I know several people who went to the game for the sole purpose of seeing Lewis debut. His hit brought about a funny moment that may or may not have been picked up by TV- when Lewis' first hit ball made its way back to the Twins dugout, Gio Urshela feigned tossing it into the crowd. If he actually did, it could've been a Tom Brady 600th touchdown ball situation. Regardless, the Twins fans in attendance treated him right and rewarded him with some big cheers during pregame introductions and after that first MLB hit. He received a standing ovation by many fans during his first at bat too, His debut has been a long time coming, and after having gone through ACL surgery and rehab, it was rewarding to finally see him on the field after all that hard work. Welcome to the Show!
    One other cool observation from the game on Friday- the Twins put up the score of the Wild game on the outfield screen! I really appreciated being able to follow along what was going on with the game. My friends and I could barely believe our eyes when we saw the board light up that the Wild had scored two goals in the first couple minutes while on the road. That's one way to quiet a crowd!
    I'm looking forward to getting to some more Twins games this week! Twins fans who were waiting for 70s and 80s weather to go, now is your chance.
    For those who like kicking back and having a couple beers at the ballpark (I'll stick to Gatorade and dollar dogs), look no further than the Twins' new promotion called "First 2 Drinks On Us!" For games on May 6- May 15, $30, gets fans a ballpark access ticket and two drinks. Considering that's probably about the cost of two beers (can you tell I'm not a beer drinker?), that doesn't seem like too shabby of a deal.
    Have a great week and Go Twins!

    His very first at bat!

    After Lewis' first MLB hit, a single!
  9. Like
    The Mad King reacted to Will Goodwin for a blog entry, From a Fan's Heart: Why We Cheer   
    I woke up on Saturday morning feeling a little sad. And no, my sadness did not come from the fact that my wife and I were embarking on the three-day sojourn of potty-training our 2-year-old. It was because my Timberwolves lost another heartbreaker the night before, eliminating them from the playoffs.   Isn’t that a little pathetic that a grown man is emotionally affected by a basketball team losing? Sort of. But there’s more to fandom than being overly invested in a team’s performance.   A good friend of mine from South Dakota cheers for the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Celtics, Tennessee Titans, New York Islanders, and Duke Blue Devils. He blames his dad for his strange allegiances: “I’m a second-generation bandwagoner,” he says. That’s not normal. Most sports fans cheer for their hometown team. There are outliers like those who jumped on Coach K’s bandwagon this March; those who cheer for a team because there is a certain player or coach you really like (for me that’s LeBron James); those who you really appreciate a team’s culture (a popular one here is the Tim Duncan Spurs teams); or those who just like a team’s uniforms (yup, clothes).   Being a fan means being a part of something bigger than oneself: a fanbase, a culture, a team. Depending on level of commitment and following, it can often feel like you really are a part of the team. I followed the 2020 Twins closely, watching portions of all 60 games that year. That highly-anticipated season was filled with adversity, struggles, and resilience. After rallying to clinch the division on the last day of the season, the Twins were quickly extinguished in the playoffs by the Houston Astros. When I heard Jorge Polanco strikeout looking to end the series on the radio, tears rolled down my cheeks as I drove home. Not only did I ache for some long-awaited playoff success (it’s been 20 years for crying out loud), I wanted it for those players. I “knew” this group of men as much as someone can without ever having met them or even attended a game in-person that season (thanks, Covid). I watched them struggle and overcome. I saw their joys and pains. Sure, my reaction to their loss may have been a little much, and quite frankly had more to do with my emotional state and level of energy (we were new parents of a six-month old at the time). But that team made me feel something, be a part of something, and just have something to cheer for.   Life is hard. We need things to pull us out of our own heads, out of our own agendas and plans. Sports is one such thing. It’s a chance to cheer. To take joy in something external to yourself that you have no control over. We try to take control over far too much in life; the outcome of your team’s season is not something you can control. Fandom is a chance to let go and just enjoy life. Sometimes, the lack of control can be painful: it can be even more agonizing to watch my team lose than it was when I was an athlete and lost a heartbreaking game. Because then, I was able to influence the outcome; I knew I had given every ounce of effort to succeed. So if I lost, I could live with it. When the Timberwolves lost on Friday, it continued to sting because I felt helpless in front of the situation. I watched as their season wilted away and couldn’t do anything to stop it.   Often when fans feel this helplessness we rush to Twitter and b**** and moan about the team doing this, or failing to do that, as if we are owed something by our sports heroes. We so often forget that these animatronic athletic machines are human beings. They have families. Hopes and dreams. Fears. Wounds. Suffering. Contrary to popular opinion, money and fame don’t cover up the human condition these men and women deal with every day. Just like you and me. So next time your team loses, and you’re about to go to Twitter or your group chat with the boys, remember that there’s a person behind that uniform that has “failed” you.   Quite honestly, the more I read what is written about them, hear their interviews, and watch their games, the more I can see the goodness inside of them and the humanity within them; which in turn has led to an appreciation for them outside of what they can do for my team. Take Patrick Beverly and Carlos Correa. I have always known that Pat Bev is a whiner, agitator, and kind of a jerk when he plays basketball; he’s the kind of guy you hate playing against, but love having on your team. Since he’s been in Minnesota, I’ve grown to appreciate the toughness, leadership, and energy he brings to a team and fanbase, without ignoring the not-so-good things about him. I hated Carlos Correa for what he did to not only take part in but lead the Astros sign-stealing scandal that helped win them a World Series in 2017. So, when he signed with the Twins in March, I was torn. I had “decided” that I loved the player (damn he can play) but hated the person. Ever since he put on a Twins uniform, he’s grown on me. He brings accountability to a clubhouse that is in desperate need of a bounceback year. His constant smile plastered on his face while patrolling shortstop reveals how he relishes playing a kid’s game as a grown man. He has his baby boy’s name etched in his glove, where most players have their own name and number. He’s shown deference that despite his massive salary and pedigree, he’s not trying to take over as the big man on campus.   Thanks for showing me that you’re people too, C4 and Pat Bev.   There’s a reason why we pace around our living rooms with the game on the line. Why we covertly pull out our phones at weddings to check the score. Why we rush to the nearest TV when the game’s on the line. Being a fan shows our need to belong to something, to find joy in daily life, and just let go of all the s*** that life throws at us. It isn’t just an obsession. It’s an expression of who we are.     Check out my other unique sports content at the Bad Loser Blog; covering basketball, football, baseball, and the human side of sports.
  10. Like
    The Mad King reacted to Axel Kohagen for a blog entry, Gut Punched - A Baseball Blog   
    I remember the first time I got the wind knocked out of me. I was climbing a tree at my grandma and grandpa's farm. I missed a step, saw foliage tumble before my eyes, and landed on my back. I couldn't breathe. Then, when the oxygen came back, I sprinted into the house. I was more afraid of the sensation than I was hurt. I didn't know know my body would do that to me.
    By the time the Astros swept the Twins, I knew the feeling all too well. Life likes to suckerpunch you. My last blog post described the joy of victory and then, knocking us right out of the tree, the Astros served us the agony of defeat. They scored the runs. Our bats stayed quiet. We're injured and beaten. 
    To be sure, we're far from done. There's lots of baseball left to play. A series like this was inevitable. It just keeps you off of the tallest branches of the tree for a while. 
    Because the Twins have been playing well outside of this series, it's easier to get back to climbing. There are young players out there, showing they've got the skills necessary to play in the majors. New milestones are being recorded. Fans are forming attachments to players they'll cheer on for years to come.
    If we're being completely honest (and I do try to tell you the truth in this blog), I was tensed and ready for a gut punch in this series. The Astros are a very good team. We're heavily injured. Our pitching was due to be drug back into the muck. Maybe a little grit will do us a good. 
    Plus, Justin Verlander.  I just assume the Twins will lose when he's pitching against us. Would love to have seen that man in a Twins uniform, fighting for the good guys for a change. 
    So the Guardians come in to town, ailing in their own ways. We find a branch close to the ground and hoist ourselves up. There's a new series starting, and it's time to get excited again.
  11. Like
    The Mad King reacted to Doc Munson for a blog entry, A great problem   
    While it is still quite early and anything can happen for good or for bad, it looks like the Twins will be contending all year long.
    We have a potntial great problem to have. Is Lewis Legit? and if so what do we do there?
    The Twins will need pitching help along the way, as mentioned before our rotation consists of either unproven pitchers or reclamation projects with nearly all of them coming off of year(s) with very low innings. With Paddack already out for the season, Bundy struggling, we already have two holes to fill. Archer is still on a pitch count, and Baily missing time with a hammy.. 
    Ryan has been solid, and Winder has done quite well filling in, We do have more young guys who could help fill in, but do we try and contend with young inexperienced pitchers?
    On the offensive side,,,
    Sano has been an even bigger dissapointment and then got injured, Kiriloff so far has not translated, Larnach started hitting well before going on the shelf temporarily, Buxton has been a stud, but again misses time. Correa started slowly, but has been coming on before getting hit in the hand by TWO pitches and going on DL.
    So what do the Twins do if we are actually contending, yet have a lot of holes to fill?
    Would it be borderline blasphemous  to suggest trading Correa?
    Lets say Correa comes back and plays at MVP Correa level, do you trade him or run out the season with him?
    Yes he has said he would like to stay, but what else is he going to say right after signing a deal with opt outs after each year? 
    It is a small sample size, but is Royce Lewis the real deal? could he be a viable future SS?
    Let's take a look at a best case scenario. The Twins are contending and Correa is playing very well. To me the best move i to actually trade Correa at the deadline. What can we leverage from our 1/2 season of Correa?
    Take a look at some contenders who could use an upgrade at SS.
    Cardinals: Would the Cardinals give up their top prospect in Jordan Walker for Correa?  IF they would, then we should jump at that even if we need to actually ADD to the deal. Jordan Walker at 3B and Miranda at 1B for the future???
    Yankees: Yes they have Kiner (from us), and he is playing OK, and yes they have "cant miss" prospects like Volpe and Peraza at AA & AAA, but they are both actually "missing" this year. They are on pace for 122 wins, so do they NEED an upgrade? What if the Twins would get a package of Jasson Dominguez and Luis Gil? Dominguez more of a project than Walker but has MASSIVE potential.
    Lets say you think Lewis is the real deal. I would love to hear opinions on what you do with Correa this year. DO you trade him? if so to who and for what? Do you keep him and demote Lewis back to AAA for the season? or move Lewis to a new position?
    Let me here your thoughts on the one truly intriguing position decision for the Twins.
  12. Haha
    The Mad King got a reaction from Karbo for a blog entry, You're killing me, Smalls!!   
    Pagan. I meant Pagan. Gonna give me a heart attack or an Aneurysm...
    ... At least it's not Colome
  13. Like
    The Mad King got a reaction from Strombomb for a blog entry, You're killing me, Smalls!!   
    Pagan. I meant Pagan. Gonna give me a heart attack or an Aneurysm...
    ... At least it's not Colome
  14. Like
    The Mad King reacted to Axel Kohagen for a blog entry, Betrayed By Your Own Body - A Twins Blog   
    Our bodies betray us.
    Let’s say you’re a professional baseball player. You’ve been given tremendous physical gifts that allow you to play the game. Your muscles, tendons, nerves, eye sight . . . All of it coming together to create a ballplayer. A team puts a uniform on you, and suddenly you’re a sight to see. Like an ancient Greek, you represent the highest achievement in human athleticism.
    (Note: I realize not every baseball player represents a Platonic ideal of human anatomy. Babe Ruth was not chiseled from marble. Just work with me, okay?)
    Then, something breaks down. The machinery of flesh stops performing at an elite level. Often times, catastrophic results occur after fairly routine behaviors. Or, worse yet, for no reason at all. The ballplayer comes down to earth with the mortals.
    Byron Buxton has been held back by the limitations of his body for years. For a variety of random reasons, his body has betrayed him. He’s already scared us once this year, but so far our hopes for a strong, healthy hero seem to be holding up.
    This is good, because the sky is falling over Twins Territory. Ober’s on the IL and Gray might be coming off of it. Garlick and Sano dropped in to spend some time there. Correa’s got a bad finger, but we may be okay there. On top of that, the COVID virus has descended onto the team, taking away our coach and two players. For now, at least. 
    We’re uncomfortable being reminded of the flesh and its random, cruel power. Just look at the ways we discuss Buxton and Sano. Before his contract, people said Buxton was “owwie-prone” or caught the “injury bug.” They were trying to make bad luck quantifiable. We love our ballplayers so much that we’d rather believe in the supernatural elements of personified luck than let that cold, sinking feeling of despair at the randomness of chance into our hearts. 
    For Sano, the conversation always comes down to his size. It’s hard to read anything about him without the word “big” finding its way in. I think I’ve even seen “hulking” a few times. This is more than just an act of description; this is evidence of mythologizing. How can someone so huge fail to crush the ball? This feeds the despair fans feel when he’s not hitting. Maybe it’s part of the reason he gets more grief than other Twins players.
    In short, everything in baseball rides on a very fallible collection of bones and flesh performing tasks routinely, over and over, without falling into a state of disrepair. Try as we might, we can’t will them into being superhuman. At the same time, I doubt we can will ourselves to stop romanticizing them, either. We’re stuck in between the reality of frailty and the promise of superhumanity.

  15. Like
    The Mad King got a reaction from Monkeypaws for a blog entry, Spotted in Jacksonville   
    Today, spotted in Jacksonville, Florida....a Minnesota Northstar window sticker. I immediately thought of Jude Drouin, Walt McKeknie, Bill Goldsworthy etc...
    Sorry this is not Twins content...
  16. Like
    The Mad King got a reaction from Karbo for a blog entry, Spotted in Jacksonville   
    Today, spotted in Jacksonville, Florida....a Minnesota Northstar window sticker. I immediately thought of Jude Drouin, Walt McKeknie, Bill Goldsworthy etc...
    Sorry this is not Twins content...
  17. Like
    The Mad King reacted to Axel Kohagen for a blog entry, The Scream of the Goat - A Twins Blog   
    "I'm not superstitious. But I'm a little stitious." - Michael Scott
    As fans of The Office know, Michael Scott can sometimes share deep knowledge. I think a lot of us are a little "stitious" when it comes to baseball. Prior to this Twins/Tigers series, I'd have told you I'm not a very superstitious person at all. Then, my coworker and I made Max Kepler good again.
    I'll explain.
    Before the series started, we were talking about Miguel Sano. We both remembered Aaron Gleeman's mailbag column where he showed Kepler was in the same boat as Sano, except Kepler got less grief. My friend said he thought Kepler could break out of it. Then, bam! Four home runs in two games (we'll just ignore that pesky third game for now). Kepler's hot. 
    Maybe we need to talk about a Sano breakout next. 
    Do I believe that we caused a major league ballplayer to hit better because of a hallway conversation? You know what? I kinda do. Just like I kinda think I jinxed the Timberwolves by watching Game 5 instead of going to bed early. I believe you can reverse jinx rainy weather by predicting it. I believe you don't talk about a no-hitter while it's going on. I once got Michael Cuddyer to hit home runs by wearing his shirsey. 
    Of course, math and statistics doth make a liar out of me.. I UNDERSTAND that luck is just an illusion, but I KNOW it works for me. Even when it doesn't, my brain will find some way to make it work. 
    I was glad to see the Minnesota Twins are a little stitious in their own way. I read about Richie the Rally Goat in Do-Hyoung Park's game recap. Everything about this article is wonderful. Paddack sums it up best when he says, "Baseball gods are looking out for us, and Richie here, he's done a good job of being a rally goat." Good on you, Richie.
    Let's face it - there are a lot of cold and unchangeable facts in the world. We need superstition to clear our heads from the frustration of banging them into the brick walls of truth and certainty. As fans, adhering to superstitions it the least we can do. Literally.
    I bought my own Richie the Rally Goat this morning. Count me in! Let's be a little bit stitious together!
  18. Like
    The Mad King 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.
  19. Like
    The Mad King reacted to Melissa Berman for a blog entry, I went to the First 5 Twins Games in a Row- Here's What I Noticed   
    The Twins just wrapped up their first homestand! I have the Twins Pass so I have a ticket to every home game this year, and I was so baseball-starved that I decided to go to all 4 of the Twins vs. Mariners games and then game 1 vs the Dodgers (I stayed from 6:40-8 p.m., at which point I went to the Timberwolves game. Luckily too- it started raining right after we left + that's when the game fell apart). I did not go to the Wednesday day game vs the Dodgers because of work, and thankfully so- we all know how that one turned out. Here are my observations from going to this bunch of games:
    Opening Day was a joy to get to. I was just so happy to be back regardless of the game result. Thank goodness the Twins pushed the game back a day, so while it was still chilly out, there was at least a lovely warm sun for a bit. I did stay warm- I wore several pairs of pants, brought hand and toe warmers and thick mittens- the whole works. My brother and I's tradition of attending every Home Opener lives on! We were literally 3 feet away from a Gary Sanchez walk-off win- that would have been an unbelievable cap on the day. It was still somewhat surreal to see Carlos Correa in a Twins uniform! The Opening Day jackets were cool. They are very thin, but they look nice and it's a great windbreaker layer to wear over a sweatshirt or something. I thought the Twins' decision to give out 10,000 of them at each of the first 3 games vs just 30,000 at the first game was kind of a cool idea. Of the 3 jacket days I went to, I got 2 jackets!  Duran is the real deal. On Monday, one of the foul balls he through hit the 3rd baseline scoreboard by me with such force that it broke a piece of the scoreboard off. I've never seen anyone throw like he does. I cannot wait to see him pitch again, especially in person with that "101 mph" constantly flashing.  I'm a huge fan of our new Yankees additions in Sanchez and Urshela. They appear to have settled in on the team very well and they seem like great locker room guys. I saw Sanchez's Grand Slam on Sunday and it was unbelievable. I'm not sure I've seen a Twins grand slam in person before despite all the games I've attended. What was cool was that his grand slam was part of a bit of a home run outbreak in the MLB- there were 3 in about 20 minutes across the MLB. One of my favorite accounts on twitter is MLB Home Run, which tweets in real time every home run that happens across the MLB. It was really fun seeing our copious amounts of home runs come through on this account.  Speaking of, my favorite game I've attended so far was Sunday's day game which had Twins 6 home runs! It was a blast to see Correa's first home run as a Twin- a triple deck launch into outer space.  The 7th Inning Stretch is sponsored by Kris Lindahl this season and BOY did people have some thoughts on that. When I tweeted that picture out, I was not expecting the absolute barrage of strong reactions. Check out the replies and quote tweets on my tweet and you'll see what I mean. Kris Lindahl, or someone running his account, liked nearly every one of those replies, I must add. He's always watching.  It's definitely spring training for the scoreboard operators. No hate intended towards them, just lots and lots of errors in terms of the wrong player at bat being shown on the jumbotron, the wrong amount of outs being shown on the board, inconsistent displaying of the stats about each player (as in, one player it will show their height, DOB, debut date etc, and the next player it doesn't) the entire jumbo showing a blue screen of death for a bit, etc. 
    The jury is still out in my head on the scoreboard re-design for this season. I do like how with the new design makes the balls, strikes, and outs really huge. The player's batting stats now display in the lineup column on the right side of the jumbotron. They didn't have any facts about the players (ie DOB, height, debut date) for the first couple games, and I was wondering if they just weren't going to do those this year. The fun facts returned for the last 3 games I went to, so it appears it might have been a kink the operators were working out.  New this year is the "pitch sequence" displayed on the right field board. I thought it was really interesting to see what pitches guys were going to, but I was surprised it was showing the type and order of pitches for both Mariners AND Twins pitchers. I noticed they stopped showing the pitch sequence for the Twins pitchers after the first couple games- though I'm sure the opposing teams have ways of seeing what pitches are being thrown, putting it up for display and analysis in real time is totally different. I'm wondering if someone complained. Let's keep it to opposing pitchers. 
    The Hammermade sponsorships in the jumbotron pictures are back! Didn't notice our new guys sporting it yet  It appeared to be mostly Dodgers fans at the game I attended on Tuesday and boy, do they still have a lot of vitriol for Correa. The "cheater" chants reverberated through the stadium at each of his at-bats. The taunting seemed to work, as Correa smacked two doubles in a row in his first two at bats. I was wondering if these Dodgers fans came into town for the game or where they came from. I should've asked one of them. Dollar Dog night was back on Tuesday! A damp night at the ballpark did not stop us from getting what my brother deemed "Soggy Dogs." They were actually quite good, and they did not have a limit on the number you could buy (their website says two).  Attendance at these five games was pretty awful- I wrote a front page article about the Twins' efforts to fill these empty seats. The weather was not ideal though, so better weather and good play should help numbers.  There are some really cool walkout songs this season. A few favorites of mine: Sanós new walkup song, "Goat" by G Cinco aka our very own Nick Gordon (who is extremely talented at music in addition to baseball, by the way), Chris Archer's "Voodoo Child", and Tyler Duffey's "Electric Feel." Joe Ryan's Grateful Dead "Fire on the Mountain" quickly grew on me too.  I'm really pulling for Sanó. I will always have a soft spot for the players who grew up in our organization, though I fully acknowledge that 6 hit-less games in a row is approaching egregious level. I'm hoping he figures it out soon. That decision to send Sanó around to home on Monday's game was.. a choice. That was obviously not his fault. That game had some pretty rough baserunning. We will need to get that ironed out- and quickly.  A reminder that if you buy tickets in person at the box office, you can avoid the heaps of ticket fees. My buddies bought a heap of $4 tickets on Tuesday to avoid ticket fees.  I got to the game very early on Sunday because I wanted to make sure I got a jacket in my size, so I had some extra time on my hands. I went into the team stores and they're still selling "October Reign" 2019 Yankees playoffs sweep apparel for semi exorbitant prices. I mean who is going to buy one of these sweatshirts for $40? Come on now, let's slash those prices and clear up some floor space.  That's all for now! I'm looking forward to getting to lots more games this season, but I'm hoping the Twins can go on a tear here so we don't get buried before we even get started. Though Twins games are always fun to get to, they're extra enjoyable when the Twins are competitive. Bummer we have to start off the season playing the likes of the Dodgers and Red Sox. See ya out at the ballpark and Go Twins! One photo from each game recap:

    Friday- Opening Day! (above)

    Saturday- A beautiful, sunny day for ball!

    Sunday- Home runs galore!

    Monday- Second win of the season!

    Tuesday- Dollar Dog Night!
  20. Like
    The Mad King reacted to tlkriens for a blog entry, What Twins records could Byron Buxton break over a full season?   
    Every mention you see of Byron Buxton's transformation at the plate is inevitably followed by, "If he can just stay healthy."
    After years of struggles with the bat, it appears that Buxton has finally figured it out offensively, bringing the talent he showed in the minors now to the majors and what made him the top prospect in baseball.
    He was on pace for a historic 2021 season before a variety of injuries limited Buxton to just 61 games. Still, his .306/.358/.647 slash line from last year with a 171 OPS+ leaves fans hopefully that this is the year that Buxton can play 150 games+. If he can, Buxton will no doubt be in the MVP discussion and the Twins should be in the thick of a playoff spot.
    So what does a full Buxton season look like? Where would it rank among the great seasons in Twins history. Well, lets speculate and calculate what that might look like.
    Single-Season Twins Records

    WAR - Rod Carew, 1977 - 9.7
    Based on Baseball Reference WAR, this seems like the most likely team record to fall if Buxton stays healthy. He put up 4.5 WAR last season in just a third of a season (61 games). Over a full season, with the defense and base running, it seems possible that Buxton could have a 10 WAR season. How rare is that? Only 3 players have had a 10 WAR season over the past 20 years; Mookie Betts (2018), Mike Trout (2012 and 2016) and Barry Bonds (2002 and 2004). Going back further, there have only been 24 individual 10 WAR seasons since 1960 among 13 different players. 150 games of Bryon Buxton in 2022 would be awfully close.
    Slugging Percentage - Nelson Cruz, 2019 - .639
    Buxton had a .647 SLG last season in 235 at-bats compared to Nelson Cruz, who put up a franchise record .639 SLG in 2019 in 454 at-bats over 120 games at DH. Cruz obliterated the previous SLG record of Harmon Killebrew of .606 from 1961. Can Buxton sustain that power over a full season. His home run power has finally developed, hitting HR's in three straight at-bats this past weekend vs. Seattle. Given his speed, singles are stretched into doubles and triples??? may not be there. Why? I have heard it said that Buxton already has enough speed to score from second base on essentially any ball hit to the outfield, so why gamble for a triple? Buxton had 19 HR's and 22 doubles last year, but not a single triple. 
    On-Base Plus Slugging - Nelson Cruz, 2019 - .1.031
    The SLG% record and OPS will be close and tied together. Cruz's 2019 was one of the greatest offensive season in Twins history and may have gone under the radar somehow. Buxton's OPS last year was 1.067, so he is certainly capable of putting together similar numbers over at least a 60 game stretch.
    Defensive WAR - Kirby Puckett, 1984 - 3.3
    Buxton had a 1.2 dWAR season last year and put up a career-high of 2.6 dWAR in his 140 game, 2017 season. 
    Runs Scored - Chuck Knoblauch, 140 - 1996
    This one may be tough, but second place (Rod Carew, 128 runs in 1977) may be in play. If Buxton can reach base at around a 35 percent clip and have 550 plate appearances, that equates to 192 times on base. With All-Stars Jorge Polanco and Carlos Correa hitting behind Buxton, this one may be close. In 1996, Knoblauch reached base 197 times via hits, 98 times with walks and 19 times after being hit by a pitch. That totals 314 times, which is incredible. 
    Total Bases - Tony Oliva, 374 - 1964
    Buxton had 152 total bases last season in 61 games. Over 150 games, that comes out to 373 total bases. Buxton already has 16 total bases in just four games this season to lead MLB.

    Home Runs - Harmon Killebrew, 49 - 1964/1969
    Only three players in Twins history have had a 40 home run season; Harmon Killebrew (7X), Brian Dozier (42 in 2016) and Nelson Cruz (41 in 2019). Buxton's career high in HR's was last year with 19. At the rate Buxton has hit HR's the past few seasons, a 30 HR season should be attainable and 40 isn't out of the question.
    OPS+ - Rod Carew, 178 - 1977
    Buxton OPS+ last season was 171. In 1977, Carew's OPS was 1.019. When factoring in the era, Buxton will likely need an OPS near 1.100 to achieve the same.
    Regardless of what records Buxton sets or doesn't set this season, it was been a fun start to the season for the Twins center fielder. We may finally get what every Twins and baseball fan has been wanting. A full season of health for Byron Buxton.
  21. Like
    The Mad King got a reaction from Minny505 for a blog entry, My take   
    1-Maybe getting rid of Donaldson wasn't a bad thing. I'm over 1000 miles away, but I could never shake the thought that he wasn't good for chemistry...
    2- Buxton Buxton Buxton - please stay healthy
    3- Correa has a Nelson Cruz vibe - that calm cool presence in the middle of the order that keeps teams from trying to pitch around everyone else
    4-Duran Duran - see Buxton
    6 - who is gonna be the closer? Please don't say Duffy. 
    I had a 5 but can't remember where I put it...
  22. Like
    The Mad King got a reaction from tarheeltwinsfan for a blog entry, Maybe I'm being nit-picky...   
    ... But if I had a young catcher, and another who many consider to be the worst catcher in baseball... Wouldn't it be advantageous to have the catching coach available to speak to between innings? Talk about, you know, catcher stuff? The previous at bats, the next three coming up? 
    Nah, he should probably go coach 1st base instead...
  23. Like
    The Mad King got a reaction from Twinsrule1991 for a blog entry, Maybe I'm being nit-picky...   
    ... But if I had a young catcher, and another who many consider to be the worst catcher in baseball... Wouldn't it be advantageous to have the catching coach available to speak to between innings? Talk about, you know, catcher stuff? The previous at bats, the next three coming up? 
    Nah, he should probably go coach 1st base instead...
  24. Like
    The Mad King got a reaction from Karbo for a blog entry, Maybe I'm being nit-picky...   
    ... But if I had a young catcher, and another who many consider to be the worst catcher in baseball... Wouldn't it be advantageous to have the catching coach available to speak to between innings? Talk about, you know, catcher stuff? The previous at bats, the next three coming up? 
    Nah, he should probably go coach 1st base instead...
  25. Like
    The Mad King got a reaction from Karbo for a blog entry, My take   
    1-Maybe getting rid of Donaldson wasn't a bad thing. I'm over 1000 miles away, but I could never shake the thought that he wasn't good for chemistry...
    2- Buxton Buxton Buxton - please stay healthy
    3- Correa has a Nelson Cruz vibe - that calm cool presence in the middle of the order that keeps teams from trying to pitch around everyone else
    4-Duran Duran - see Buxton
    6 - who is gonna be the closer? Please don't say Duffy. 
    I had a 5 but can't remember where I put it...
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