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Hosken Bombo Disco

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  1. Like
    Hosken Bombo Disco reacted to Cormac McCarthy for a blog entry, The Unvoiced: Volume Three, The Leverage Trilogy   
    Read Volume One here
    Read Volume Two here
    The phone rang again. No one moved so the visitor took it upon himself to answer. He listened for a moment and then hung up.
    Who’d they want, said one of the pitchers. 
    None of you, said the visitor. He called to say none of you are fit for the purpose at hand. He has chosen the one called La Tortuga.
    That mean we’re off the hook?
    No. Your fate is entwined in his. Should he allow any runs, all of you must answer for the indignity.
    They watched benumbed as Tortuga indolently and repeatedly lobbed the ball skyward in such a fashion so as the batter had time to ruminate on each bloodred stitch and its function in perpetuating the ball’s arc toward his lumber, each revolution drawing it that much nearer to its violent and predestined lot. And yet.
    The first two batters made outs and the bullpen thought its deliverance was at hand. Then: three straight misses to the next batter. On the fourth the batter propelled the ball for a home run into the same spot in the smoldering ashes as the one moments earlier. 
    The visitor turned to the pitchers. It is done. I will give you a choice: to perish under the blade or the cudgel.
    Whoa there, said one of the pitchers. That one shouldn’t count. That was on 3-0.
    The pitcher went on to explain some recondite edict that decreed that batters should not swing in a situation such as this so as not to give offense to their opponent. 
    The visitor started to say this fiat was without warrant when he was interrupted by a stir on the field, as Tortuga heaved a fullspeed ball at the next batter, striking him on his backside. 
    Both teams spilled from their benches and bullpens to meet each other on the field of battle, faceless hordes unconstrained now that nothing of value was at hazard. The visitor and his mount quickly descended upon this legion of horribles, causing them to part and then to listen as the visitor pulled the reins.
    This absurdity exists without my consent, he said. The run that just scored means I will now exact my requital.
    Hold on. The voice came from a decrepit man, a revenant — the visiting team’s manager. I caint let you do that. That round fella had every right to do what he did. The batter had it comin.
    Was the target not one of your own, the visitor asked.
    The manager explained that yes this was true, but that he had long ago sworn a blood oath to protect the esoteric precepts that governed all man’s actions on the baseball diamond and that violating them would be like admitting that the common denominator of the universe was not harmony but chaos.
    The visitor contemplated the madness that surrounded him and decided it was no longer worthy of his craft. He rode out headed east with the dustveiled sun sinking behind him and vowed to himself that those who were practicing kicking footballs at Vikings OTA’s would not be so fortunate.

  2. Thanks
    Hosken Bombo Disco 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.
  3. Like
    Hosken Bombo Disco reacted to Parker Hageman for a blog entry, Let Them Swing How They Want   
    Byron Buxton, a father who happens to play center field for the Minnesota Twins, was asked how he approaches working with his young son on his game.
    On the Sports Info Solutions podcast with Mark Simon, Buxton said that he lets his kid hit anyway he wants. 
    “When we go out to hit, before we do anything, he’ll hit like any player he wants to hit like. He wants to hit like Max Kepler or hit like Cody Bellinger. Anybody he wants to hit like, that’s what I let him do,” Buxton says. “For him, he likes Mookie Betts’ leg kick but he likes where Cody Bellinger’s hands are at. I’m not going to make you hit like me or hit like this person because there are days where you might have to back off the plate or open up a little bit. So it’s one of those where I’m literally whatever he wants to do on the diamond, I do whatever he wants to do because that’s what keeps it fun.”
    There are coaches and parents who give relentless instructions until the young hitters conform to some preconceived notion of what a hitter should look like. This presents several problems. This first is that motor learning rarely progresses well from that style of teaching. And what works for one hitter, might not for another. People need to have creativity and freedom to explore movements in order to find optimal ones for them. 
    “I was forever trying a new stance, trying to hit like [Hank] Greenberg or [Jimmy] Foxx or somebody, and then going back to my old way,” Ted Williams wrote in his book, The Science of Hitting. “I recommend that for kids. Experiment. Try what you see that looks good on somebody else.” 
    Read the rest of the post at Get Better Baseball.
  4. Like
    Hosken Bombo Disco reacted to Sherry Cerny for a blog entry, Does the "Shoe" Fit?   
    After suffering a 4 day break in baseball for COVID 19 precautions, I had been looking forward to Tuesday night. It seems that the Twins while having a great cohesion had issues since day one. The Twins have played through Donaldson’s day 1 injury, missing Buck due to a stomach virus (jury is still out on that one) and Simmons stepping out for COVID protocol on April 14th, but the one thing the Twins still cannot seem to play through is their pitching. The double headers, late nights and early games gassed out our pitching to the point where Willians Astudillo would step into the pitching line up - in an already losing game - to the Angels showing his skills and fast pitch form to the MLB.
    Matt Shoemaker, a pitcher the Twins acquired in February 2021, was an all-star in his own right when he played in 2014 as a rookie. As reported by Do-Hyoung Park, Shoemaker has been struggling with an onslaught of injuries since 2017 and has been continuing to fall further down after 2019 when he tore his ACL. The Twins, fully expecting him to be healthy and the No. 4 contributor to the rotation, spent 2 million dollars on the 34 year old right hander, who barely had played any games since 2017.
    Shoemaker has only pitched in 2 games thus far for the Twins and neither were truly magical or anything that showed promise. His first game on the road in Detroit, where he pitched six innings and only one run got let in the 5th in the 22 batters he saw. He would take home the win in that game. In the next game against Seattle, he would pitch 5 innings and give up 4 runs and 7 hits leaving the game with an ERA of 4.09. The longer he stayed in the more damage that got done.
    Tonight, after sitting out for 9 days, the RHP would once again take the mound against the A’s. The Oakland A’s are barely over .500 - a game that could have been our first W on the road since April 7th against the Tigers - and get us back on track for what started out as looking like a winning season. Shoemaker came out and pitched 3.1 innings and in that time allowed two runs and had 67 pitches before Alcala came in as the relief pitcher in the 4th. The Twins would fall 7-0 in game one of a double header after a grand slam served up by Alcala, accompanied by the runners left on base from when Shoemaker was on the mound. Not the start to the night the team and the fans were looking forward to.
    In his first three games Shoemaker has continued to slide down hill. It may be just acclimating to the team, maybe it’s the 9 day rest...but the trend is showing that once again, the Twins took a chance on an arm that isn’t truly benefiting the roster and is leaving us with leaning on other utility players like Astudillo to come in and give us the outs we need. This “Shoe” just may not be the right fit.
  5. Like
    Hosken Bombo Disco reacted to Danchat for a blog entry, 2021 Prospect Rankings: 1-8   
    #8 - Matt Wallner OF (1st Round 2019, Southern Miss)
    Another bat-first prospect, Wallner has some serious power behind his bat after hitting 58 HRs at Southern Mississippi (in just 872 PAs!). He did alright at Elizabethton, and his main concern as a hitter will be limiting the strikeouts. Defensively he's a subpar runner and will be limited to corner OF, if not 1B. He also pitched part-time in college, which means he's got the arm to throw out runners.
    #7 - Brent Rooker 1B (1st Round 2017, Miss State)
    Rooker's very similar to Sabato and Wallner, but unlike them, he's ready to play in the majors. He did well in his first week of games in the majors before fracturing his wrist on a pitch, and we saw a glimpse into his upside. He's got the power to hit 25+ HRs a season and his batting average did not suffer much in the minors. Strikeouts will be a concern, as he had a dangerously high 33.8% strikeout rate at AAA. Despite that he still hit .928 OPS with a super strong .399 OBP. Defensively, he really shouldn't be playing in the outfield. He hasn't played a ton of 1B, but hopefully he's given plenty of practice there because that would be an ideal place to end up. Otherwise he'll be a DH his whole career.
    #6 - Jordan Balazovic RHP (5th Round 2016, HS)
    The Twins have gone through a drought of starting pitcher prospects for at least 10 years, and have been desperate to get a guy like Balazovic up and going. He mowed through Fort Myers A+ in 2019 with a strong 2.84 ERA, a phenomenal K/9 rate (11.8) without a bad BB/9 rate (2.6). He uses a strong mix of a 94-95 MPH fastball that acts a sinker, and sprinkles in similar-looking curveballs and sliders. He needs to get more innings under his belt and I don't think he profiles as a #1 or #2 starter, but he has a clean injury history and he'll likely be starting in AA at the young age of 21. Balazovic has a bright future in the big leagues if he continues down the path he's headed.
    #5 - Jhoan Duran RHP (International from Dominican Republic, acquired in 2018 trade)
    The top pitching prospect, Duran turned his career around once arriving in the Twins organization, going from a #20-30 prospect in Arizona to top-tier prospect. Duran's fastball has sped up the past couple season, sitting in the upper 90s and he'll hit 100 every once in a while. His secondary pitch is a splitter that can hit 94, and consistently fool hitters with its fastball-speed. His command can be a bit shaky at times, but that's even been a huge problem for him. Duran does have the toolset to be a dynamite reliever, but he's successfully pitched a starter's workload in the minors and should land in the rotation. Perhaps he pitches in the Twins' bullpen down the stretch in 2021 as his first dip into the MLB pool.
    #4 - Royce Lewis SS (1st Round 2017, HS)
    Most prospect rankers won't agree with this, but I'm not as high on Lewis as most are. The first overall draft pick in 2017, Lewis had very strong 2017 and 2018 seasons, but he hit poorly in 2019 at A+ and AA. He was promoted to AA despite hitting .665 OPS, and proceeded to hit .649 OPS there. Critics have pointed out that Lewis' swing does not look good and his approach at the plate needs heavy refinement, and his pitch recognition is currently poor. He's still young, turning 22 this summer, but I don't think he's particularly close to being MLB-ready. There has also been debate about whether he will end up at SS or CF, as he has the raw speed to handle both. This ranking has mostly been negative, but Royce has the potential to become a talented hitter with 60-65 power potential and has the highest ceiling of any prospect on this team. I just get the sense that Lewis will become a hitter whose approach at the plate won't click until Year 4 or 5 of his career.
    #3 - Alex Kiriloff OF (1st Round 2016, HS)
    The Twins are poised to make Kiriloff their starting LF in 2021, and it's not hard to see why. He has a career .317 batting average in the minors, and that's no fluke. Scouts rave about his ability to make consistent contact on tough pitches, he has has some serious power behind his swing, with the potential for 20+ HRs a year. Kiriloff's focus on contact has kept the number of walks low, but that's not a big concern if he hits > .300. He's had a couple of wrist injuries and missed the entire 2017 season. Defensively Kiriloff is one of the lower prospects on this list, and while he has a good glove and a great arm, he may end up at 1B. Hopefully his bat will end up somehwere in the #2-4 spot in the lineup one day.
    #2 - Ryan Jeffers C (2nd Round 2018, UNC Wilmington)
    This is probably the highest you've ever seen Jeffers on a prospect ranking, but I am comfortable putting him this high. Good catching prospects are rare, and Jeffers is the entire package. He was yet another 'questionable draft pick' in the 2nd round, but the Twins organization sculpted him into one of the best defensive backstops in the minor leagues after initial scouting reports claimed he wouldn't be able to stay at catcher. He ranked as a top-notch pitch framer, and showed as much in his 26 game debut in 2020. His bat was always his calling card, and it didn't disappoint in the minors with a very strong (.296/.383/.453 .836 OPS). He'll take a lot of walks and has the potential for more power. Jeffers is ready to graduate off this list and will push for the starting role as the Twins' catcher.
    #1 - Trevor Larnach OF (1st Round 2018, Oregon State)
    I conclude with another bat-first position player, of whom has the best minor league track record to this point. Larnach covered 4 levels of the minor leagues through only two years (2018-19) and held his own at every level, never dipping below a .295 batting average or .840 OPS. In total he's recorded a (.307/.385/.468) triple slash, and that's even with only 18 HRs in that stretch. He's got more power in that bat, no doubt. Larnach will take plenty of walks too, as his K/BB ratio was very healthy too. Defensively he's a bit on the slower side, but I think he will work as a RF with a decent glove and strong arm. Once he figures out the big leagues, Larnach is a hitter whose name should be penned into the #3 spot in the lineup and be let loose to rake to his heart's content.
    I will add one more blog post soon going over my formula of how these rankings were calculated. Until then, let me know what you think!
  6. Like
    Hosken Bombo Disco reacted to mikelink45 for a blog entry, Ten Moments that shook the sports world   
    Stan Isaacs chose ten events from his sports writing history that he thinks are significant world events. These are not in order - Munich is his number one on his count down
    Superbowl I and II
    The Knicks Willis Reed NBA championship
    The Amazing Mets World Series
    Bobby Thompson's "Shot heard round the world" home run
    Harvard - Yale tie game
    Secretariat race at Belmont
    Ali/Fraser - first fight
    Jets win Superbowl III
    Bjorn Borg - John McEnroe tennis Wimbeldon
    The 1972 Munich Olympics

    He was choosing events he covered. I then tried to think of the ten events in Minnesota Sports history (my history from 1958 on) and this is my list:
    1 - Elgin Baylor joins Minneapolis Lakers - I watched him play in the Minneapolis Armory with its 8400 capacity - so close!
    2 - Gophers national champions in Football - I saw them play under Murray Warmath and it was an amazing team
    3 - Twins move to Minneapolis from Washington DC and I become an usher for the first season
    4 - Vikings first game - Rookie Tarkington leads team to defeat of Chicago Bears - I saw this game at the Metrodome
    5 - 1965 Twins world series against Sandy Koufax Dodgers - I watched this in the break room at Dayton's where I worked stock
    6 - 1967 Harmon Killebrew hit 520 foot HR - longest for Twins
    7 - 1987 Hrbek in WS wrestle Cardinal off 1B and tags him out - we win series - Kate and I watched this in a bar restaurant in Sierra Vista AZ. Most patrons were St Louis fans - I loved it. It still makes me smile.
    8 and 9 - 1991 We beat Atlanta and I was at all four games - we won the home games and Morris pitched the classic 7 and Kirby won game six by his own personal effort - and thankfully I was at all four home games - game seven with Jon Horn
    10 - Lynx win first of four championships 2011 - sorry Timberwolves you are not on the list even though I got to go on court at half time with Jim Brandenburg to present you with his book on wolves. - I did not see the championship game, but we did get to see the team.
    Since this is a Twins forum and I have four non-Twins events I would have to add these in replacement:
    Calvin Griffith driving away Rod Carew by his racism
    The pop-up that never came down in the Metrodome
    Kirby Puckett losing his eyesight
    The Dean Chance no-hitter

    Your turn.
  7. Like
    Hosken Bombo Disco reacted to Chris Spicer for a blog entry, A Nostalgic Favorite: Revisiting Major League II   
    What’s the worst that could happen bringing back an iconic baseball classic back for more hijinks and fun 5 years later? When this movie came out back in 1994 and I was 11 years old and I remember this being the movie that got me most excited to watch anything baseball. I saw this in a 2-screen theater in Grand Forks, ND (where I’m from) with my friends with no parents and we enjoyed everything about this movie. But does it hold up today?
    ​Major League II brings back director David S. Ward along with most of the cast from the original movie. Most noticeably missing is Wesley Snipes who by that time had built up a string of box office hits and was in to high of demand to get in this sequel. Omar Epps steps in as Willie Mays Hayes and does a good job but Snipes would have helped draw a bigger audience at the time. The movie was made for 25 million dollars but only squandered a mere 30 million dollars at the box office. The biggest change the studio made was going from rated R in the original to PG in this sequel. The change clearly did not pay off and left this movie struggling to connect with the adults who loved the first movie. The humor was a little more dried up and the themes were a lot less adult driven. Charlie Sheen does become the movies star and at this time in his career, he was at his peak.
    ​ The plot brings the team back as World Series contenders who are coming off winning the division title and then were beat by the Chicago White Sox. All the success from last season has changed the players in different ways. Rick Vaughn (Charlie Sheen) cares more about his public image over his pitching, Pedro Cerrano (Dennis Haysbert) than becomes a Buddhist becoming more carefree which hurts in game play, Willie Mays Hayes (Omar Epps) gets into making Hollywood movies to which makes him want to be more of a power hitter, and Jake Taylor (Tom Berenger) returns dealing with knee injuries and is too old to play baseball. Every single player from the first movie is dealing with something and they all have their own hurtles to overcome. Some of these seem very realistic and then there are some that seem forced just to build some internal conflict. How each one over comes their strife’s has their own issues, but they all really seemed very rushed. This movie comes off very much like a sitcom and not as much of a theatrical movie.

    ​To this movie’s credit, it does introduce some fun characters that help make this a better movie. The films highlight is the bad guy or the new player they bring in as an off-season signing in Jack Parkman (David Keith). Parkman is there to build conflict with the whole team and eventually a final confrontation with Rick Vaughn. He is a power hitting catcher who is arrogant and loves to be more about himself. He than eventually gets traded to the Cleveland’s rival the White Sox building up to a dramatic ALCS series between the two teams. David Keith does a really good job of selling that cocky and charisma that makes this character so unlikable. Another fun new character in this movie is also a catcher in Rube Baker (Eric Bruskotter) and he eventually becomes the heart of the movie. He start’s off the movie being talented and has one issue and that’s getting the ball to the pitcher. It’s played for laughs and is quickly fixed by new coach Jake Taylor who decides to give up his cleats to help the team in a new way. He has him recite articles from Playboy magazines to help him take his mind off the pressure of getting the ball back to the pitcher and it works. Rube also has a lot of good dialogue in this movie and you can tall that the screen writers wanted his character to come off a little dumb but with a big heart. Eric Bruskotter does a good job of pulling it off and deliver’s some of these lines with ease. The last new character they bring in is outfielder Isuro Tankaka (Takaaki Ishibashi) and he comes in with the trade for Jack Parkman. He absolutely is played for laughs and comes in with a temper and eventually helps break Pedro Cerrano of his hitting slump by getting under his skin and get him angry again. It is a fun pairing between the two and their chemistry plays out nicely.
    ​Although this movie was panned by critics and audiences in 1994. This movie isn’t all that bad. I had some issues with how they wrapped up Rick Vaughn’s love story and his character ark and how they wrapped it way too neat and unearned along with how the wrapped up a lot of other character’s arks and how they put Tom Berenger’s character on the backburner after being the lead character in the first movie. If you put aside all the PG humor this turns out to be an entertaining baseball movie. It has some cheesy dialogue, and it does a good job of building up the stakes. I had the excited feeling today as I did when I was 11 when Ricky Vaughn comes out at the end of the movie with his original hair cut and the stadium is blaring Wild Thing. The buildup for that moment in the movie paid off and watching the matchup between Ricky Vaughn and Jack Parkman is entertaining. This sequel is not a classic by any means, but it does a good job of entertaining baseball fans and having fun for an hour and 40 minutes.
    Rating: Triple! 3 out of 5 stars.
  8. Like
    Hosken Bombo Disco reacted to Jamie Cameron for a blog entry, Infield Defense: Then VS Now   
    There’s no doubt that the Falvey/Levine regime in Minnesota has stamped the organization with its own unique culture and identity. Since their arrival in advance of the 2020 season, leadership has taken the holistic approach needed to bring an organization like the Twins up to speed, to become and remain a competitor.
    Falvey and Levine have focused their systematic overhaul on a number of key areas - individual development plans for players, innovative and creative coaching hires, and building out an incredibly robust analytical department.
    A maxim Falvey has used since his arrival in Minnesota is his desire to build a sustainable winner, an annually playoff bound team with enough organizational and prospect depth to remain a perennial challenger. In recent years, fans have seen this strategy play out through their approach to free agency, signing high floor, veteran adds on short term deals to accent the homegrown core, built upon by the gambit of signing Josh Donaldson last offseason. Another key trend of the front office has been taking advantage of market depth, something exemplified by their inking Andrelton Simmons to a 1 year, $10.5 million contract on Tuesday night.
    To explore this, let’s examine the corner outfield situation in 2017, the year Falvey and Lavine arrived, to today. While Simmons and Donaldson would have been an all time left side of the infield 3-5 years ago, they still provide a telling contrast defensively between then and now.
    In 2017, the Twins corner infield consisted of Miguel Sano and Eduardo Escobar at 3rd and Jorge Polanco and Ehire Adrianza at SS. This quarter combined in 2017 for an OAA -5 collectively. By contrast, in 2019, the last full season in which Donaldson and Simmons were relatively healthy, they combined for 25 OAA.
    Looking at fielding range provides an even more stark contrast. In 2017, the Twins left side quarter combined for a UZR/150 of -26.2, while in 2019, Donaldson and Simmons combined for UZR/150 of 15.9. Clearly, these aren’t apples to apples comparisons, but the point remains, the 2021 Twins left side of the infield, if healthy, is elite, where it used to be a legitimate weakness.
    The positive defensive outcomes Twins fans are hoping for will be dependent on many factors, not least of which, is the health (calves and ankles) of their infielders. What is interesting, is what the combination continues to prove about Falvey and Levine, that they will continue to prioritize organizational flexibility and market depth to improve the team. While this slow and late approach hasn’t always worked out for the team (see Logan Morrison and Lance Lynn), the Twins front office continues to build a case that they are adept and nimble in constructing and regenerating their roster, a recipe for sustained success.
  9. Like
    Hosken Bombo Disco reacted to Supfin99 for a blog entry, White Sox best team in AL. Seriously?   
    So ESPN and Jeff Passan just published an article saying the White Sox are the team to beat now in the American League. He feels that way now due to them signing Hendricks. Now Hendricks is a very good reliever and might be the best closer in all of baseball. But how much better did he actually make them? If the White Sox had a bullpen like the Phillies last year and still only last out to us by 1 game I might buy all this hype but they didn’t. Alex Colomé pitched great as a closer last year and that is who Hendricks is replacing. Last year Colomé pitched in 21 games in the regular season and the White Sox went 18-3 in those games with Colomé saving 12 of those wins and having no losses. Of the 3 team losses, 2 were in extra innings where Colomé pitched a shutout ninth to get the games into extras. How much better could anyone have pitched in the closer position for the White Sox last year? They couldn’t have because Colomé was not responsible for the losing runs scored in any of the 21 games he pitched in. I know that Hendricks peripheral numbers were all better than Colomé but at the end of the day it is still about wins and losses. How much can Hendricks really improve them when Colomé was basically perfect last year from a win loss standpoint?
    Are the White Sox a definite challenger for the AL Central? Absolutely they are. Are they the favorite for the AL? Maybe, but not because they just signed the best closer in the baseball. They already received “perfect” production from the closer position last season and all they can do is go down from there.
  10. Like
    Hosken Bombo Disco reacted to South Dakota Tom for a blog entry, "Winning" the offseason   
    There have been several excellent "how would you spend $x?" articles written this off-season. There is some point in the winter when the ice breaks and teams start signing players; there are often several points at which these occur, and I've often wondered how that math gets done, realizing that one would be criticized for either moving too quickly (gross overpay for Player A) or too slowly (completely missed out on Player A, you numbskull!).
    It is one thing to say that the Twins' payroll for 2021 should be in the $125-140M range, take the existing (probable, considering Maeda's incentives) payroll in the low 90s, and figure out a way to spend the remainder, given the estimates of value on all existing free agents, or the +/- in dollars exchanged in any trade.
    This year, however, presents a different set of possibilities. One can scour the team pages here and there, and come up with a list of teams that are either a)shedding payroll; or b)not going to spend any more than they have already. That limits the number of teams still in the race for the existing assets. For each of those teams, a little deeper dive can also unearth a relative number available to spend on any of the talent out there (the Twins' $30-35M figure, for instance).
    But what happens when you combine all that? Take the Twins, and several high-budget (or "available money") teams and pool them all. How much is available to spend, total? Then take the existing free agents, and their potential salaries, and see where that number lands you, in a.a.v. It occurs to me that we are in a market where the "available money" is far less than the "potential salaries." In that economic circumstance, it changes the dynamic of the when and where and how much in the acquisition of players. If a team can (accurately) project the available space for spending of all the competitors, and (logically or illogically) evaluates those teams' greatest needs, one can whittle down the available market for players. And somewhere in that analysis, bargains can be found.
    A couple of good examples exist in JT Realmuto and George Springer. Of the teams who possibly could afford a reasonable Realmuto contract, how many of them need a catcher? Of the teams who possibly could afford a reasonable Springer deal, how many need an outfielder? Carrying that further, once those players sign, and the teams who sign them have their available money evaporate, where does that leave the remaining teams with money to spend?
    Yes, I realize there is no hard cap in baseball (though the luxury tax and certain teams' stated desire to get under it does add some clarity), and a team who signs a Realmuto or Springer might well decide to change their budget, or go all-in. But in most cases, that won't be true. Now, we're left with a smaller number of teams, with a smaller budget, scrambling to sign the remaining free agents - and yes, the agents for these free agents can also do the math and see that there is now, hypothetically, only 75% of the available money to sign these players to "market value" contracts, and advise their clients accordingly that they are going to need to sign (now!) for 75% of what they hoped, or fall further and further behind in the dollars-to-talent available pool.
    This is where several teams will end up - those with relatively few dollars to spend are going to have to wait until all the big dogs have eaten before looking around for what remains available. Somewhere in between, before the scrounging occurs right up to and including spring training, there is a proper moment to strike.
    We aren't there yet. Once Bauer signs, the market for Odorizzi, Tanaka, Paxton, and a few others will heat up. Teams desperate (public relations-wise or otherwise) might overpay for the next available tier, but that leaves arms available that are beyond the price of the teams who are cash-strapped, and almost no competition from teams who have already filled their rosters.
    It makes business sense, though risky, as you are allowing other teams to snatch up the "best available" talent and contenting yourself with the best of what is left over. I don't have a perfect match for the Twins (though to me getting Sugano for 3 years ($9M/yr), Kluber for 3 years ($8M/yr), Kiki for 3 years ($5M/yr?), and then selecting the best non-Cruz DH candidate on a one-year deal in the $5-7M range, and a solid LH/RH relief tandem at $3-4M each) adds the most to the club and keeps us in the $125-$130 payroll range.
    Who do you think will have to come off the board before the Twins will react? What do you predict the next move will be? I'm curious to hear people's thoughts on the subject.
  11. Like
    Hosken Bombo Disco reacted to South Dakota Tom for a blog entry, Seeds of Truth   
    It is universal that you have to beat everyone to win the World Series. I get that. But is there a playoff seeding that might be more preferable than even one or two seeds higher? That is the question.
    As it stands (games through September 10, roughly 15 games to go), the AL standings show:
    White Sox
    Blue Jays
    We know some things are pretty certain - the 2nd and 3rd place teams in the AL Central are likely to be the #4 and #7 seeds (best second-place record and best Wildcard/3rd place record). But what about the difference between being the #1, #2, and #3 seed? Sure, #1 plays the last team in, but then they play the winner of the two best second-place finishers.
    The #3 seed, on the other hand, plays the worst second-place team in the first round, and then the winner of the series between the second-best division winner and the best third-place team.
    There is certainly some argument that being the #1 seed doesn't necessarily make you the best team. Could be that there is only one strong team in a division, and that team runs away with the best record. I think you can argue that a team that finishes with the best record in a highly-competitive division may well be more battle-tested and ready than the #1 or #2 seed who beat up on the other teams in a division of mediocre clubs.
    Applying this to the current standings, are the Rays really the best team in the AL, or are they just better than Toronto, New York, Baltimore and Boston by a fairly wide margin? Are the A's for real, or are they benefiting from playing against Seattle, Texas, the Angels and the Astros? What's an easier path to the LCS - the winner of Tampa/New York versus Toronto/Minnesota? Or the winner of Oakland/Cleveland versus the winner of the White Sox/Astros series?
    I'd love to see the Twins win the Central for a lot of reasons - but playoff seeding, even being the #3 seed, might be the biggest prize of all. Thoughts?
  12. Like
    Hosken Bombo Disco reacted to Parker Hageman for a blog entry, What I'm Reading   
    Welcome to this week’s What I’m Reading.
    This is a collection of interesting or insightful articles that you might enjoy.
    The Brilliance of Brad:

    Facing American League-favorite Oakland in the opening round of the 2002 playoffs, the Twins got off to a horrendous start. Radke issued a one-out walk in the first inning to Scott Hatteberg and Pierzynski’s error on Eric Chavez’s two-out single would ultimately lead to two runs scoring. 

    The Twins got a run back in the top of the second inning but more disaster awaited in the bottom half. They allowed a harmless infield pop fly to fall in with two outs, allowing a run to score, then third baseman Corey Koskie booted the next play. 

    “(Radke) was ticked off,” Koskie said. 

    Pierzynski rarely saw Radke get frustrated. That wasn’t the case in Game 1. 

    “He never got mad at anything but he came in and started screaming at us,” Pierzynski said. “’Wait a minute, Brad is mad? We must have really screwed something up.’” 

    Steady as always, Radke found a way to work around it. He retired 10 of the final 13 batters he faced, completing five innings. Though he left with a 5-3 deficit (only one of the runs was earned), Radke set the tone for an all-time Twins comeback. 
    The Porta Potty Park:
    Ah, the temporary outdoor stadium that never was.

    Minnesotans had been staying away from the Dome in impressive numbers. It had become a cliché for former Twins attendees to say, “It’s not just the losing. We don’t get enough nice summer days to waste them by going inside the Dome.’’ 

    Clouser decided passion could be rekindled by giving the fans a chance to see the Twins play outdoors. 

    Ellerbe Becket was recruited to design a ballpark with bleachers holding 25,000. The grass at Bloomington’s Kelley Farm site would be manicured. Temporary restroom facilities and concession areas would be constructed … this only a handful of Killebrew home runs from where the fans last saw an outdoor home game for the Twins at Met Stadium in 1981. 
    Voit’s Growth As A Hitter:

    Health is part of the explanation for Voit’s season, but Pilittere said he’s focused on working more efficiently and in preparation for a game-by-game basis. Instead of taking pregame swings by volume, he’s facing machine pitching that simulates the pitchers the Yankees expect to see on a given night. If the starting pitcher is a slider-heavy left-hander, he’ll take swings in preparation for that. 
    Data-Driven Decisions:
    Sam Bornstein, a University of Iowa baseball’s analytics team member, has joined SimpleSabermetric’s Jake Stone to contribute to that website.
    In his introductory post, he demonstrates how technology is improving an organization’s player development decisions.

    While some may view the introduction of these technologies as bad for the game, that is certainly not the case. These technologies give us a quantifiable method to make data-driven decisions. Using technology to aid in the player development process is a lot like using a calculator on a math exam - without it you may be able to get to the right answer, but with it you can be sure you're making the best decisions possible to get to that answer quicker. This example is directly applicable to today’s game as well. The coaches who have been in the game forever have an immense amount of valuable experience. However, as more and more technology is introduced we are able to rely more on data to make our decisions than previous experiences. 
    Matthew Wolff’s Unorthodox Golf Swing:

    He’s a golfer who swings the club like a baseball player. And he’s 18 holes away from defying logic all the way to a historic major championship. 


    Wolff and DeChambeau are at the vanguard of a generation of golfers who hit the ball far. Really, really far. They worry about the consequences later. 

    “There’s a lot of holes out there that maybe people would try to hit it in the fairway or maybe take the safe play because it is a U.S. Open and they know that pars are a good score, but I don’t really like to think of it that way,” Wolff said Saturday. 


    Before swinging, Wolff shimmies his hips like he’s readying himself for a dancing number. Then when he draws the clubhead back, he takes it unusually far outside. It sets up for an unusual follow through. But the result is clear: Wolf creates an extraordinary amount of power that few on tour can rival. 
    Here’s a video breakdown of Wolff’s swing. While not necessarily the same, you can see some of the same elements in some baseball swings. For instance, Byron Buxton’s hips and legs using the ground to generate force. It’s amazing to me how much golf as a sport has embraced using technology and breaking convention if the numbers back it up, which feels different when watching baseball broadcasts and hearing announcers lament the “launch angle swing”.
    While Wolff is a good story, I would be remiss if I failed to mention that US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau transformed himself into one of the greatest long ball hitters on the tour today -- through science, technology and intent. What’s interesting is that Dechambeau developed his own powerful swing derived from a 45-year-old golf textbook, not unlike one of today’s hitter’s refining their craft using Ted Williams’ seminal book.
    Building Mentally Strong Players:

    Footballers can tend to mentally rehearse failure daily. They can remember the mistakes and the poor plays in detail. They can learn helplessness in the quiet of their mind. They may need to deliberately shift these inner pictures to their best games, best moments, best plays. 
    This tweet from sports psychologist Dan Abrahams reminded me of something pitching coach Wes Johnson did for Jose Berrios last year.
    What I'm Listening To (Spotify Rec)
    What I'm Listening To (Podcast Rec)
  13. Like
    Hosken Bombo Disco reacted to Parker Hageman for a blog entry, What I'm Reading   
    Welcome to What I'm Reading. This is a collection of interesting or insightful articles I’ve read this past week.
    Behind Nelson Cruz’s Maniacal Preparation:
    From his Seattle Mariner days but a reminder of how much work the 40-year-old Cruz puts in to maintain his elite level of play.

    Nap time can vary, but it’s daily. 

    “If we play at home, I like to do it after BP,” he said. “If we are on the road, I do it before BP.”
    Post nap will include a dip in the cold tub for about five minutes, followed by some time in the warm tub. 

    Cruz’s on-field workout is another process. He doesn’t walk into the cage and try to bomb homers. There’s a plan to his batting practice, which includes driving the ball to the opposite field. Sure, by the end, he’s launching balls over the fence at distances his teammates only wish they could reach. 

    But he’s become a more complete hitter by showing this discipline in batting practice. Though he rarely plays in the field anymore, Cruz will still take fly balls on most days because he still wants to play in the outfield at some point. He’ll even take ground balls in the infield to keep his body active. 

    “It’s fun for me,” he said. 
    Kansas City Royals Pitching Development Has Changed:

    “We’re not going to draft a guy, have them come in and be like, ‘We need to do this, this and this,'” Stetter said. “The biggest thing is, you have to trust your eyes. If a pitch is working, the hitter is going to tell you. The hitter is going to let you know if your stuff is good enough. And if it is, you’re going to keep going with it. And if you get to Double-A and the hitters start hitting it, you’re not getting swings and misses, we’ll know what kind of changes we might make to that pitch to make it better.” 


    “A lot of times, if you’re having a guy throw a four-seam, and it’s got a two-seam tilt, it might not always add up that he should be throwing all four-seams,” Stetter said. “There’s some stuff with Rapsodo and Edgertronic camera where we can sit there and make a decision on a guy, where, it might be more beneficial if he throws more two-seams, or it might be beneficial that he throws more four-seams. With new technology, you can tailor it to the guy. Certain grips play better to horizontal-breaking sliders.” 
    Joe West Never Missed A Call:

    "This is what people don't understand: When an umpire has a bad night, he goes back and looks at it," he said. "There has to be a reason you missed the call. Three ways you can miss a call: lack of concentration, lack of positioning, lack of timing. The Denkinger play at first base [in 1985 when the] Cardinals lost the World Series to the Royals. Don Denkinger overhustled on that play. He took himself out of position to see that play. Is that a bad thing that he hustled? No. But he put himself in the wrong spot. He's one of the best umpires the American League has ever had. He's remembered for that call. That's not fair. There's no batting average for performance for an umpire. They grade you, yes. But when you miss some, you can't go out and hit a homer. You have no recourse to get that back." 
    99-Year-Old Roger Angell On Modern Baseball Statistics:

    I think some of the new stats are useful. Good baseball played by Major Leaguers is so far beyond us—it’s the hardest game in the world to play well. And what underlies [the stat revolution] is, I think, a conscious and effective way to get some of this back, to say, “We know better. We know what the batters are doing. They don’t know what they’re doing.” It’s understandable, but it doesn’t add to the joy of the game for me. I’m not very statistical by nature, so I could be wrong about this. And I know a lot of people now use these stats and talk about them with interest. But also, it’s part of the huge alteration of the game itself. People tilting their swings and swinging for homers and striking out in huge numbers. This is a gigantic change in the game. I think home runs are OK, but on the whole, I prefer a triple. 
    Are We Teaching Wrong?

    Mr. Hirsch also takes issue with grade schools’ focus on “skills.” Whether it is imparting “critical thinking skills,” “communication skills” or “problem-solving skills,” he says such instruction is a waste of time in the absence of specific knowledge. He describes the findings of the National Academy of Sciences on the subject of the “domain specificity of human skills.” What this means, he explains in the new book, “is that being good at tennis does not make you good at golf or soccer. You may be a talented person with great hand-eye coordination—and indeed there are native general abilities that can be nurtured in different ways—but being a first-class swimmer will not make a person good at hockey.” 

    He cites the “baseball study,” conducted by researchers at Marquette University in the 1980s, which found that kids who knew more about how baseball was played performed better when answering questions about a text on baseball than those who didn’t understand the game—regardless of their reading level. The conventional response in education circles is that standardized tests are unfair because some kids are exposed to more specific knowledge than others. In Mr. Hirsch’s view that’s precisely why children should be exposed to more content: Educators “simply haven’t faced up to their duty to provide a coherent sequence of knowledge to children.” 
    What I'm Listening To (Spotify Playlist)
    What I'm Listening To (Podcast Recommendation)
  14. Like
    Hosken Bombo Disco reacted to Parker Hageman for a blog entry, What Are We Going To Do About This Hand Twin Thing?   
    A friend of mine passed away over the holiday weekend.
    We had attended high school together, were distant friends through college, and spent two years as roommates back in the cities after that.
    When we lived together, he was attending culinary school and the roommates would have the benefit of eating food that is normally not accessible to broke post-college kids trying to repay student loans. He would concoct four course meals and we were more than happy to be test subjects.
    We’d declare it the best thing we’ve ever eaten and he, being his own worst critic, would inform us that it was garbage and would vow to make it better next time.
    He modeled himself a bit after Anthony Bourdain. He had a beat up copy of Kitchen Confidential that he constantly implored me to read. I never did.
    Eventually the house split up. We went separate ways and saw each other less. Everyone my age or older likely has friendships like that. I had a growing family and he was launching a culinary career that took him to Central America and Alaska for work.
    The relationship became just a bi-yearly message to each other on Facebook, randomly sharing a couple inside jokes and stupid obscure pop culture references. We exchanged one just the previous week.
    He sent a one-liner: What are we going to do about this hand twin thing?
    It came from a Friends episode we watched years ago. He had an ability to bring groups of people together and our house used to host viewing parties during the final seasons. The line, delivered by Joey Tribbiani in the bathroom of a casino, always cracked us up. Sharing innocuous lines like that over the years just let each other know you were thinking about them.
    I spent most of Sunday night reflecting on our time. I spoke with another roommate of ours who had moved out of state as well. We shared memories of the years we all lived together.
    I realized how much baseball fandom can imprint on our lives.
    He once hosted a weekend-long party at his college house in Duluth. It was epic, as the kids would say. Thinking back to the revelry, I also remember slipping away to see Matt Lawton hit two home runs in Cleveland.
    Another time he went to visit a girl in New York City. He returned with a small panoramic of the old Yankee Stadium that he got at a secondhand shop because he knew how much I despised the Yankees. I still have that picture and I still hate the Yankees.
    His family would host gatherings at their cabin in northern Minnesota. They were amazingly hospitable people. His mom legitimately made the best sloppy joes. When my daughter wasn’t even a year old, he invited us for a low-key weekend of boating and bonfires. On the drive home, as my little girl slept in the back, I listened to Johan Santana’s 17-strikeout performance on the radio.
    When the Twins had a weekend series at Wrigley Field, we ran into each other at the Cubby Bear, the bar across the street from the stadium. We took time to share a Cubby Blue Bomb together, update each other on our current lives, and then went back to the separate group of friends we came with into Chicago.
    The last time we saw each other in person I was handing off tickets to him before a Twins game.
    We met at The Depot Tavern and played catch up. His seats were on one side of the ballpark and ours were on the other. We vowed to meet on the concourse or somewhere after the game but neither of us followed through.
    You are not supposed to live with regrets yet we do. I regret not reaching out more, not making an effort to stay connected. I regret not checking in more frequently to hear about his family, fiancee, and other adventures.
    Thirty-nine is way too young. You feel like you always have more time: There will be some other opportunity to catch up, there will be some other chance to reconnect, or some other time to say those were amazing memories.
    Looking back, I admired how he followed his passion. We were just becoming functioning adults and he already knew that he wanted to run kitchens and make people happy through food. Someone shared a video of him teaching a culinary class in a Facebook remembrance, making the room laugh in doing so. In a way he did become a version of Bourdain, traveling the world and experiencing cuisine in parts unknown.
    Maybe now I’ll listen to him and read that book.
  15. Like
    Hosken Bombo Disco reacted to Doctor Gast for a blog entry, Grapefruit Prank   
    Pranks are part of baseball culture which helps make the sport more enjoyable. I really liked this article about how the Grapefruit League supposingly got its name. I always enjoy a clean prank & thought that maybe if anyone hasn`t seen this article should read it to uplift your spirits.
  16. Like
    Hosken Bombo Disco reacted to TwinsFan268 for a blog entry, Are Homer Bailey and Rich Hill Really A Good Idea?   
    The Twins went into this offseason looking for impact pitching. They'd had a phenomenal offensive season, hitting 307 home runs, but their pitching wasn't so awesome. They were also entering the offseason with a rotation that consisted of Jose Berrios. They quickly extended a qualifying offer to Jake Odorizzi, and he accepted. Then, they resigned Michael Pineda to a 2 year contract. Fans said that the rotation looked "too much like last year" but I didn't think about that. I would think about how they really needed two more pitchers. You can't have a rotation that consists of three people, and especially not 2 people for the first 39 games of the season. (Of course, we did know that they would use Randy Dobnak, or Devin Smeltzer, or Lewis Thorpe in this spot.) So finally, on Tuesday, they signed Homer Bailey and Rich Hill. (ha ha, a pitcher named Homer?) When I was reading Twitter comments on their posts about signing them, a lot of them said things like this is a great signing-from Indians fans and I thought you wanted to keep up with the White Sox. One of the worst things about this signing is that Hill is injured until JUNE! So, in addition to Dobnak, Smeltzer, or Thorpe being used in Pineda's spot, they're going to need one of them to fill Hill's spot. (Now is the part where you should be saying "Oh, God, this was a really bad signing") I will give you the even worse part of it: Hill will be 40 the next time he comes to pitch. Nelson Cruz will also be 40 next season, but he's a designated hitter, not a pitcher! (Now you say "Why the heck did they do this?") And, both their contracts are for only 1 year, so when the Twins enter next offseason, they'll practically be back at square one with Odorizzi also set to enter free agency. Could they have made a worse signing?
    Also here's a secret: Homer Bailey looks terrifying and old and like he needs to smile more.
  17. Like
    Hosken Bombo Disco reacted to Matt Johnson for a blog entry, The Twin Almanac for Dec 29–Jan 4   
    December 29
    Happy Birthday, Jim Brower

    Happy 47th birthday to 1991 Minnetonka graduate and Golden Gophers all-time great Jim Brower (1994 Dave Winfield Pitcher of the Year Award winner).
    He spent parts of nine seasons in the majors with Cleveland, the Reds, Expos, Giants, Atlanta, the Orioles, Padres, and Yankees.
    He led the majors with 89 appearances with the Giants in 2004. (Bonus Fact: 2008 Chaska graduate Brad Hand led the majors with 82 appearances with San Diego in 2016).

    December 30, 1923
    Birthdate of Harry Elliott

    1942 Watertown graduate Harry Elliott was born in San Francisco on this date in 1923. The Golden Gophers all-time great had some prodigious minor league seasons, but missed his window of opportunity for a significant major league career, not signing his first professional contract until he was almost 27—after a brief stint as a touring jazz pianist, service in the Navy Air Corps, and attending the University of Minnesota on the G.I. Bill. The stocky 5-foot-7, 175-pound Elliott possessed a quick bat, deceptive power to all fields, and a fiery competitive disposition. After getting a cup of coffee in 1953, he spent the entire 1955 season with the Cardinals, but his best years were already behind him.
    For more about Harry Elliott, check out my blog post (it’s about an eight-minute read): TwinsAlmanac.com/HarryElliott

    December 30
    Happy 75th Birthday, Jose Morales

    Former Twin Jose Morales was born in the U.S. Virgin Islands on this date in 1944. He set a major league record with 25 pinch hits for the Expos in 1976 (broken by Jon Vander Wal with 28 in 1995).
    He played for the Twins from 1978 to ‘80. In 1978, he led the American League with a .323 average as a designated hitter (.314 overall), and set a team record with 14 pinch hits (since tied by Chip Hales in 1995, and broken by Hale with 19 in ‘96). Morales’s 36 pinch hits over three seasons with the Twins is fourth-most in team history.
    He tied 1964 Waterville graduate Jerry Terrell’s 1975 team record by grounding into three triple plays on May 17, 1980. He hit a grand slam off future Twins Dan Schatzeder on June 19, 1980 (Schatzeder was the winning pitcher in Game 6 of the 1987 World Series).

    December 30, 2010
    Killebrew Reveals Cancer Diagnosis

    74-year-old Twins legend Harmon Killebrew issues a statement announcing that he has been diagnosed with esophageal cancer. He passed away just over five months later, on May 17, 2011.

    December 31
    Happy 58th Birthday, Rick Aguilera

    Longtime Twins closer Rick Aguilera was born in San Gabriel, CA on this date in 1961. The Twins acquired Aggie on July 31, 1989 in what was perhaps the greatest trade in team history, sending 1987 World Series MVP and ’88 Cy Young winner Frank Viola to the Mets for David West, Aguilera, Kevin Tapani, Tim Drummond, and Jack Savage (as a player to be named later on October 16).
    Aggie saved 254 games for the Twins between 1989 and ’99, second only to Joe Nathan‘s 260. He saved 42 regular season games for the 1991 World Series Champion Twins.
    Aggie, who hit three home runs with the Mets, pinch-hit in the 12th inning of Game 3 of the World Series, becoming the first pitcher to do so since Don Drysdale pinch-hit for Sandy Koufax vs. Jim Kaat in Game 2 of the ’65 Series.
    He was the winning pitcher in two of the most memorable Game 6’s in World Series history: 1986 (Buckner game), and 1991 (Puckett game).

    January 1
    Happy 36th Birthday, Neil Wagner

    2002 Eden Prairie graduate Neil Wagner was born in Minneapolis on this date in 1984. He pitched for North Dakota State for three seasons before signing with Cleveland in 2005.
    He made his major league debut pitching for the Oakland Athletics against Cleveland on August 30, 2011. He pitched five innings over six games with the Athletics that season. He made it back to the majors with the Toronto Blue Jays, getting into 36 games in 2013, and 10 in 2014.
    Wagner pitched three scoreless innings over four appearances against the Twins, holding them to 1-for-11 (.091). Chris Colabello hit a seventh-inning double for the Twins’ only hit off Wagner in the second game of a doubleheader at Target Field on April 14, 2014. The next inning, Blue Jays pitchers combined to give up six runs on EIGHT walks and just one hit.

    January 2
    Happy 55th Birthday, Greg Swindell

    Seventeen-year major leaguer and 1989 All-Star Greg Swindell was born in Fort Worth, TX on this date in 1965. He led the Twins with a 3.58 in his only full season with the team—1997.
    He made 64 appearances with the 2001 World Series champion Arizona Diamondbacks.
    1980 New Ulm graduate Terry Steinbach homered off Swindell in his first major league at-bat on September 12, 1986.

    January 3, 1897
    Birthdate of Pete Turgeon

    Pete Turgeon was born in Minneapolis on this date in 1897.
    He got into three games (one start at shortstop) with the 1923 Cubs, going 1-for-6 with a run scored altogether. The Cubs lost all three games he played in.

    January 3
    Happy 77th Birthday, Bob Gebhard

    Former Twins pitcher and front office exec Bob Gebhard was born in Lamberton, MN on this date in 1943. The Twins drafted Gebhard out of the University of Iowa in the 44th round of the very first amateur draft in 1965. That summer he went 11-2 with a 1.91 ERA for the St. Cloud Rox.
    Gebhard pitched professionally for 11 years, including 30 relief appearances with the Twins between 1970 and ‘71, and two innings with the ‘74 Expos. He was a player/coach with the Expos’ triple-A club in ‘74 and ’75, minor league field director and pitching coach from 1976 to ’81, part of the major league coaching staff in ’82, and director of minor league operations through 1986.
    Andy MacPhail brought Gebhard home to Minnesota in 1987, hiring him as director of major league personnel. Here’s a fun remembrance MacPhail shared of Gebhard’s first season back in Minnesota: “Literally we had just won the world championship and Bob Gebhard turns to me and goes ‘Damn, Andy, we won this thing. We were just trying to get organized!’”
    He assumed the title of vice president of player personnel in 1988. Following the 1991 World Series, Gebhard became general manager of the expansion Colorado Rockies, who began play in 1993. He hired ’87 Twins World Series hero Don Baylor as manager, signed first baseman Andres Galarraga the day before the ’92 expansion draft, and pulled off a trade for slugger Dante Bichette immediately following the draft. He signed Larry Walker in the spring of ’95, and that year, just the team’s third in existence, the Rockies won the NL West. The following season the Rockies won the NL’s first-ever wild card spot. Gebhard resigned from the Rockies on August 20, 1999 amid speculation that he was about to be fired.
    Gebhard served in the St. Louis Cardinals front office from 2000 to 2004, and as vice president, special assistant to the general manager of the Diamondbacks from 2005 to 2016. He received the Roland Hemond Award from the Society of American Baseball Research (SABR) in 2012 in recognition of his contributions to the community of professional baseball scouts.
    Gebhard makes his home in Centennial, Colorado.
    (See the @TwinsAlmanac Twitter account on January 3rd for a chance to win an autographed 1972 Topps card)

    January 3
    Happy 40th Birthday, Michael Restovich

    It’s the birthday of former major league outfielder Michael Restovich, born in Rochester, MN in 1979. Restovich was named Minnesota High School Baseball Player of the Year in 1997, his senior season at Rochester Mayo. He was drafted by the Twins in the second round that June (the Twins’ first-round draft choice Virginia high schooler Michael Cuddyer).
    Restovich hit .369 in 76 games between the Rookie League Elizabethton Twins and class-A Fort Wayne Wizards in 1998. In 1999 he hit .312 with 19 HR and 107 RBI for the class-A Quad City River Bandits.
    Restovich made his major league debut on September 18, 2002. His first major league hit was a ninth-inning pinch-hit homer in a 14-4 Twins loss at Comiskey Park on September 21. Future Twins closer Jon Rauch started the game and earned the victory for Chicago despite giving up lead-off home runs to David Ortiz and Corey Koskie in the second and fourth innings. Koskie hit a second leadoff homer in the sixth off reliever Mike Porzio. Brad Radke had an uncharacteristically bad day, allowing six earned runs on nine hits in just three innings.
    Restovich went on to play parts of six major league seasons with the Twins (’02-’04), Rockies (’05), Pirates (’05), Cubs (’06), and Nationals (’07). He made 297 plate appearances over 152 games, hitting .239 with 28 walks, six home runs, and 21 RBI.
    Fun Fact: Wuertz and 1997 Austin graduate Michael Wuertz would have played against each other a handful of times in high school, and presumably on summer teams as well. I know Restovich homered off Wuertz in high school at least once. Wuertz spent eight seasons in the majors with the Cubs and the Athletics, but the two never met on the big stage.

    January 4
    Happy 76th Birthday, Charlie Manuel

    It’s the birthday of baseball lifer Charlie Manuel, born in West Virginia on this date in 1944. He spent parts of six seasons in left field with the Twins, hitting .198 with four home runs over 242 games between 1969 and 1972.
    After 19 games over two seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Manuel moved on to a very successful six-year career in Japan. He averaged .319 with 41 home runs per year over the four seasons from 1977 to 1980.
    Manuel spent five seasons managing in the Twins system, ending with the 45-96 triple-A Portland Beavers, which included Ron Gardenhire and Billy Beane.
    He managed the Phillies to back-to-back World Series, winning it all in 2008.

    January 4, 2002
    Gardenhire Named Manager

    The Twins announce former third base coach Ron Gardenhire as the 12th manager in team history, succeeding Tom Kelly, who, after the team’s first winning season in nine years, announced his retirement on October 12, 2001. TK was the longest tenured manager or head coach in all of professional sports at the time of his retirement.
    The Twins won the AL Central in each of Gardy’s first three seasons, and in six of his first nine. They only advanced past the divisional round, however, in Gardy’s first season of 2002.
    After five runner-up finishes, he was named AL Manager of the Year in 2010. He managed the Twins for 13 seasons before being fired on September 29, 2014, having amassed 1,068 wins—just 72 shy of TK’s team record of 1,140.
    After serving as Arizona Diamondbacks bench coach in 2017, Gardy took over the Tigers’ managerial job in 2018.
    Keep in touch with @TwinsAlmanac on Twitter.
  18. Like
    Hosken Bombo Disco reacted to JeromeTyleski for a blog entry, The Present that never comes   
    It’s Christmas. Santa has already come down the chimney and dropped off presents. Wrapping paper that was once wrapped around a gift with precision lives either in the recycling bin or in shards on the floor. Tears, both of joy and of disappointment, have been shed. Meanwhile, the Twins fan waits patiently, periodically looking up the chimney to see if a gift is just stuck along the walls.
    It’s something you get used to as a fan of a lower-to-mid-market team. You’re not the rich kid that gets a new car every other holiday season, but you’re also not the family that shops at the food shelf for Christmas Dinner. You’re in the middle, which can be the worst place of all.
    Part of being a fan in the middle is talking about payroll, about business, about dollars. This has been a reality for me since LaVelle was writing his annual stories in the early 2000s about not being able to keep the resurgent Twins teams together. Instead of just being excited that a possible Josh Donaldson signing would improve our offense for the next four years, we have to consider how much of his potential $20MM+ salary in 2022 may hold us back from resigning some of our homegrown players.
    A couple of years ago this attitude made me start counting down the days until Joe Mauer’s contract was going to be off the books. Would shedding $23MM from the expenses materially change anything in terms of wins and losses? Probably not, but that $23MM could have been better spent in 2018. I dislike having to think that way but it’s a necessity. Right now, the Minnesota Twins have at least $23MM to spend, and probably closer to $30-35MM. Essentially, they could add a Lexus to their fleet and not miss the money
    However, the further away I get from midnight, the less sure I am that Santa Claus is going to come through. I tried to be good all year. I went to the Twins Winter Caravan, I wanted to go to Twinsfest (work duties got in the way), I bought my flex pack and renewed for 2020 even though the prices went up. I did everything a fan is supposed to do. And right now it feels like my financial dedication is being answered with silence. I feel like I’m closer to shopping for an off-brand Martin Perez at the food shelf than walking out my front door to a luxury automobile topped with an oversized red bow.
    But I’m in the middle class. I’m resourceful enough to know I don’t need to live off handouts. I’m naïve enough to think I can reach the top of the mountain, if even for just one year. And I’m smart enough to know the intelligent allocation of dollars are the best path to get to the peak.
    So that’s what I aim to do here on my blog. I want to explore the money game, the dollars behind the diamond. I want to figure out the best use of $100K, of $10MM. I plan to do some research, a lot of speculation and hopefully some education.
    So sit back, enjoy the unseasonable warmth and gather around the fire. Because if the stove’s not hot, at least the fireplace is.
  19. Like
    Hosken Bombo Disco reacted to Dave Overlund for a blog entry, Sounds Like Twins Are Out On Ryu   
    Ken Rosenthal said on Twitter this morning (I can't figure out how to embed on here):
    "Expectation within the industry is Ryu will exceed Bumgarner's $17m aav in deal of at least four years. Two industry people with knowledge of starting pitching market predict minimum 4 years/$80 million. Teams still in need of starter include Blue Jays, Angels, Twins."
    Darren Wolfson via Twitter:
    "Hear that the MNTwins aren't sure yet if 4-year offer makes sense. His injury history and age suggest it doesn't. But, realistically, the only chance you have to make him think about coming to Minnesota is to go there. Personally, I'd keep exploring the trade market."
  20. Like
    Hosken Bombo Disco reacted to scottz for a blog entry, Remaining Free Agents (and why they won't sign here)   
    Felix Hernandez RP 34 - Doesn't want to share crown with Aquatennial Queen of the Lakes
    Josh Donaldson 3B 34 - Loons kinda freak him out
    Jacoby Ellsbury CF 36 - No longer very good at baseball
    Dallas Keuchel SP 32 - Concerned that North Stars fans still aren't over it
    Edwin Encarnacion DH 37 - Weather too cold for imaginary parrot
    Alex Gordon CF 36 - Retro baby blue uniforms clash just a little with all his Royal blue gear
    Hyun-Jin Ryu SP 33 - Airport not close enough to the west coast
    Ryan Zimmerman 1B - Feels like anyone who has been through Zimmerman, MN might not like him right off the bat
    Russell Martin C 37 - Has heard a catcher is more likely to be concussed here
    Wei-Yin Chen RP 35 - 6.59 ERA in 2019
    Rich Hill SP 40 - He's 40
    Ben Zobrist 2B 39 - He's 39
    Martin Prado 3B 36 - Keeps alpacas in Texas
    Mark Trumbo DH 34 - Isn't Nelson Cruz
    Marcell Ozuna LF 29 - Sees how Rosario is treated
    Nick Castellanos RF - Unbalanced schedule - doesn't want to have to go back to Detroit that much
    Yasiel Puig RF 29 - Keeps fainting goats in 49 other states
    Alex Wood SP 29 - Insufficient quantities of chiropractors
    Trevor Cahill RP 32 - We've got a shot here
    Brian Dozier 2B 33 - Never heard of him
    Tommy Hunter RP 34 - Insists on being called Tommy, Lord of the North, and that just doesn't fly
    Jason Kipnis 2B 33 - Doesn't like state fairs
    Kole Calhoun RF 32 - Doesn't want to change his name to Kole Bde Maka Ska
    Ivan Nova SP 33 - Longs to reunite with Pittsburgh
    Starlin Castro 2B 30 - Likely to sign him and cash in when in gets to 2000 hits
    Juan Nicasio RP 33 - Doesn't realize how many good restaurants we have
    Todd Frazier 3B 34 - Would prefer not to be around so many lakes
    Corey Dickerson LF 31 - Would prefer many more lakes
    Jason Castro C 33 - Number of lakes is fine, but would like less fish
    Pat Neshek RP 39 - Homecoming is possible
    Andrew Cashner RP 33 - Friend of a friend has heard Minnesota "smells a little"
    Jason Vargas SP 37 - Too many Jasons already here
    C.C. Sabathia SP 39 - Too many C.C.s already here
    Cesar Hernandez 2B 30 - Would never live up to Cesar Tovar's precedent
    Jonathan Schoop 2B 28 - Never heard of him
    Welington Castillo C 33 - Minnesotans would latch on to the "Beef" nickname too much
    Dellin Betances RP 32 - Keeps ostriches in New York
    Anthony Swarzak RP 34 - Homecoming is possible
    Drew Smyly SP 31 - Look at all these free agents left
    Derek Holland RP 33 - I honestly didn't think this bit would be this long
    Mitch Moreland 1B 34 - Mitch Moreland? More like Mitch Lessland, huh?
    Julio Teheran SP 29 - If he's not good enough for Atlanta
    Fernando Rodney RP 43 - If he's still throwing, homecoming is possible
    Jordy Mercer SS 33 - Is he related to Bobby Mercer?
    Billy Hamilton CF 29 - Is he still fast?
    Taijuan Walker SP 27 - Let's give it a try, Taijuan.
    Sam Dyson RP 32 - I think this bit is over
    Brandon Kintzler RP 35 - Yeah, it's over
    C.J. Cron 1B 30 - Definitely over
    Eric Thames RF 33 -
    Steve Cishek RP 34 -
    Steven Pearce 1B 37
    Jedd Gyorko 3B 31
    Pedro Strop RP 35
    Kevin Pillar CF 31
    Collin McHugh RP 33
    Tyson Ross SP 33
    Robinson Chirinos C 36
    Arodys Vizcaino RP 29
    Juan Lagares CF 31
    Travis Shaw 3B 30
    Yolmer Sanchez 3B 28
    Danny Salazar SP 30
    Justin Smoak 1B 33
    Hector Rondon RP 32
    Wilmer Flores 2B 28
    Will Harris RP 35
    Steven Souza RF 31
    Jon Jay RF 35
    Matt Adams 1B 31
    Jarrod Dyson CF 35
    Jimmy Nelson RP 31
    Brock Holt 2B 32
    Brian Duensing RP 37
    Asdrubal Cabrera 2B 34
    Addison Russell SS 26
    Chad Bettis SP 31
    Yoshihisa Hirano RP 36
    Clay Buchholz SP 35
    Wade LeBlanc RP 35
    Lonnie Chisenhall RF 31
    Shawn Kelley RP 36
    Matt Duffy 3B 29
    Nate Jones RP 34
    Tony Cingrani RP 30
    Hernan Perez 2B 29
    David Phelps RP 33
    Matt Albers RP 37
    Justin Bour 1B 32
    Matt Moore SP 31
    Jose Iglesias SS 30
    Martin Maldonado C 33
    Jonny Venters RP 35
    Craig Stammen RP 36
    Jared Hughes RP 34
    Edinson Volquez RP 36
    Logan Forsythe 2B 33
    Derek Dietrich 2B 30
    Brian McCann C 36
    Hunter Pence RF 37
    Neil Walker 2B 34
    Gio Gonzalez SP 34
    Domingo Santana RF 27
    Devon Travis 2B 29
    J.C. Ramirez SP 31
    Kazuhisa Makita RP
    Francisco Liriano RP 36
    Devin Mesoraco C 32
    Tim Beckham 3B 30
    Curtis Granderson LF 39
    Kyle Barraclough RP 30
    Chris Rusin RP 33
    Luis Garcia RP 33
    John Axford RP 37
    Luis Avilan RP 30
    Brandon Guyer LF 34
    Ryan Tepera RP 32
    Daniel Hudson RP 33
    Matt Wieters C 34
    Tyler Clippard RP 35
    Brandon Maurer RP 29
    Jerry Blevins RP 36
    Robbie Erlin RP 29
    Cory Gearrin RP 34
    Ryan Buchter RP 33
    Aaron Loup RP 32
    Steven Wright RP 35
    Jeremy Hellickson RP 33
    Dominic Leone RP 28
    Dan Otero RP 35
    Bryan Hoay C 32
    Cory Spangenberg 2B 29
    Greg Bird 1B 27
    Melky Cabrera LF 35
    Kevin Plawecki C 29
    Caleb Joseph C 34
    Josh Phegley C 32
    Nicholas Tropeano SP 29
    Jose Lobaton C 35
    Gorkys Hernandez LF 32
    Adam Rosales 2B 37
    Ervin Santana SP 37
    Logan Morrison DH 32
    Erasmo Ramirez SP 30
    Matt Joyce LF 35
    Adeiny Hechavarria SS 31
    Josh Tomlin RP 35
    Ryan Goins 2B 32
    Jerad Eickhoff SP 29
    Bryan Mitchell RP 29
    John Ryan Murphy C 29
    Xavier Cedeno RP 33
    Tyler Saino SS 30
    Cheslor Cuthbert 3B 27
    Jesus Sucre C 32
    Kelby Tomlinson 2B 30
    Andres Blanco 3B 36
    Tom Koehler RP 34
    Josh Fields RP 34
    Javy Guerra RP 34
    Fernando Abad RP 34
    Ronald Torreyes 2B 27
    Guillermo Heredia CF 29
    Tony Barnette RP 36
    Gordon Beckham 2B 33
    J.B. Shuck LF 33
    Allen Webster SP 30
    Michael Blazek RP 31
    Cody Anderson SP 29
    Josh Thole C 33
    Pat Venditte RP 35
    Ryon Healy 1B 28
    Elias Diaz C 29
    Matt Grace RP 31
    Jose Pirela 2B 30
    Dan Straily SP 31
    Jesse Biddle RP 28
    Edubray Ramos RP 27
    Kevan Smith C 32
    Trevor Hildenberger RP 29
    Joey Rickard LF 29
    Jacob Barnes RP 30
    John Hicks C 30
    Daniel Stumpf RP 29
    Tyler Olson RP 30
    J.T. Riddle SS 28
    Aaron Brooks SP 30
    D.J. Johnson RP 30
    Jacob Nix SP 24
    Ryan Burr RP 26
    Rajai Davis CF 39
    Carlos Gomez RF 34
    Tyler Austin 1B 28 EDIT: I'm removing Tyler Austin from the list because dex8425 said he signed with a team in Japan, that it was a pretty good deal for Tyler Austin actually, and that dex8425 is taking any and all wagers that Tyler Austin will rake. Also, I read on mlbtraderumors or on a Doogie tweet that Tyler Austin's girlfriend preferred being near an airport in Japan, so we never had a shot anyway.
    Kohl Stewart RP 25
    Tim Peterson RP 29
    Felipe Paulino SP 36
    Hector Santiago RP 32
    Eric Sogard 2B 34
    Mike Morin RP 29
    Homer Bailey SP 34
    Blake Parker RP 35
    Brian Schlitter RP 34
    Brooks Pounders RP 29
    Danny Hultzen RP 30
    Caleb Frare RP 26
    Thyago Vieira RP 27
    Ryan Feierabend SP 34
    Derek Law RP 29
    Jim Adduci CF 35
    Jason Adam RP 28
    Rob Brantly C 30
    Wilkin Castillo C 36
    Rico Garcia P 26
    Isaac Galloway RF 30
    Humberto Arteaga SS 26
    Oscar Hernandez C 26
    Erick Mejia 2B 25
    Deven Marrero SS 29
    Ian Gibaut RP 26
    Peter O'Brien RF 29
    Jace Peterson 3B 30
    Yadiel Rivera 2B 28
    David Hale RP 32
    Tom Milone SP 33
    Josh Smith RP 32
    Drew Gagnon RP 30
    Fernando Salas RP 35
    Joe Hudson C 29
    Francisco Cervelli C 34
    Austin Adams P 33
    Joe Panik 2B 29
    Ross Detwiler RP 34
    Aaron Slegers SP 27
    Zac Rosscup RP 32
    Chris Owings 2B 28
    Robby Scott RP 30
    Juan Minaya RP 29
    Brad Miller 2B 30
    Charlie Tilson CF 27
    Mike Gerber OF 27
    Kris Negron RF 34
    Edwin Jackson SP 36
    Tyler Lyons RP 32
    Buddy hers RP 32
    Jonathan Lucroy C 34
    Tim Federowicz C 33
    Sean Gilmartin RP 30
    Cameron Maybin RF 33
    Rookie Davis SP 27
    Donnie Hart RP 29
    Sean Rodriguez 2B 35
    Ricardo Pinto RP 26
    Gabriel Ynoa SP 27
    Yonder Alonso 1B 33
    David Carpenter RP 34
    Tayler Scott SP 28
    Ryan Eades P 28
    Matt Kemp LF 35
    Pablo Sandoval 3B 33
    Bobby Wilson C 37
    Rene Rivera C 36
    Nick Vincent RP 33
    Juan Centeno C 30
    Ryan LaMarre LF 31
    Gregor Blanco RF 36
    Chris Stewart C 38
    Marcos Mateo RP 36
    Erik Kratz C 40
    Tim Collins RP 30
    Jeff Bianchi 2B 33
    Rubby De La Rosa SP 31
    Josh Edgin RP 33
    Jemile Weeks 2B 33
    Travis Snider RF 32
    Kila Ka'aihue 1B 36
    Mike Zagurski RP 37
    Shane Robinson CF 35
    Cliff Pennington SS 36
    Alex Wilson RP 33
    Danny Espinosa SS 33
    Ricky Nolasco SP 37
    Logan Kensing RP 37
    Dylan Axelrod RP 34
    Johnny Giavotella 2B 32
    Duane Below RP 34
    J.C. can C 40
    Chris Withrow RP 31
    Nick Franklin LF 29
    Rafael Lopez C 32
    George Kontos RP 35
    Seth Maness RP 31
    Alcides Escobar SS 33
    Grant Green LF 32
    Neftali Feliz RP 32
    J.J. Hoover RP 32
    Wilin Rosario 1B 31
    Chris Hatcher RP 35
    Dan Runzler RP 35
    Collin Balester RP 34
    Brandon Beachy SP 33
    Brandon Hicks 2B 34
    Henderson Alvarez SP 30
    Juan Jaime RP 32
    Alex Torres RP 32
    Robbie Ross RP 31
    Drew Hutchison SP 29
    Zach McAllister RP 32
    Cole Gillespie LF 36
    Stolmy Pimentel RP 30
    Michael Martinez 2B 37
    Dioner Navarro C 36
    Logan Ondrusek RP 35
    Stephen Pryor RP 30
    Fernando Rodriguez RP 36
    Ezequiel Carrera LF 33
    Wilkin Ramirez LF 34
    Emilio Bonifacio CF 35
    Mark Rogers RP 34
    B.J. Rosenberg RP 34
    Justin Sellers SS 34
    Moises Sierra RF 31
    Scott Van Slyke LF 33
    Josh Zeid RP 33
    Zach Putnam RP 32
    Shelby Miller SP 29
    David Lough RF 34
    Brad Boxberger RP 32
    Hector Sanchez C 30
  21. Like
    Hosken Bombo Disco reacted to mikelink45 for a blog entry, Next year - add a little fire   
    This is a short Blog - kind of a reaction blog set off by the St Louis Cardinals (my favorite NL team). Did you see the headline - 10 runs in the first inning. The Braves were in never never land! What happened. A really good team beat another really good team and did it with fire!
    The articles say that the pre-game talk by the Cardinal Manager (who the hell is Schildts?) was angry, it pushed the limits and for a while was available on video. ESPN had this article - "In a video that surfaced online Wednesday night, St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Shildt can be seen giving a fiery, expletive-filled speech to his team in the locker room following a win over the Atlanta Braves in Game 5 of the National League Division Series.
    "The [braves] started some s---. We finished the s---," Shildt says in the video, which outfielder Randy Arozarena later acknowledged he streamed live on Instagram. "And that's how we roll. No one f---s with us ever. Now, I don't give a f--- who we play. We're gonna f--- them up. We're gonna take it right to them the whole f---ing way. We're gonna kick their f---ing ass."" https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/27809815/locker-room-video-shows-cardinals-manager-expletive-filled-speech
    In contrast our manager felt fine just like Dave Roberts after his Dodgers bombed again. The bombs are not as fun as Bombas, by the way.
    It reminds me of the Vikings Superbowl bombs. I was so keyed up for them, but as I watched the players they were not. Just going through business as usual. There unflappable coach was stoic and the players were run over by the emotion, if not the talent, of Kansas City, Oakland, Miami, and Pittsburgh. Emotions count.
    Next year Rocco, I hope the players love you, I hope that they enjoy playing for the Twins, but when you get to the place where the season hinges on the game - get mad, get emotional, play like it is more than a game.
  22. Like
    Hosken Bombo Disco reacted to Dave Overlund for a blog entry, The DJ At Target Field   
    Wondering what fans at Game Three thought of the nightclub atmosphere at the game last night. I thought having a DJ playing "sick beats" and loud, thumping bass for four hours was really grating... but I am an old soul.
    Last season I really enjoyed my trip to Wrigley to see the Twins play. The PA guy wasn't shouting, the music wasn't blaring and the fans didn't need their hands held the entire game to know if/when to MAKE NOISE.
    Personally, I think a DJ/pump-up music guy is cool for the pregame but holy cow did that get old after a while last night.
    Again, maybe I'm just old so I am wondering what others thought.
  23. Like
    Hosken Bombo Disco reacted to jorgenswest for a blog entry, Baldelli and Line Ups: Which Twin has faced the best pitching?   
    I became interested in the Astudillo discussion in the resting players topic and wondered about Astudillo's use. I have been thinking about this since his critical hit against Matt Barnes in the Red Sox series.
    Matt Barnes is a right handed pitcher with the highest k/9 rate in the AL and nearly the highest AL k-rate at 38%. The Twins are tied with the Red Sox 1-1 in the 7th inning. Miguel Sano is in scoring position with two outs. The Twins have 1 hit through 6 2/3. Jonathan Schoop is coming to the plate and in comes Matt Barnes. It is time to pinch hit with a left handed batter or so I thought. They have Polanco and Wade on the bench. They also have Astudillo. Astudillo? Why Astudillo? Kepler is up next. Let's get someone on base. Polanco or Wade must be a better choice. I was certain.
    Astudillo slaps a single to right field for the Twins second and last hit of the game. The Twins hold on to win 2-1. Lucky decision on Baldelli's part I muttered. The moment stuck with me though. I wondered... "When does Baldelli choose to use Astudillo?"
    With the help of Baseball Prospectus I looked to the quality of opposing pitcher for each Twin hitter with over 100 PAs. We have heard that the line ups are well thought out and planned. Maybe some hitters have faced a more difficult set of pitchers by design.
    Not surprisingly the typical pitcher faced profile for a Twin hitter is Polanco. He plays the most. The opposing pitchers he has faced have allowed a .770 OPS resulting in a 105 oppRPA+. More than half of the Twin hitters bunch in the interquartile range of 104-106. Only one Twin batter has faced better than league average opposing pitching this year with a 99 oppRPA+. Willians Astudillo. Astudillo's 746 oppOPS is two standard deviations away from the typical opposing pitcher faced. I don't think this happens by accident or randomly. Baldelli must either be choosing to play Astudillo against more difficult pitching or at least choosing to rest players against a more difficult pitcher.
    If you are still reading and curious the Twin closest to Astudillo is Arraez at .751 and the only other Twin more than a standard deviation away in this direction. There are two Twins on the opposite end though not near as far from center as Astudillo. Marwin Gonzalez (.779) and Byron Buxton (.781) have seen the pitchers who have given up the highest OPS to the hitters they have faced.
    Does this or should this give us a different impression on Astudillo's performance at the plate this year?
  24. Like
    Hosken Bombo Disco reacted to mikelink45 for a blog entry, Blown leads   
    11 1/2 game lead is huge, losing it by August 10 is terrifying. True, we have time left and Cruz will come back and maybe Buxton too. Jack Cave might be replaced by someone who can do better in MLB from our minor leagues and maybe we will strike gold with one or two pitchers as we allow the entire minor league system to audition for us this year, but still 11.5 games! That is a lead worthy of 7 percent of the season.
    So come on Twins. Beat the bad teams. I think most have given up on beat the good teams and get into the playoffs where, I am sorry to say, you will only be playing good teams.
    Do you remember the 1969 Cubs 4.5 games up going into September and then winning just 1/3rd of their games to finish 8 behind the miracle Mets? I know NY had a great year, but poor Chicago. By the way they had 4 players on that team go to the HOF.
    Or our old manager Gene Mauch and his 1964 team? They led by 6 1/2 games with 12 to play. They had Dick Allen and HOF Jim Bunning. They lost 10 Straight and St Louis went to the series! That hurts.
    Tied for the lead on the last day of the season the 2007 Mets blew the pennant and the Phillies won. The Mets had Pedro and Glavine in their rotation but went 1 - 6 to finish the season. Then in 2008 they fired their manager part way through the year and had a 3 1/2 game lead with 17 games to go. But losing 10 of 17 is not the way to the World Series.
    The 1951 Dodgers had one of the saddest losses - the NY Giants steam rolled right over them with a 37 - 7 ending to the season to tie and a playoff with the home run heard around the world and still being played every year. The Dodgers had been up 13.5 on August 11! Yes that is tomorrow. And then they went to the playoff game - one game to decide and lead 4 - 1 going into the ninth. Ralph Branca - not a bad pitcher - against Dale Long - not a great hitter - and a three run home run destroyed the Dodger's year.
    Lets enjoy 2009, the year the Tigers led by 7 games on September 6 over the MINNESOTA TWINS. We won 10 of 11 and Alexi Casilla put us in the playoffs!
    In 1978 the Red Sox led by 9 over the Brewers and 14 over the Yankees on July 19th. The Yankees went 52 - 21 and into a playoff. Anyone heard of Bucky Dent? Well the Red Sox fans will never forget him as he ripped the hearts out the Boston team.
    2011 the Red Sox again were leading by 9 games over the Rays on September 1 and then played a 7 - 20 final month and lost the pennant to Tampa Bay.
    1995 the Angels, who have been a playoff deprived team, led by a familiar 11.5 on August 9 and then the wheels fell off. going 12 - 27 and were put out of the misery by Randy Johnson in a one-game playoff. 1998 they had a 3 1/2-game lead in the division with 19 to play and lost 13 of their last 19.
    In 1987 the Blue Jays held a 3.5 game lead with 7 to go and could not win another game. The Tigers went to the playoffs. Where they would face the Twins.
    2003 the Mariners had the best record in baseball, but (does this sound familiar?) they played just under 500 ball for the rest of the season and took the off season off.
    The 2010 Padres had a last half season collapse and after having just one three-game losing streak all season, the Padres proceeded to drop 10 straight. (Sounds too close to home). With a 6 1/2 game lead on August 25 they came the closest that the poor team could come to Post Season and watched Arizona go to the series.

    There are more where these came from. Painful I know but that is baseball. Let's go Twins - this is a list I do not want you to be on.
  25. Like
    Hosken Bombo Disco reacted to Heezy1323 for a blog entry, Biceps Tendinitis Q&A   
    Biceps Tendinitis in Pitchers Q&A
    A request was made by a poster for me to write a blog covering biceps tendinitis. This is actually a fairly complicated topic with quite a bit of controversy, but I’ll do my best to share some basic info that hopefully TD peeps will find interesting. There are some technical parts, so apologies for that, but I do think a basic understanding of the anatomy is helpful.
    Question 1: What is the biceps, exactly?
    The biceps is a muscle that we are likely all familiar with, lying in the front of the upper arm and used to perform curls and similar exercises. The word ‘biceps’ has a Latin origin meaning ‘two heads’. This describes the upper (or proximal) end of the biceps where there are two tendon attachments.
    The first is the long head of the biceps which attaches to the labrum at the top of the socket in the shoulder. It then curves over the top of the ball (humeral head) where it exits the shoulder joint and begins its course down the front of the upper arm bone (humerus). At the front of the shoulder joint, it travels through what is called the ‘bicipital groove’ which is an area of the bone of the humerus between two bumps (called tuberosities). This groove is often the site of issues in pitchers (more on this below).

    The second is the short head of the biceps, which originates from a bony projection off the shoulder blade in the front of your shoulder called the coracoid. It travels straight from here to meet up with the long head of the biceps in the upper 1/3 of the arm. There, the tendons join and form the biceps muscle.
    Below this (distally), the muscle turns back into a tendon just above the elbow and a single tendon then travels down to one of the bones of your forearm (called the radius) where it attaches at a bony prominence called the radial tuberosity.

    Question 2: How is this tendon involved in throwing?
    This is a great question, and a subject of much debate amongst experts. The short head of the biceps likely has a relatively insignificant role in throwing. The long head (which is the one that attaches inside the shoulder joint) is much more involved in the throwing motion. When throwing at MLB speeds, the shoulder rotates at 7000 degrees per second, which is the fastest known human motion. One can imagine the stress this places on the structures that surround the shoulder.
    Without delving into the weeds too much, it seems as though the biceps has a role in position sense of the shoulder during throwing, likely a role in stability of the shoulder joint and also helps slow down the arm after ball release.
    At the other end of the tendon (distal), the elbow changes rapidly from a bent position to a straight position as the ball is released during a throw. In order to keep the bones of the elbow from jamming into each other at a high speed, the biceps muscle fires to slow down this elbow straightening (what we call an eccentric contraction). This allows some of the force of throwing to be dissipated by the muscle (kind of like a shock absorber).
    If it seems like that is a lot of jobs for a small tendon/muscle- it’s because it is…
    Question 3: What happens when someone gets biceps tendinitis?
    Tendinitis is a fairly broad term and can mean a number of different things depending on the context. With respect to the biceps, a thrower can develop issues at either the upper (proximal) or lower (distal) end of the biceps. The suffix -itis means inflammation, so the general thought is that there is inflammation that develops in or around the tendon.
    The reasons ‘why’ are heavily debated, but generally there is probably some combination of overuse/fatigue and altered mechanics or muscle imbalances that contribute. It takes a tremendous amount of efficiency of motion and coordination of muscle movements to throw a baseball in excess of 90mph, and any small abnormality can easily be compounded by the sheer number of repetitions and intensity of a typical pitcher. Over time, this can add up to cause damage to the tendon and result in inflammation and pain.
    Arthroscopic image of normal biceps tendon (left) and inflamed biceps (right)

    Question 4: How does the player/medical staff separate this injury from other issues that can seem very similar?
    This can be VERY difficult. Often the player will have pain at the front of the shoulder (in cases of proximal biceps tendinitis) or just above the elbow (in distal cases). A thorough history and exam is performed in order to hone in on the likely problem area.
    An MRI is ordered in some cases. One of the challenges with this type of issue is that in many cases, an MRI of a pitcher already has some abnormalities on it which are likely adaptive and have been present for a long time (and are not the actual cause of pain). In addition, in many cases the inflammation around the bicep isn’t something that can be clearly seen on MRI. So interpreting imaging studies can be a significant challenge.
    Usually the exam is (in my experience) the most helpful thing in recognizing biceps tendinitis when it is present. The athlete is usually tender right in the area of the tendon, which is a helpful finding.
    Question 5: Once a pitcher is diagnosed with biceps tendinitis, how are they treated?
    Again, there are a lot of variables here. But presuming it is significant enough to affect the performance of the pitcher, they would typically be shut down for a period of time to prevent worsening of the condition. Anti-inflammatory medication may be used. In some cases, injections of cortisone are used to try and decrease the inflammation.
    With the recent increases in the use of technology, video may be consulted to see if there have been subtle mechanical changes which may have contributed to the issue. Muscle strength can also be tested in various areas around the shoulder to see if weakness is contributing.
    In essentially all cases, a rehab program will begin that is likely to include strength and flexibility components. When the pain has subsided, a return to throwing program is begun and once complete, the athlete can return to play.
    A group out of Mayo Clinic (led by Dr. Chris Camp) recently did a study of pro baseball players (minor and major league) and causes of injury over a several year period. Tendinitis of the proximal biceps was actually the #4 cause of injury with an average return to play time of about 22 days.
    Question 6: Is surgery ever needed?
    It is quite uncommon for surgery to be needed for this issue. In fact, in Dr. Camp’s study above surgery was only required in 3% of cases of proximal biceps tendinitis. So clearly most of these cases improve with non-surgical treatment. In addition, surgery for this particular issue has a fairly poor track record and is avoided if at all possible.
    Question 7: What can be done to prevent biceps tendinitis?
    Great question, reader. If I knew the answer, we could likely both be millionaires given how common this injury is and the dollar figures involved when a high-priced starter or reliever is on the shelf for this reason.
    Generally, I believe monitoring the workload of pitchers through the season, doing what you can to ensure they maintain a good off-season program and having a good line of communication with the players are all important. As video analysis and other analytic measures become more popular, my hope is that they can be incorporated into injury prevention as well.
    Thanks for humoring me on this complex topic. Please feel free to add a request for a future subject in the comments. GO TWINS!!
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