tarheeltwinsfan reacted to Sconnie for a blog entry, Thanks
It’s Thanksgiving week and in that spirit, I’d like to ask our community, “What are you thankful for?”
I’m thankful for all of you, our Twins Daily community. You give me so much food for thought. You give me an outlet to discuss my passions, my fears, my skepticism. Our community makes Twins fandom great, and I haven’t found another one like it.
I’m thankful for our moderation and community leadership team, we get to work together to help make this site as conducive to robust Twins Fandom discussion as possible.
I’m thankful for our founders/owners who keep the lights on, John, Nick, Seth, Parker & Brock
I’m thankful for our writers who continuously churn out tons of great new content for the front page.
Last, but not least, I’m thankful for our blogs and bloggers who write awesome work. One blog post I’d like to point out as a moderator, was written by one of our moderator/community leadership team written 5 years ago. Posting styles discussing our frustrations about the Twins - In My Opinion - Twins Daily. I encourage our community members (myself included) to try a longer form of writing. What are you interested in? What gets your blood pressure up?
If I took the running theme of my posts, the partial thoughts, frustrated rants, one-off comments and collected them up, I could write something longer form… maybe. I dunno…
What I write, might suck, it might unravel as soon as I put it out there. I don’t really know how to write prose. But that’s the power of our community and why I am so thankful for you. We as a community will offer candid feedback, support, encouragement, disagreement, and perspective.
I don’t know if blogging will work for me, or if I have that much to say, but maybe I’ll give it a shot. I encourage you all to do the same.
How about you, what are you thankful for?
tarheeltwinsfan reacted to the_neds for a blog entry, We Got 99 Problems, But A DH Ain't One.
The Twins have some holes coming into the 2022 season, some question marks, and some big decisions to make. Whilst most offseasons of late seem to have been kind of quiet and at times last-minute in terms of moves, this offseason has the potential to be very busy for us. There is a clear need to upgrade the pitching - having penciled in Ober and Ryan as our only lock starters makes me more than a little anxious - and there is a big gaping hole opening up at shortstop. Where we don’t seem to need to put any money, though, is designated hitter.
Let me get this out of the way - I love Nelson Cruz. What Twins fan doesn’t? For nostalgia’s sake, who wouldn’t love to see Nelly come back for another season at Target Field in ‘22? It would feel good, and we’d have pimp-robes back in the dugout and Miguel Sano would be the happiest man alive. He had a long lasting impact on the clubhouse culture and was an outstanding leader and player. But is it necessary?
We managed the rest of the year without a true DH and we also saw Nelly’s numbers dip a little after he made it to Florida. It’s hard to tell whether he just didn’t feel right in Tampa or whether it was the inevitable beginning of Father Time making up ground and starting to catch up to him. Just looking at the dollars involved, we forked out $13M for Nelson Cruz in 2021 and whilst he was invaluable to us when we expected that we were truly contending, hitting is not the priority any more, not since the pitching staff exploded. The Twins have DH options that involve zero dollar investment above what’s already been committed, enough to rotate the DH through a few players without even thinking - even if we lose one or two as trade bait.
Josh Donaldson - Even though he’s the best defensive 3B we have, and even though he was one of our more productive players in this disastrous 2021 season, he has a storied history of injury to his legs. He can still hit the snot out of a baseball, though, and still shows enough hustle that you trust him hitting for your team. Likely eventual third baseman Jose Miranda looks likely to get a big league callup this season after demolishing the minors, and having Donaldson on the roster while we blood the new guy isn’t a bad idea. He definitely stepped up as a leader after the departure of Cruz, and has repeatedly stated that he’s here to win, and he believes we can win. If the Twins go all in and want to contend next season, I believe Donaldson does need to be on the roster, and it goes double if Cruz isn’t on it. I’ll take him at third or designated hitter just to protect those calves, I’m not fussy.
Miguel Sano - He’s not a great defender, and he’s streakier than a good cut of bacon. We’re well aware that he strikes out a lot. A whole lot. But when he hits the ball, he murders it’s entire bloodline and obliterates it from history (see this shot from August where he murdered a baseball with the longest HR of the year). I’m banking that Kirilloff will be back in action next season and if he picks up right where he left off, he may well play himself into the 1B role regardless of how bad Sano wants it. Kirilloff struck out a little more than Josh Donaldson, a little less than Byron Buxton (and a lot less than Sano), and went out for wrist surgery carrying a higher average than Sano, Kepler and late season hero Nick Gordon. Sano would also find himself a possible (not probable due to aforementioned strikeouts) trade target if the NL adopts the DH as well.
Mitch Garver - I have a lot to say about catchers, and I have already posted about that here, but in my mind, Garver is the best catcher we have because of offense alone. He’s average to good as a catcher, not fantastic. Both Jeffers and Rortvedt have projected defensively better, but their bats are stone cold. That being said, Garver can’t (and shouldn’t) catch every game, and he could easily play a couple at DH to have a low stress day. He was having a good season until an unlucky injury landed him on a surgeon’s table, and was having flashes of that good even being great. I think he’s going to get interest from trade candidates but I like him hanging around.
Brent Rooker - A lot of people like to mention Rooker sliding into the DH role, but his 2021 performance doesn’t paint a promising offensive picture. Baseball Savant has him profiled as a similar batter to Niko Goodrum and Chris Taylor - neither of those guys are superstars either, but they have him beat because they have defensive homes. Rooker would be trying to figure into an already crowded outfield situation and might very well find himself starting the season in St Paul. That isn’t to say he couldn’t fight his way back up, but he’s definitely at the back of the pack when we speak of designated hitters.
Luis Arraez - He certainly seems like the odd man out in a field full of hitters who’ve been known to crack one over the fence. But someone who puts the ball in play like Arraez, particularly against righties, shouldn’t be ignored. He has a phenomenal eye at the plate, with a tight 9.1% strikeout rate over his majors career, and he puts the ball in play with great consistency. He may not be the guy who hits you a walk off homer, but he would definitely put the ball in play for a runner to make their way home, and that’s just as valuable. Add into the mix he’s also jostling for playing time in a roster full of plug and play types (Miranda, Larnach, Gordon, Kirilloff) with admittedly better defensive upsides, and he might see some time at DH while other people are trying to slot into homes or spelling short injured stints for other players.
Now, as I mentioned above, there’s a solid chance a couple of these guys get traded this offseason. Donaldson would be prime candidate if someone was willing to take on his $21M paycheck, Sano is figured to earn $8M which isn’t bad, Garver will get plenty of sniffs since he’s projected to earn just $3M in his final year of arbitration, and Arraez is probably a good candidate to bundle with a prospect given how cloudy his future is becoming. Some of our up and comers could very well spend time in DH as well - if Miranda's bat holds up as well in the bigs as it did in the minors, he'd be a certainty to put in a few appearances there. But even if there is an aggressive trade market coming, I’m confident that we have enough bats around to not have to sign a designated hitter for the 2022 season. I’m not saying a Nelson Cruz reunion wouldn’t be beautiful, but it does seem like an extraneous pressure on the payroll that we could probably do without.
tarheeltwinsfan reacted to ashbury for a blog entry, Scorpions Stomp Solar Sox
Thursday afternoon's game in Mesa was marred by an injury to Matt Wallner due to an errant pitch high and inside. I wrote up what I know here. I find it disquieting that we have not quickly heard a simple "X-rays proved negative" by mid-evening. The 11-4 drubbing administered to the home Solar Sox by our Twins' Scottsdale Scorpions pales in comparison to the concern I have for Matt, but here is my game summary from a Twins fan perspective.
In attendance along with me at Sloan Park was Twins Daily stalwart USAFChief. Perhaps there were other luminaries in attendance, but this was enough star power for me!
Wallner was the only Twins representative in the batting order, playing in RF. In terms of fielding, he handled a routine fly out and dealt capably with the base hits in his direction. As for his work at bat... after striking out to end the first inning, he launched a no-doubter HR to left center to lead off the third, off of Oakland pitching prospect Jeff Criswell (presumably no relation to the famed narrator of Plan Nine From Outer Space). Two innings later, he came to bat again and on 2-0 was hit in the leg on the bounce by a 55-foot pitch that I'll assume to be a curve that got away from Criswell, still in the game for the last of his four innings of work. I thought nothing of it at the moment, but then the next inning Wallner faced a different pitcher, Hogan Harris also of the A's, and I really, really, really hope this was nothing more than a coincidence - the two HBP had little in common in terms of the kind of pitch, and the second one occurred on a 1-2 count which is not a typical situation for a purpose pitch - but in the box score they all look the same. Wallner headed straight to the dugout after the 95-MPH beaning, not taking even a step toward the base he was being awarded. After the third out he was escorted across the field, walking under his own power and seemingly steadily, to the left field corner where presumably medical attention was to be had. Here is a photo of him, a pitch or two before the fateful one:
The only Twins farmhand to pitch was Zach Featherstone. As with Laweryson yesterday, the fastballs I saw were low-90s at best, but his mix of pitches was effective and his body of work in the eighth inning was a clean 1-2-3, with two swinging strikeouts after a harmless fly to left. (Chief noted that, what with Funderburk also, the Twins apparently are cornering the market on three-syllable pitcher names. Maybe it's the new market inefficiency.)
The layout of the ballpark allows fans to wander over toward the bullpen and observe pitchers warming up from a vantage point above them, and here is a shot of Zach before he came into the game:
These are the only Twins tidbits to offer from the game, but it happens that Wallner was not the only person on the field who had unwanted contact with a baseball. Scorpions third base coach Ydwin Villegas (Giants) was nailed, in the shoulder I think, by a sharp foul liner. He was cool as a cucumber, having dodged actual injury, and popped right back up to resume signaling the base runners as though nothing at all had happened. Occupational hazard, which is why base coaches earn the big bucks.
The AFL has some experimental rules. One I noticed in both my games so far is that the umpires frequently check pitchers caps and other areas of the uniform for banned substances. Chief remarked on the lack of extreme defensive shifts. And a walk seems to have been awarded to Scorpions first baseman Triston Casas (Red Sox) when the pitcher apparently exceeded the 15-second time limit while there was a 3-ball count - we at first thought a balk had been called, to advance the runners, except that Casas also trotted down to first. This prompted me to look up the rules for the AFL this year, and some these are covered at this website. (I had failed to notice that the bases were slightly larger, and also that in last night's Salt River game the balls and strikes were not being called by the plate ump.)
It was a super pleasant afternoon, with temperatures in the low 80s. But it is sobering to realize that Chief and I have not brought the best of luck to Twins prospects in the AFL when we view games together, as we have witnessed AFL-season ending injuries to Taylor Rogers (struck in the shoulder by a line drive) and Lamont Wade (concussion after collision with a fellow outfielder). I hope that Matt bounces back as well as these two players have been able to.
Mrs Ash and I will be concluding the Phoenix area portion of our vacation with one more game, a home game at Scottsdale, Friday afternoon.
tarheeltwinsfan reacted to Andrew Mahlke for a blog entry, Checking in on the Twins 2021 Draft Class: Part 1
The MLB draft is not nearly as popular as the NFL or NBA drafts. In 2021, 12.6 million people tuned in to watch Roger Goodell announce the first round of draft picks. Over the last 10 years, the NBA draft has had between 2 and 4 million viewers. The MLB however, had barely over 1 million viewers in 2021. However, the MLB draft remains very important.
Since 1965 (when the first MLB draft was held), 9 of the Twins top 13 players in terms of WAR were drafted by the Twins. These players include Joe Mauer, Kirby Puckett, Kent Hrbek, Chuck Knoblauch, Gary Gaetti, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau, Brian Dozier, and Corey Koskie. As you can see, most of our franchise’s best players were drafted by us and that stresses the importance of drafting well.
Without further ado, let’s jump in to checking in on our 2021 draft class
Round 1, Pick 26: Chase Petty, RHP, Mainland Regional HS (NJ)
Chase Petty was one of the most electrifying players drafted in 2021. Petty was the third high school pitcher taken in the draft. High school pitchers are generally riskier selections than college pitchers just because they haven’t proven themselves at a higher level yet.
Petty is worth the risk. He has a fastball that sits in the upper 90s and it has been up to 100 mph. He also has a firm slider that sits in the upper 80s and has a spin rate between 2600 and 2700 RPM. Lookout Landing does a great job breaking down Petty’s stuff and mechanics here.
Petty is a high-octane arm who only throws three pitches, so I foresee him as the Twins closer of the future. Petty is one of the most exciting players in the Twins farm system, ranking as our 7th best prospect.
Petty saw very limited action in the 2021 minor league season, making 2 appearances (one start) for the FCL Twins in the Florida Complex League. Between these 2 appearances, he threw 5 innings, allowing 3 runs on 6 hits and one walk while striking out 6. He only faced 21 batters so obviously this is a small sample size, but Petty had a solid start to his professional baseball career. Look for Petty to make some noise in 2022.
Comp Round A, Pick 36: Noah Miller, SS, Ozaukee HS (WI)
It is often said that shortstops are the best athletes on the field. Most MLB infielders were shortstops on their high school or college teams. It is always a good thing to have too many shortstops because you can move them around the field.
Seth Stohs wrote a great article about Noah Miller that really highlights everything about him. The Twins loved his makeup, athleticism, and rare ability to hit at a high level from both sides of the plate. In Miller's senior year of high school, he hit .608 with 6 home runs and 21 RBI’s. Miller currently ranks as the Twins number 13 prospect.
In Miller’s first taste of pro-ball, he was assigned to the FCL Twins and in 96 plate appearances, he slashed .238/.316/.369 with 3 doubles, a triple, and 2 home runs. He had 9 walks to 26 strikeouts and committed 4 errors out of 86 chances, good for a .952 fielding percentage.
Miller struggled in his first taste of pro ball this season but he was only an 18 year old and he still has a very bright future ahead of him.
Round 2, Pick 61: Steve Hajjar, LHP, Michigan
Steve Hajjar is a 6’5” 215 lb pitcher from the University of Michigan. He throws a fastball in the low 90s and it has been up to 95 mph. His best pitch is his changeup, and MLB Pipeline says that he does a very good job of selling his changeup with fastball arm speed, which can be very deceptive to hitters. Hajjar is ranked as the number 22 prospect in the Twins system.
Hajjar did not pitch professionally in 2021. In 81.2 innings at Michigan, he was 4-2 with a 3.09 ERA. His K/9 was very impressive at 12.2, while having a BB/9 of 3.2. He was named All-Big Ten Conference First Team. He also led the Big Ten in strikeouts.
Hajjar is a 21 year old so he will probably progress a little quicker through the minor leagues than Petty and Miller. Hajjar will be a fun prospect to watch develop and I am excited to hopefully see him at Target Field soon.
Round 3, Pick 98: Cade Povich, LHP, Nebraska
Cade Povich is a 6’3” 185 lb pitcher from the University of Nebraska. He has a fastball that tops out around 91 MPH. Povich does not have a whole lot available on him or his pitch repertoire, but he seems like a crafty lefty who really understands how to pitch.
Povich, initially from Bellevue West High School, went to South Mountain CC in Phoenix for one year and excelled. He went 10-1 with a 1.52 ERA before transferring to Nebraska. Along with Hajjar, Povich was also named All-Big Ten Conference First Team in 2021. He went 6-1 with a 3.11 ERA. He also had 9.8K/9 and 2.4BB/9.
In professional ball, Povich made one start with the FCL Twins and went 2 innings, allowing one hit and striking out 3. He also made 3 appearances for Low-A affiliate Fort Myers and pitched very well, compiling 8 innings and allowing only 1 earned run, 6 hits, 2 walks, and 2 HBP while striking out 16 (!!).
Povich was dominant in his limited 10 innings of work this year and he will definitely be a prospect to follow if he continues his success in the minors.
Round 4, Pick 128: Christian Encarnacion-Strand, 3B, Oklahoma State
Christian Encarnacion-Strand is a 6’0” 224 lb 3B from Oklahoma State University. Encarnacion-Strand has a very talented bat and extremely strong throwing arm. He is a little limited on his feet as the Twins will probably move him to 1B eventually.
Encarnacion-Strand, initially from Pleasant Hill, CA, went to Yavapai CC for his first two years of eligibility. At Yavapai, Encarnacion-Strand absolutely mashed, hitting .410 with 31 doubles and 33 home runs in just 81 career games. At Oklahoma State, he slashed .361/.442/.661 with 15 home runs and 66 RBI’s in his one year there. He was named Big 12 newcomer of the year and was unanimously selected to the All-Big Twelve Conference First Team.
In his first taste of professional baseball, Encarnacion-Strand slashed .391/.424/.598 with 4 home runs in 92 plate appearances for the Twins low-A affiliate Fort Myers. He did have 5 walks compared to 26 strikeouts, which could be an area of concern as he progresses, but he is still young and has shown a lot of potential with his bat so far. He will be a fun prospect to watch crush opposing pitching and hopefully he continues this impressive offensive start.
Round 5, Pick 159: Christian Macleod, LHP, Mississippi State
Christian Macleod is a 6’4” 227 lb LHP from Mississippi State University. Macleod has a fastball that ranges from 87 to 93 MPH but is very effective because he commands it well and tunnels it well with his best pitch, an upper 70s curveball with great depth.
Macleod is originally from Huntsville, Alabama. In his collegiate career at Mississippi State, Macleod went 10-6 with a 4.34 ERA. He had a 12.8K/9 and a 3.4BB/9. His ERA for 2021 was not great at 5.23, but before playoffs he had a 3.14 ERA and a few bad outings ballooned that ERA. In the shortened 2020 season, he was named Co-National Freshman Player of the Year by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, going 4-0 with a 0.86 ERA.
Macleod only appeared in one game with the FCL Twins this season, going 1&⅔ innings, allowing no runs, one hit, and two walks while striking out 5. Macleod has a chance to be a back-end starting pitcher and he will be an interesting prospect to follow. If he adds some velocity, he could make a huge jump.
Round 6, Pick 189: Travis Adams, RHP, Sacramento State
Travis Adams is a 6’0” 195 lb RHP from Sacramento State. Contrary to what pitchers are becoming more of as strikeouts and walks are rising league wide, Adams is a control specialist who won’t blow anyone away with his strikeout numbers but he hardly walks anyone.
Adams is originally from Desert Hot Springs, California. In his collegiate career at Sacramento State, Adams went 10-6 with a 3.75 ERA. He had 7.75 K/9 and an impressive 1.49 BB/9. In 2021, the MLB average for BB/9 was 3.3, so Adams thrives in that area of the game.
Adams made one appearance for the FCL Twins, recording 4 outs while allowing 3 earned runs, 2 hits, 2 walks, and struck out 3. If Adams can improve his stuff he could be a good prospect for the Twins going forward.
Round 7, Pick 219: Jake Rucker, 3B, Tennessee
Jake Rucker is a 6’2” 185 lb 3B from the University of Tennessee. He was a very solid player at Tennessee and can play every position in the infield. He is very aggressive at the plate and solid in the field. Rucker lacks an elite trait so it might make it difficult for him to excel in pro ball, but he could be a solid player.
Rucker is originally from Greenbrier, Tennessee. In his collegiate career at Tennessee, he slashed .311/.388/.463 with 12 home runs and 96 RBI’s. In 2021, he really broke out. He had an OPS of .919 and had 21 doubles, 2 triples, and 9 home runs. He was named a 3rd team All-American this year and also garnered First Team All-SEC honors.
Rucker had 85 plate appearances at low-A Fort Myers this year, and slashed .265/.376/.324 with 2 doubles and 1 triple. These numbers are not other-worldly but they are a great starting point for an experienced versatile player like Rucker. It will be fun to see how he progresses into 2022.
Round 8, Pick 249: Noah Cardenas, C, UCLA
Noah Cardenas is a 6’1” 190 lb catcher from UCLA. Cardenas is an outstanding defensive catcher. If Cardenas is going to make an impact in the league, he will have to improve at the plate. Right now he profiles like Ben Rortvedt, an outstanding defender who doesn't stand out offensively.
Cardenas is originally from Saugus, California. In his collegiate career at UCLA, he slashed .302/.407/.426 with 8 home runs and 30 extra base hits. His freshman year, he had an OPS of .976 in 58 games. In 2021, he had a .775 OPS. He also threw out 38% of base-stealers. Cardenas was named to the 2021 Pac-12 All-Conference Team.
Cardenas had 25 plate appearances with the FCL Twins in 2021. He went 6-20 with a double, a home run, and 3 walks. A very small sample size, but if Cardenas could get back to his 2019 self offensively and continues to dominate defensively, he could be a very nice prospect for the Twins.
Round 9, Pick 279: Patrick Winkel, C, Connecticut
Patrick Winkel is a 6’1'' 200 lb catcher from the University of Connecticut. Mlb dot com says that Winkel is a great athlete behind the plate with above average power but needs to improve his hit tool to use his power more regularly.
Winkel is originally from Orange, CT. In his career, he slashed .300/.359/.507 with 18 home runs and 41 extra base hits in 102 games. He also threw out 25% of potential base-stealers. Winkel was named All-BIG East Second Team in 2021.
Winkel had 84 plate appearances at Low-A Fort Myers in 2021. He slashed .243/.369/.357 with 5 doubles and a home run. Beginning his career in Low-A shows that the Twins have confidence in where Winkel could go with his career. He struggled more than he did in college, but that is expected. Hopefully with some experience under his belt he can thrive in 2022.
Round 10, Pick 309: Ernie Yake, SS, Gonzaga
Ernie Yake is a 5’10” 175 lb SS from Gonzaga. Yake was a phenomenal shortstop at Gonzaga and played four years there. Yake is an older prospect, as he will be 24 years old at the start of the 2022 season.
Yake is originally from Bellingham, WA. In his career at Gonzaga, he slashed .320/.392/.419 with 6 home runs and 54 extra base hits. He also walked 71 times compared to only 53 strikeouts, so he controls the zone very well. In 2021, he was a national semifinalist for the Brooks Wallace award, given yearly to the best shortstop in college baseball.
Yake only had 26 plate appearances with the FCL Twins in 2021, slashing .227/.370/.318 with 2 doubles and 3 stolen bases. Yake will be fun to follow as he could be a Luis Arraez type hitter who puts the ball in play and rarely strikes out, while playing great defense at shortstop.
Part 2 highlighting our picks in rounds 11-20 will be coming soon
Thank you for reading and Go Twins!
tarheeltwinsfan reacted to Andrew Mahlke for a blog entry, What should the Twins offer Byron Buxton?
Back in March, Matthew Trueblood wrote an excellent article on Twins Daily about what a potential Byron Buxton extension would look like. Now, obviously this was before Buxton’s phenomenal (injury plagued, but still phenomenal) 2021 campaign. After the season Buxton had, his value for a future extension skyrocketed.
With Byron Buxton up until about 2019, the main question was always: “Will he be able to hit major league pitching?”. He always played phenomenal defense, ran the bases ridiculously well, and had an incredibly strong arm. He just had to put it together at the plate. Well, since the start of 2019, Buxton is 20th in the MLB in OPS and 4th in the MLB in slugging percentage. Buxton has really put it together at the plate in the last 3 seasons and it has been a joy to watch.
Before we get into his contract specifics, let’s highlight how special Byron Buxton is.
Byron Buxton helps the Twins win games, plain and simple. Since the beginning of 2019, the Twins are 104-68 when Buxton plays, and 106-106 when he does not. This means that they play at roughly a 98 win pace when he is on the field and an 81 win pace when he is not. This is the difference between not making the playoffs at all and getting home-field advantage in the playoffs. Let’s take a dive into what makes Buxton such a difference-maker for the Twins.
I mentioned earlier how Buxton has really found his stride with his swing. Back in May of 2019, towards the beginning of Buxton’s outbreak, Parker Hageman wrote a phenomenal article about Byron Buxton’s swing. He took a deep dive into the swing adjustments Buxton had made that year that led to his success. Ever since then, his career has taken off.
Buxton has been riddled with injuries his entire career, that is no secret. But since 2019, out of all players with a maximum of 700 plate appearances, Buxton leads with 102 extra base hits. The next closest player is Buxton’s teammate, Mitch Garver with 79 extra base hits. With limited appearances, Buxton is thriving.
Using Baseball Savant’s handy Affinity feature, you can see which players have the most similar batted ball profiles to each other. In 2021, the most similar batters to Buxton were Yordan Alvarez, Fernando Tatis Jr., Rafael Devers, Salvador Perez, Josh Donaldson, and Aaron Judge. Buxton is up there with the cream of the crop. If you follow baseball at all, you know all of these guys are absolute stars and Buxton’s name belongs in that conversation as well.
2021 was his best year yet. He had a 169 wRC+, had 42 extra base hits (19 home runs), and a 1.005 OPS. Buxton proved in 2021 that he couldn’t just hit, but absolutely MASH major league pitching.
Buxton has always been elite defensively, winning a platinum glove as the AL’s best defensive player in 2017. Since 2016, Buxton has 58 outs above average (OAA), the 5th most among all center fielders. All of the players ahead of him (Lorenzo Cain, Kevin Kiermaier, Billy Hamilton, and Ender Inciarte) played at least 140 more games than Buxton in that span. If Buxton had played 140 more games, he would have the most OAA by 10 outs. It is safe to say that when Buxton is healthy he is the best defensive CF in baseball. He also has an absolute cannon in the outfield. His arm strength has been measured at 99 MPH before, so he definitely has an above average arm.
Buxton has always been one of the fastest players in the MLB. In 2021, Buxton was in the 99th percentile in sprint speed. His average sprint speed was 30 ft/sec and he had the fastest average home to first time at 4.00 sec. Buxton is a game-changer on the bases and has made a huge impact on many games on the basepaths, most notably walking off the Detroit Tigers on a seemingly routine ground ball to the shortstop.
Since 2019, Buxton has been worth 8.1 fWAR in 187 games, or a pace of 7 fWAR per 162 games. To put that number into perspective, there were zero position players with a WAR of 7 or over in 2021. In the last full season, 2019, the only players with a WAR 7 or above were Mike Trout, Alex Bregman, Christian Yelich, Cody Bellinger, Marcus Semien, and Anthony Rendon.
Buxton’s WAR in 2021 was 4.2 over 61 games. Extrapolated to 162 games, that would be the equivalent of 11.2. That is absolutely ridiculous. That would be tied for the 17th best single season of all time in terms of WAR.
Just looking at his raw per 162 numbers, you would think that the Twins should sign Buxton to a 10 year, $500 million extension. Unfortunately, Buxton has been injury prone throughout his career. As of July 2021, Buxton had only played 181 of 484 possible games since 2018. It is hard to justify giving him a big extension if he isn’t going to be healthy for a majority of it.
In short, I would offer Buxton an extension over seven years. It will start in 2023 and go through 2029, his age 29 through 35 season. As Buxton ages, his defense and speed will most likely deteriorate and he will not be as valuable. You also have to factor in his injury history so you won’t be paying full price.
Consider the following:
Since 2019, Buxton has played 187 of a possible 384 games, or 48% of possible games. Since 2019, Buxton has accumulated 8.1 WAR in 187 games, or 7 WAR/162 games According to Fangraphs, you should pay $8M/WAR. So,
If Buxton were to play 162 games, he would be worth 7 WAR x $8M/WAR = $56M/year This is obviously egregious, especially considering the Twins usually have a payroll from 125-140M.
According to spotrac, with the exception of the Dodgers, the top payrolls are right around $200M. We are going to assume those teams are able to use the $8M/WAR calculation
Since the Twins will use maximum 140M of payroll, 70% of what the top payrolls use, we will also use 0.7 as our multiplier for the WAR value calculation.
$8M/WAR x 0.7 = $5.6M/WAR
Using our new 5.6M/WAR, he would be worth roughly $39M a year if he played 162. I think this is fair for a player of his caliber. He has been an MVP level player the last 3 seasons, and shows no signs of stopping.
Since Buxton has only played about 48% of possible games, I would pay him 48% of that $39M per year.
39M x 0.48 = about $19M a year. This is the base salary I would give Buxton. His base contract should be 7 years, $133 million
However, we should account for the fact that there is a chance he remains healthy. This is where it gets tricky. This is where I bring in incentives to the contract.
Buxton’s 7 WAR per 162 is worth 0.043 WAR per game. The current contract is assuming he plays 80 games If Buxton plays 120 games, he will get the original 19 million plus an additional amount of money We will determine this amount of money by multiplying his WAR per game by the additional 40 games he will be playing
40 games x 0.043 WAR per game = 1.7 WAR x $5.6M per WAR = $9.5M If Buxton plays 120 games, he should earn an additional 10 million.
For 130 games, he will be worth an additional 2.4 million using that formula For 140 games, he will be worth another 2.4 million And for 150, he will be worth 2.4 million more. Contract Summary
Base contract: 7 years, $133 million ($19M AAV)
120 games incentive: $9.5M/yr ($28.5M AAV)
130 games incentive: $2.4M/yr ($30.9M AAV)
140 games incentive: $2.4M/yr ($33.3M AAV)
150 games incentive: $2.4M/yr ($35.7M AAV)
If Buxton plays 150 games, he could be making up to $35.7 million per year. This is the contract I would propose to Buxton because he would be getting a good amount of guaranteed money and it also helps him understand that playing a certain amount of games could get him an absurd amount of money.
How does this contract compare?
A salary of 19M per year (if he meets no incentives) would make him the 27th highest paid position player in baseball. Since 2019, he is 33rd in WAR among all position players, so this base contract would be just about right. If he meets all of the incentives, he would be the highest paid position player in baseball, which is fair considering the amount of talent he has and his production over a full healthy season would be at an MVP level. I think at his peak, he will play about 120-130 games, making his salary between 28 and 31 million. This would put him in the range of the 5th to 8th highest position player in the league.
TL: DR version
Pay Buxton a base salary of $19 million a year for 7 years, with games played incentives from 120 games to 150 games of various amounts that could net him up to $35.7 million per year.
Byron Buxton is a generational type of talent and I haven’t seen anyone like him in a Twins uniform my whole life. It would be a mistake to let him go just because of financial concerns. He is a player that you would rather overpay than not pay at all, so priority number ONE this offseason needs to be extending him. If there’s one player to offer this type of contract to, it’s Buck.
Thank you for reading, and Go Twins.
tarheeltwinsfan reacted to bean5302 for a blog entry, Grading Falvey's Drafts
Grading Derek Falvey's Drafts
With the minor leagues essentially done for the year, it’s a fair time to review the Derek Falvey’s performance through the drafts. Falvey has been in charge of the Twins’ front office for 5 drafts now, though there’s not close to enough data to judge the 2021 draft group’s actual playing performance.
I believe Derek Falvey’s job has 6 major components, in no particular order. 1. MLB on field performance. 2. Free agency signings. 3. Trades. 4. Player conduct. 5. Drafting. 6. Player development.
Drafting should be considered separate from player development as they’re not the same thing. Drafting involves identifying pre-professional talent while players are outside the organization and player development is all about finding the ways to improve players while in the system. For example, getting a 10th rounder to produce at the MLB level has almost nothing to do with the draft; that’s all player development.
I’m concentrated on the first 3 rounds of the draft, which include Competitive Balance A and Competitive Balance B picks and works out to just about 100 players even in most years. Obviously, a 1st round / CBA is much more important than a 2nd round / CBB pick and then a 3rd rounder drops off more. I’ve chosen to grade the overall draft results on that scale. First Round/CBA = a multiplier of 2.00. Second Round/CBB = a multiplier of 1.50. 3rd Round = a multiplier of 1.00. My grades are subjective, based on performance of the pick, whether or not the front office reached to get the pick, how quickly the pick has advanced and my opinion of the projected performance of the pick at this point. I didn’t ding the Twins for any of the lost CBA/CBB picks due to free agency signings or trades except Hughes. The Twins essentially traded their late 2nd rounder, a CBB pick in 2019 for a little cash; that’s an absolute dereliction of duty and it’s worth a grade.
Huge Reach = 2+ rounds ahead of MLB.com projection Reach = 1 round ahead of MLB.com projection Aggressive = ½ round ahead of MLB.com projection (i.e. CBA instead of 2nd round) On Par = In the round where projected, within a reasonable distance of expected. (i.e. picked 20th overall when projected at 25th) Deal = 1 round behind MLB.com projection Steal = 2+ rounds behind MLB.com projection
2017 Player Grade MLB Draft # Actual Draft # Selection Range Analysis Draft Age Level Last Perf. Progress Projection 1st Royce Lewis C 5 1 1-30 (Rnd1) On Par High School 22 AA D C B CBA Brent Rooker C 50 35 31-36 (CBA) Aggressive College 26 MLB B D C 2nd Landon Leach F 101 37 37-67 (Rnd2) Reach High School 21 A- F F F 3rd Blayne Enlow C 29 76 76-105 (Rnd3) Steal High School 22 A+ C D C 2018 Player Grade MLB Draft Proj # Actual Draft # Selection Range Analysis Draft Age Level Last Perform Progress Projection 1st Trevor Larnach C 26 20 1-30 (Rnd1) On Par College 24 MLB C B D 2nd Ryan Jeffers B >200 59 44-78 (Rnd2) Huge Reach College 24 MLB D A C 3rd Forfeit for Lynn 1yr N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 2019 Player Grade MLB Draft Proj # Actual Draft # Selection Range Analysis Draft Age Age Level Last Perform Progress Projection 1st Keoni Cavaco F 28 13 1-30 (Rnd1) Aggressive High School 20 A- F C F CBA Matt Wallner D 60 39 31-41 (CBA) Aggressive College 23 A+ C C F 2nd Matt Canterino B 46 54 42-69 (Rnd2) On Par College 23 A+ A C A CBB Forefeit (to trade Hughes) F Total Failure N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 3rd Spencer Steer C >200 90 79-107 (Rnd3) Huge Reach College 23 AA C A C 2020 Player Grade MLB Draft Proj # Actual Draft # Selection Range Analysis Draft Age Age Level Last Perform Progress Projection 1st Aaron Sabato C 41 27 1-29 (Rnd1) Reach College 22 A+ B B D 2nd Alerick Soularie D 105 59 38-60 (Rnd2) Huge Reach College 22 A- D C C CBB Forefit in Maeda Trade N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 3rd Forefit for Donaldson N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 2021 Player Grade MLB Draft Proj # Actual Draft # Selection Range Analysis Draft Age Age Level Last Perform Progress Projection 1st Chase Petty A 27 26 1-29 (Rnd1) On Par High School 18 Rk Pass C N/A CBA Noah Miller C 62 36 31-36 (CBA) Aggressive High School 18 Rk Pass C N/A 2nd Steve Hajjar C 100 61 37-63 (Rnd2) Reach College 20 N/A Inc. D N/A 3rd Cade Povich D >250 98 72-101 (Rnd3) Huge Reach College 21 A- Pass B N/A
When reviewing the drafts, it seems apparent Derek Falvey believes his front office is a significantly better judge of player talent than MLB.com as he frequently drafts players well ahead of MLB.com’s projections. This doesn’t mean Falvey is wrong. MLB.com is just one source and it would be expected the Twins scouts could be superior to MLB.com’s. Draft picks routinely shift around during the season depending on their performance leading right up to the draft. Regardless, MLB.com’s projections are usually pretty close to other sources which makes for a good baseline as to the scouting world in general. If Falvey’s front office and scouting department is better, it should show up in the advancement and development of players.
So how do things look? Well, in a nutshell, I’d give the front office a C- overall with a GPA of 1.76, but it’s a very incomplete picture. I believe 2022 will be critical to evaluating Falvey’s drafts. Lewis, Rooker, Larnach and Cavaco are on their last year of grace period to “prove it.” While Rooker and Larnach get major points for making it to the big show, neither has performed well enough to stick around.
From a pitching standpoint, Falvey has only drafted 1 first round pitcher in 5 years and 8 chances. For the most part, Falvey has chosen guys with good breaking pitch offerings who were down the rankings a bit and focused on hitters with the highest picks. The only 1st rounder choice was 100mph high school flame thrower Chase Petty earlier this year. Petty received mixed rankings, but MLB was about as bullish on him as anybody else and Petty made his 1 start at the FCL Twins this year. Landon Leach, Matt Canterino and Steve Hajjar make up the 2nd round pitching selections. 2 of the 3 are big reaches and Leach is already a total bust. Canterino’s performance is a saving grace here as his injury history has slowed his advancement while Hajjar didn’t make a competitive appearance this year. 3rd rounders include Blayne Enlow and Cade Povich. Enlow was projected high, but velocity drops and concerns over signing him let the Twins save up some slot money and get the chance to make a run at him. Enlow’s situation sort of mirror’s Canterino’s. Injuries have derailed his advancement. Povich is just a head scratcher. He was way, way down almost all prospect lists if he even appeared at all. Prospectslive.com had him at 537, but the Twins apparently liked enough of what they saw to send him to the Low-A Ft. Myers Miracle.
Falvey has shown a strong affinity for aggressively pursuing bat only players with lots of power and not a lot of anything else. Rooker, Wallner and Sabato are all one tool wonders and all were a bit of a reach. Larnach is now in the same boat after his advanced eye at the plate turned out to be outmatched against more talented pitching. If they don’t rake, they’re busts and finding spots for all of those guys would be impossible on the roster, but it would also mean the drafts were hugely successful. Unfortunately, that has not been the case. Rooker and Larnach are not getting the job done with Wallner advancing too slowly for his draft position and experience and Sabato narrowly avoiding a “bust” moniker this year with a hot last couple months. Soularie, another bat heavy big reach, has a little more defensive potential so the Twins are trying to see if he can stick at 2B. The Twins have also gone for the athleticism over everything approach a couple times with Royce Lewis and Keoni Cavaco. Lewis is the one Falvey really can’t afford to miss on. Lewis was a first overall pick who hasn’t played competitively in 2 years and wasn’t nearly good enough when he did play, but he’s such a gifted athlete with such a great character that it’s believed he can still turn the corner. Cavaco… well, the best thing which can honestly be said about him right now is it’s still a little too early to call him a bust. That said, if Cavaco doesn’t pick it up big time, he will wear the title by mid 2022. The Twins reached a bit with him, and if you’re reaching for your first rounder, it’s important to pay off and the Twins doubled down by reaching for Wallner for the same draft. Spencer Steer completed the 3/3 reaches for hitters in 2019 and was an out of the park, 6 run, grand slam style reach for good measure, but at least he’s still showing a glimmer of promise with some fast promotions. I’m not sure who was driving the car in 2019 is what I’m sayin’ here. Thank goodness Canterino pitched well in between his injury woes or the 2019 draft would honestly be looking potentially catastrophic here.
Truthfully, draft results are finicky things to analyze, especially in the first 3-4 years and the loss of 2020's MiLB season really tightens the sample size here. Many quality MLB players have their hiccups in the minors or develop a little slower so the draft grades could really swing wildly next year. It would take quite a few things working out, but I could see the Falvey front office draft grade swinging all the way up into the C+ range next year… or tanking straight into F territory for that matter. I think it’s also important to consider this isn’t graded on a curve and a 2.00 GPA and a C grade for “average” isn’t a call to fire the front office; it means the front office is competent enough and doing their job well enough in a crazy competitive marketplace where many pieces have to fall into place to grade higher.
tarheeltwinsfan reacted to stringer bell for a blog entry, Ch-ch-changes?
The Twins play their 30th game this afternoon and are currently 11-18. They've been beset by bad luck, bad play and have taken a beating with two rule changes (extra-inning runner on second, 7-inning games for doubleheaders). How do they get out of this funk? I'm sure many in the organization will preach patience and they may be right, but that isn't any fun. Here are some possibilities for change that might help the team:
Role change. We've already seen one role change. At least temporarily Alexander Columé is not going to see high-leverage innings. Columé has been a huge disappointment and even when he has worked scoreless innings, he's been shaky. The problem is that taking Columé out of high leverage situations leaves the Twins with few good options, particularly when going 6 or more innings for a starter is a rarity. I think one pitching role change that should be made is to use Taylor Rogers in non-save high leverage situations as happened early in 2019 and sometimes use him for multiple innings. Rogers shouldn't be used in back-to-back days. Moving Alcala to high leverage situations seems to be gradually happening. If things continue to go bad, it makes sense to have him give a shot as a closer. Position players--it seems to me that both Polanco and Kepler should have their roles diminished from full-time regular to something different. Kepler can play a corner and center and Polanco has played short and second, maybe Max should be slotted as the fourth OF or at least platooned with Garlick. I think giving Polanco the role of three-position infielder wouldn't be a stretch. He could get some at-bats as a platoon partner for my choice of regular second baseman (Arraez) and left-handed at-bats in place of Simmons and when Donaldson takes a day off (or is injured).
Promotions/demotions. Assuming that Alex Kirilloff is in the big leagues to stay, when healthy the Twins have one extra position player and someone will have to be sent to the minor leagues or released. Discussion has centered on Jake Cave. Several others could be sent down and that doesn't begin to discuss the pitching staff. Many pitchers'performances could merit their demotion.
Trades. It is unlikely that anyone will make a significant trade this early in the year. However, the Twins would be a good candidate for a major trade nearer the trade deadline. They have some redundancy (left handed hitting corner outfielders) and holes that need patching (bullpen, perhaps catching) and many candidates to trade. They also have a lot of players who would be free agents after this season. I do wonder if someone who was considered a cornerstone (Polanco, Kepler, Sanó) could be traded. None of these guys have performed remotely well so far but an uptick could make them more marketable. I have to believe that the Twins will bring in new pitchers either in the bullpen or the rotation. What they have at this time in the bullpen just hasn't worked.
Personally, I think the Twins will need to do a little bit of everything to turn the corner. I am a proponent of changing roles. I think Kepler and Polanco could be candidates to have limited roles. The Twins need to add at least one strong arm in the bullpen, most likely by trade and Trevor Larnach is reputed to be nearly as much a sure thing as a hitter as Alex Kirilloff, plus he is a better outfielder. There is too much talent for the club to continue to play sub.400 baseball, but I think they need to make changes immediately.
tarheeltwinsfan reacted to Ted Schwerzler for a blog entry, Twins Tinkering With Lineups
The Minnesota Twins have now played nine games in the 2021 Major League Baseball season thus far and are scheduled for their tenth today. They haven’t had a fully healthy roster for a full game yet, but batting order positions are starting to take shape. Where and when should we consider questioning them?
For most of his tenure as the skipper for Minnesota, Rocco Baldelli has opted to bat lefty Max Kepler in the leadoff hole. He’s a non-traditional fit there as speed isn’t his game, and he is more of a power player than high batting average guy. Through nine games this year Kepler hasn’t batted higher than cleanup and he’s been slotted in as low as ninth.
Looking at all options, the ideal fit for Rocco would seem to be Luis Arraez. The former second basemen turned utility man has played all over the place in 2021 and will continue to get reps in the outfield at least until Alex Kirilloff is promoted. In seven of his 10 starts he’ll have led off, but curiously he’s also batted 9th on the other three occasions. This is where the weirdness comes in.
From purely a speculative standpoint it seems that Baldelli is looking to shield Luis from left-handed pitchers. Despite an .890 OPS in his career against righties, that drops to .645 against lefties. The caveat here however is that Arraez loses power and average against southpaws, but he still owns a career .371 OBP against them and is synonymous with solid at bats.
Before making any determinations, it’s worth bringing up the emergence of Byron Buxton. I have long believed he was primed for a breakout 2021, and so far, that’s looking to be selling things short. Playing otherworldly, and especially at the dish, he’s now drawing starts in the leadoff spot. Traditionally that would make a lot of sense given his speed and gap potential, but things are a bit different for him in recent years. Buxton has found his power stroke.
For Byron there’s a few tendencies that run opposite of what Arraez is capable of. While Byron absolutely has thirty homer power potential, he’s still not going to be the on-base asset without hitting for a relatively high average. 2020 was an outlier for sure, but the walk rate is never going to be something Minnesota’s centerfielder hangs his hat on. More alike the former leadoff guy in Kepler, Buxton is plenty capable of putting a charge into a ball and generating extra-base hits.
This all may become moot in a few days when Josh Donaldson returns to the Twins lineup, but I think there’s some concrete decisions that can and should be made here. Luis Arraez bats leadoff when he’s in the lineup. It shouldn’t matter where he plays, who is pitching, or what day of the week it is. Don’t overthink it, let your table setter set the table. From there, Buxton has earned his way into the two-hole. That’s a spot occupied lately by the likes of Kyle Garlick. Minnesota is a bit stretched offensively in left field right now, and Garlick is fine, but he’s a bottom third hitter. Buxton should be batting in a run-producing position while still allowing him the ability to be on base for the bigger boppers. Donaldson is going to hit here when he returns, but then moving Buxton to third makes a good deal of sense.
Lineup construction is certainly nuanced, and it really only matters in the first inning and on a relatively minute scale. That said, Arraez should be generating as many at bats as he can for Minnesota, and Buxton should always be in a spot to come up and drive runners in.
For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
tarheeltwinsfan reacted to Doctor Gast for a blog entry, Josh Donaldson's calves?
I've thought about writing this blog for some time now. I trust that Donaldson is surrounded by professionals so I've restrained myself from writing on this subject.
I'd like to start with personal testimony. A short time ago, I had a surgery and was bed ridden for some time. As soon as I went back to my walking. As usual I stretched out and started my walk. I started out with just a short walk but my calves and hamstrings cramped up like everything. I knew muscle cramps is a deficiency of magnesium. So I started to take magnesium supplements and the cramps went away immediately. Recently I reduced and eliminated taking supplements and my legs started to tighten up when I stretched out.
I'm sure Donaldson goes through a regiment of stretching, massages, soaking, use heavy duty calf supports and even most likely was tested for magnesium deficiency. But magnesium blood tests can be deceiving. Magnesium is necessary for proper cell development like muscle, nerve, bone etc. most Americans are deficient of it.
I don't recommend Donaldson to nurse his big calves with "milk of magnesium" (sorry I couldn't resist). But I do suggest maybe a magnesium cream, a magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt) soak. Donaldson really works those calves so he might need to take magnesium supplements. Magnesium is normally safe but you can over do it so I recommend to consult his health care giver.
I'd really like to see him overcome this problem and be a super star with the Twins.
tarheeltwinsfan reacted to mikelink45 for a blog entry, Prospects number 125-150
https://www.baseballamerica.com/stories/how-many-mlb-draftees-make-it-to-the-majors/ It would be nice to think that everyone signed to a baseball contract would see a day in the majors, but here is what this site has to say, "Over three days in early June, more than 1,200 players will have their long-time dreams come true. They will hear their names called as selections in the 2019 draft.
Of those more than 1,200 draftees, more than 900 players will agree to terms and sign contracts to become professional baseball players. With one dream fulfilled, they will set their sights on a bigger dream—becoming a major league player.
And for more than 700 of those 900 pro players, that dream will go unfulfilled.
In studying every draft since Baseball America began covering the draft in 1981, we wanted to answer a very simple question: how many players drafted in June’s MLB draft will eventually make it?
The answer is less than one in five. It’s too early to judge the 2011 to 2018 drafts, but from 1981-2010, 17.6 percent of players who were drafted and signed ended up making it to the majors.
Those odds vary dramatically depending on where a player is drafted. First-round picks can expect to reach the major leagues. First-round picks who don’t make it are the exception. From 1981 to 2010, 73 percent of first-round picks reached the majors. In 2004, only two of the 29 first-round picks who signed failed to make the majors—a 93 percent success rate that will be hard to beat.
But that success rate drops off quickly. By the second round, the rate of players who reach the majors dips to 51 percent. In the third round, 40 percent are eventually going to be major leaguers. From there it continues to steadily dip."
There are four minor league affiliates plus two short season teams for each MLB team now. In 2007 the average lifetime of a MLB career was 5.6 years. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070709131254.htm
"Early in the talks between MLB and MiLB, MLB discussed a roughly 150-player limit for teams’ domestic minor league rosters. Players playing in the Dominican Republic would not be subject to this limit. MLB teams are already limited to two clubs in the Dominican Summer League.
A 150-domestic player limit would ensure each MLB team would be limited to one U.S. complex-based team in the Gulf Coast or Arizona leagues. When you include players on the injured list, restricted list and other non-active players, a 150-player limit would mean MLB teams have no choice other than to field only five domestic minor league teams—four full-season clubs plus one complex team. One size fits all." https://www.baseballamerica.com/stories/mlb-expected-to-expand-milb-player-limit-for-full-season-clubs/#:~:text=When%20you%20include%20players%20on,clubs%20plus%20one%20complex%20team.
Of course MLB has continuously underpaid the players in the minors and (I think) overpaid those in the majors.
So who are those prospects at the bottom of the 150 player limit? And why do they hang on? Love of the game? No marketable skills? MLB needs them to fill the roster and they should pay them.
Who are the ten players in Elizabethtown who played the fewest games and what do we expect from them? In AAA there were 7 position players over 30 years old, and seven pitchers in the same age range. What do we expect them to do? I do not mind that we have these older players still chasing their dream, in fact I like it, but MLB is cutting them out, cutting teams, cutting dreams.
I enjoy the lists that TD writers put up, but I wonder about the bottom 20. Those who have no chance, but love the game and love the opportunity. They need to be recognized too. When MLB cut the minor league teams these underpaid, under appreciated ball players were the ones who suffered. One year of Trevor Bauer's salary would keep them employed for the rest of the century.
tarheeltwinsfan reacted to SweetLou! for a blog entry, Twins Tunes #1: "Randy Bush"
Hello and welcome to the first installment of Twins Tunes. My name’s Louie, the P.T. Barnum of this particular big top.
What is Twins Tunes? Basically, I’m going to write and record a song about a different Twin or piece of Twins’ history and post it on here every couple weeks.
The inaugural edition features Randy Bush, Twins pinch-hitter extraordinaire from 1982-1993. (Bush is also well-known for being the obvious replacement for Dan Gladden in the lead-off spot in RBI Baseball.)
If you like what you hear, feel free to share it on social media and whatnot. I don’t have any of those anymore, so if this thing’s gonna go viral, it’s up to you, Twins Daily masses.
Special thanks to my cousin Bubba, who mixed, engineered, produced, and mastered the track. You can check out his music at BubbaHolly.com or by searching for “Bubba Holly” on Spotify/BandCamp/wherever you get your music. His new album is terrific. Also, Bubba and I make music under the name Bunkin’ Cousins, if you’d like to hear concept albums about the late medieval period or epic cabin weekends.
I’d love to get suggestions for future songs; I have a few in the hopper but would love for this project to be collaborative.
(Also, if anyone knows how to embed a SoundCloud track, let me know! I'm struggling with it, so a link will have to suffice in the meantime.)
Without further adieu, enjoy “Randy Bush.”
Twins Tunes · Randy Bush
tarheeltwinsfan reacted to mikelink45 for a blog entry, Baseball economics
I once had a degree in economics - admittedly it was in the 1960s so it is out dated. What I am trying to figure out is how do these intelligent, super rich owners in major league baseball get bamboozled.
Okay, the LA Dodgers got Bauer. Wow is that special. Were they not going to win the NL West before they got him? What will he add? What if he gets hurt? How many people/teams were they bidding against?
Last year the Angels signed Mike Trout to a $30 million dollars a year contract because he is the best in baseball and he had given them how many championships? I guess it was because their long term investment in Albert Pujols paid off so well.
Now we have a $40 million dollar a year pitcher - and of course pitchers are not prone to injuries. Trevor Bauer really blossomed in a short strange Covid year. He is now 75 - 64 in 9 MLB seasons according to BR. Not even 10 victories per year. I know wins don't count (BS). If he starts 40 games (unlikely)he will be paid one million per game - does he have a refund for bad games?
So what are they getting? Yes he has talent and will be really good for them, but how good? How much better than if they had signed Jake Odorizzi?
Next year we will need a $50 million per year player and on and on. Why? What is the madness?
I do not want billionaires to pocket all the profit, but my god is this ridiculous. The dollars are so insane I am losing my ability to watch the ball as it comes across the plate.
Sorry for the rant, but I cannot help it. I remember when players got jobs in the off season.
But I am sorry to be so old fashioned, poor MLB owners are hurting and want to have some relief from their Covid losses!
tarheeltwinsfan reacted to Allen Post for a blog entry, Simmons Signing Bucks Twins' Recent Free Agency Trend
Thad Levine and Derek Falvey finally popped the champagne to start the Twins free agency party by signing shortstop Andrelton Simmons to a one-year $10.5 million deal Wednesday evening. It was the type of deal myself and many others were waiting for. Simmons is a defensive genius and a solid hitter to boot, so, as long as he stays healthy, he’ll be a huge upgrade as the Twins’ everyday shortstop.
Two weeks ago, I wrote an article that ranked a few of the Twins’ offseason targets on the “Fun Meter” and I didn’t talk about Simmons, but, if I had, he would’ve fared rather well. “Simba” is a defensive highlight machine. He’s got quick feet and a long, lanky frame that give him nearly boundless range. And, his immensely skilled hands and cannon for an arm mean that no bad hop is really all that bad and no throw is too hard to make. Even beyond the physical stuff, though, Simmons’ instincts and hustle allow him to confuse and confound baserunners and make plays that no other shortstop even considers. Just watch.
As you can probably tell, I’m fairly excited about what Andrelton Simmons in a Twins jersey will look like, but this move wasn’t just made to increase the Twins’ representation on SportsCenter’s Top 10; it makes baseball and money sense, too. Simmons’ one-year $10.5 million deal is perfect for this mid-pandemic free agency period. In a time when money is a bit of a concern across professional sports, the Twins got a top-quality shortstop without making any long-term commitment. If Simmons is the player we all hope and expect him to be, the front office can work on bringing him back for 2022, but if he’s not, they can move on and he’s off the books after only a year. There’s no long-term money risk. The Twins have had success with this low-risk approach before, with Nelson Cruz being a guy that worked out and Logan Morrison being a guy they were glad to move on from.
The Simmons move is interesting for another reason, though – Simmons is a very different player than the free agents this front office regime has signed so far. In their time leading the club, Levine and Falvey’s big non-pitcher signings have been Morrison, Cruz, and, of course, Josh Donaldson. Those guys – all big, burly sluggers – show the commitment this front office duo has to playing modern-day baseball, where launch angle, exit velocity, and ultimately homerun hitting is put at a premium. That effort has paid off, as the Twins are now a power-hitting team, and a record-breaking one at that. But Simmons is a different type of player with a completely different skill set. Those guys bring brawn and brute force. Simmons brings dynamism and nuance. Those guys create runs (well Morrison didn’t), Simmons saves them. Players like Simmons still have a place in modern baseball – and there are stats to prove it – but this signing marks a break in the trend from the Twins’ front-office shot callers.
The Twins shifted their focus from power hitting to defense by signing Simmons
And that, in itself, is kind of fun. Not too long ago, the Twins were anything but a power team and, with very few long balls to get excited about, Twins fans learned to appreciate the little things. Defense, hustle, and contact hitting were the Twins’ bread and butter and guys like Jason Bartlett, Alexi Casilla, and even Darin Mastroianni were some of the most likable players on their teams (What’s that? I was the only guy who liked Mastroianni? Oh, okay.). By no means do I want to go back to those days, but to have Simmons, a guy who does all the “little piranha” things, but at a superstar level, is going to be great to watch.
Homerun hitters are good fun, but baseball needs action in the field and on the basepaths. Those Twins teams of yesteryear, even when they weren’t good, always had that. Now, Simmons, who can make a special play out of nothing, is bringing it back to Minnesota.
tarheeltwinsfan reacted to mikelink45 for a blog entry, The Shortstop factory
The Twins have Jorge Polanco at SS. In 2019 he was an all star. Now all of Twins fandom wants him at utility and hope for the team to sign another SS. I am not sure why. Our number one prospect remains Royce Lewis who is still listed as a SS who should be ready by the end of the year at least. So why do we want to demote Polanco and block Lewis? This is reasoning that does not work for me.
Then we have Wander Javier who came to us in the same international draft that produced Vladimir Guerrero, jr. and Yordan Alvarez. To say that he is behind them on the development level is an understatement. I am still not sure why he is rated so high as a prospect. He has had a hamstring injury during his 2016 debut, a torn labrum costing him all of 2018 and a strained quad keeping him from making his full-season debut in 2019. Then he came in and looked lost for 300 at bats. And MLB.com still has him listed at number nine.
Above him on the mlb.com site is Keoni Cavaco who is given great grades for athleticism, which is fine in the Olympics, but batting and fielding count in baseball. I am not sold on him. He was a fast riser in HS according to his notes. Another prospect who does not make my list.
At 17 is Nick Gordon. He seems to be on a slippery slope to a forgotten prospect, but I hope he will find a way to get to the majors someday. He just isn’t going to make the team as a starter.
Will Holland is next on the prospect list at 19. Notes about him say that he was doing great at Auburn until his Junior year where he bombed and slipped to fifth round. Then he came to rookie ball and still bombed. Not looking good.
Today the Twins made an big international signing – Danny De Andrade who is 16. He could be projected to arrive when Lewis runs out of arbitration and signs elsewhere. He is big, potential middle of the order project (typically that means not staying at SS). At 16 he is a project. I know what my grandsons are like at that age – I would not sign them for $2.2 million and I love them. If he makes it he will probably replace Donaldson and not Lewis.
Finally the second signing is Fredy LaFlor who is already projected in the mlb.com writeup to shift to second or CF. He said to be a high energy top of the lineup prospect.
So there is the Twins SS list. I would like to see us develop one of them into the next great SS rather than sign one who is already down the road of his career and will be overpaid. How do you see these names playing out?
The Athletic summary of international signings did not include the Twins - disappointing. https://theathletic.com/2326602/2021/01/16/mlb-international-signing-period-day-1/?source=weeklyemail For those of us who do not know who they are it is important to have outside opinions.
tarheeltwinsfan reacted to mikelink45 for a blog entry, The season's seventh inning stretch
It is the seventh inning stretch of the 60 game season and I thought we might have to alter the baseball anthem just a little bit to make it work;
Katie Casey was baseball mad
Had the fever and had it bad
Just to root for the hometown crew
In the baby blue
On a Saturday her young beau
Called to see if she'd like to go
To see a show, but Miss Kate said "No
I'll tell you what you can do:"
You can’t take me out to the ball game
Or take me out with the crowd;
But you can buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack
And I don't care if they ever come back
I will root, root, root for the home team
Whoever they are, but we’ll never know - and it's a shame
For it's still one, two, three strikes, you're out
At the strange new ball game
Katie Casey watched all the games
Knew the players by their first names
Told the umpire he was wrong
Good and strong
When the score was just two to two
Katie Casey knew what to do
Just to cheer up the boys at her home
She made the gang sing this song:
I wish you could take me out to the ball game
Take me out with the virtual crowd;
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack
I don't care if I never get back
Let me root, root, root for some home team
If they don't win, it's a shame
For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out
At the old ball game – I think.
This 1908 Tin Pan Alley song by Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer is the unofficial anthem of MLB. The authors never attended a game, but their hit ranks with Happy Birthday for well known songs in the USA.
tarheeltwinsfan reacted to mikelink45 for a blog entry, Baseball has a special connection to Black Lives Matter
I cannot refuse to play baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, but I would if I could. I will support those who can, I will stand for the Black Lives Matter and not confuse it with the need to respect all lives. I will always feel a connection with the American Indian and the genocide of that Indian race in our nation. I will sympathize with the racism that affect the Chinese who built our railroads and the Japanese put in prison camps.
I grew up in a black neighborhood, I spent time with my relatives on the reservation in Lac Court O'Reilles, WI. To deny racism is to be blind to the world around us. To say that racism exists in only one color of people would be wrong, but the record of treaties broken, of people sold and resold exceeds other stories.
I want to trust the police, but they continue to disappoint me. I want to think that we have gone beyond lynching, but it is not acceptable to have white nationalists in uniform using guns instead of ropes.
Destruction of property, looting, defacing the cities is not acceptable, but neither is the indignity of those who complain because freeways are blocked, because peaceful people with tears in their eyes deserve our sympathy and understanding.
Baseball took half a century to recover from the racism of Cap Anson. It kidded itself that it was the great major league but was it. Who was better? When Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier with Branch Rickey and Larry Doby, it became a flood in the NL and suddenly we had Aaron, Robinson, Mays, Banks, and other great stars giving the NL a period of dominance. It should have been an awakening. The same was true of other sports and the NHL is still in the backwash of history.
Sports have always been a measure of our nation and its progress. Despite our racism Jesse Owens in the Berlin Olympics was a great national victory. Louis over Schmeling was a blow to the Nazi claims of superiority. But the Black gloves held skyward in during their medal ceremony in the Olympic Stadium in Mexico City on October 16, 1968, by two African-American athletes, Tommie Smith and John Carlos offended many – it should not have. It was appropriate and is still meaningful.
We have let hate stop the progress towards equality. We have let selfish motives block the rights of people easily identified by skin color as different.
We should not be moving towards fascism; we should be moving towards compassion. Our nation should not be worshiping guns, but rather the opportunity of equal rights for all and I mean ALL.
I am growing old with the candle of hope flickering in the winds of hate that have been unleashed in our nation. Please - is Peace and Love really a bad slogan to live by?
tarheeltwinsfan reacted to mikelink45 for a blog entry, Covid's coming
Here are a couple quotes from ESPN -
"The Minnesota Vikings announced Monday that head trainer Eric Sugarman and members of his family have tested positive for the coronavirus.
"Sugarman also is the Vikings' infection control officer.
He said in a statement that he and his family immediately quarantined and "are all doing fine and experiencing only mild symptoms."
"The Vikings said they are sanitizing their facility and contacted anyone who was in close contact with Sugarman. The team said those team personnel have been tested "and are returning under the established guidelines."
Yes, the infection control officer!
"Two Monday night MLB games were postponed because of an outbreak of the coronavirus among the Miami Marlins.
"The Marlins' home opener against the Baltimore Orioles is off, as well as the Philadelphia Phillies' home game against the New York Yankees.
"Miami just completed a series in Philadelphia, and seven more players and two coaches with the Marlins tested positive for the coronavirus. An outbreak has spread throughout their clubhouse and brought the total cases in recent days to at least 13, sources familiar with the situation told ESPN's Jeff Passan and Jesse Rogers."
Half the team!
"Eleven Marlins players and two coaches tested positive for the virus, ESPN reports. Marlins CEO Derek Jeter said the team is staying in Philadelphia, where it just played a three-game series, pending the results of a new round of testing.
"Postponing tonight's home opener was the correct decision to ensure we take a collective pause and try to properly grasp the totality of this situation," Jeter said in a statement.
"The positive tests come just days after MLB began its abbreviated 60-game season -- which had been delayed from its usual April opening because of the pandemic -- and already threaten to upend the young season."
"In recent weeks, Miami has been one of the epicenters of the coronavirus, pushing hospitals to capacity. Miami-Dade County recently surpassed 100,000 confirmed coronavirus cases." Florida has over 424,000 cases.
So now what? What if the Phillies test positive?
What if the umps test positive?
What about the teams that they had contact with before this series? They played the Braves in an Exhibition.
Think about what would happen if this was the week before the newly minted 60 day World Series. This is the Marlins so their 30 man taxi squad might be as good as the MLB roster. But are they on the 40 man?
Do they bump players from the current 40 man?
What about teams that didn't take the extra 30 man seriously? If I was a GM I would be reexamining the players I have on that team.
For a contending team to lose 10 players for two weeks would be devastating.
And what if the Marlins find that they have even more infected on their taxi and extra squad? Can they cancel the season for one team? I would.
And if the Marlins infected the stars in Philadelphia, do the Phillies have any recourse?
USA TODAY SAID
"In hindsight, MLB never should have permitted the Marlins to take the field Sunday against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park after three players tested positive for COVID-19, just two days after another player tested positive.
Marlins manager Don Mattingly said the team never considered not playing, but it is now clear that was a mistake and has put the entire season in jeopardy."
CBS Sports had these quotes from Manfred
"Manfred, who indicated that the Marlins could return to the field as early as Wednesday -- as a home team in Baltimore -- with "acceptable" testing results, responded that "[a] team losing a number of players that rendered it completely non-competitive" would be standard for considering a pause at the team level. That would of course require subjective judgment to determine whether a team had been reduced to "non-competitive" status, but it's at least a standard of some kind.
"He was asked a similar question earlier this month as part of an appearance on Dan Patrick's radio show. Here's what Manfred said:
"I don't have a firm number of days in mind (to pause the season). I think the way that I think about it, Dan, is in the vein of competitive integrity, in a 60-game season," Manfred said. "If we have a team or two that's really decimated with a number of people who had the virus and can't play for any significant period of time, it could have a real impact on the competition and we'd have to think very, very hard about what we're doing."
"Despite having a call with the 30 team owners at 12:30 p.m. ET, the word is that MLB has no plans to cancel or pause the season at the present moment." https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/heres-what-rob-manfred-said-it-would-take-to-pause-2020-mlb-season-over-covid-19-concerns/
Chicago Tribune added this frightening note - "The news got worse for the White Sox hours later when it was revealed manager Rick Renteria awoke with coronavirus symptoms and was taken to a Cleveland hospital to get tested. The Sox announced Renteria would not manage Monday’s game, which was later postponed. The Sox had two players test positive before camp, including third baseman Yoan Moncada, and right fielder Nomar Mazara was placed on the injured list with no designated injury."
tarheeltwinsfan reacted to Supfin99 for a blog entry, Why all the questions about Twins pitching?
I just read the ESPN article about possible super teams or teams that will win 100 games. The locks listed were the Yankees, Astros and Dodgers. In the American League the Rays were the teams listed as the Prime Contender and the wild cards were the Twins and the Angels. The fact that we were listed with the Angels, a team that won 72 games last year, is a story for anther post. The question on the Twins was"if their pitching works out". Last time I checked we won 101 games last year and I don't see how our lineup is not at least as good if not even better this year with Arraez and Buxton for a whole year and Donaldson replacing Cron.
So let's discuss our pitching. We have Berrios and Odorizzi back, and I will discuss them in greater detail shortly. The next players that pitched the most innings were Kyle Gibson, Martin Perez and Michael Pineda. Pineda will miss almost exactly a quarter of the season but has a good chance of matching last years innings total of 149 or at least coming close. Big Mike also gets to pitch only in the warmer months which seemed to be his best part of last season. So the staff comparison really comes down to replacing Gibson and Perez. Those 2 combined to make 58 starts and pitch 325 innings last year. Gibson had a 5.12 ERA and Perez had 4.84. They both had WHIP around 1.5. That is what we are replacing. That is not exactly Koufax and Drysdale. Even if the Maeda trade falls thru the leading candidates to replace those 2 are Homer Bailey, Randy Dobnak, Devin Smeltzer and Lewis Thorpe. For Dobnak, Smeltzer and Thorpe their respective ERA's were 1.59, 3.86 and 6.18. Both Dobnaks and Thorpes ERA's were a little misleading. The respective FIP for those 3 was 2.90, 4.58 and 3.47. For comparison sake Gibson and Perez came in at 4.26 and 4.66. Thorpe takes a huge jump due to his excellent SO totals and an unsustainable .438 BABIP. Where is this huge drop-off that would cause our win total to plummet? If anything it looks like we would be slightly better if those 3 combined to eat up the innings pitched by Perez and Gibson. Homer Bailey pitched decent last year after 4 years of not pitching much or well. His 163 IP was the most he had managed since 2013. It was his 1st time with an ERA below 5.5 since 2014. Martin Perez was coming off a similar 2018 in which he didn't much but when he did he was terrible. If Bailey can repeat his 2019, his numbers across the board would be better than what Perez was able to do last season.
However you look at the candidates at the back end of the rotation I don't see how you can make any sensible argument that we are worse off then we were last year at this time. Knowing now what we received from Gibson and Perez and seeing what the peripherals were for the candidates to replace them, it would be hard to not acknowledge that we are at least as well off going into this season if not actually in a better position than last year.
Now let's look at Jose Berrios. I think he will continue his improvement and will climb to be one of the top 20 pitchers in baseball. Last year Jose's overall numbers took a slight downturn from his previous season even though his ERA ended up slightly lower. His H/9 and K/9 were both slightly better in 2018. But a big reason for this very slight downturn we due to a very bad 6 game stretch in Aug and the 1st week of Sept. His numbers during that 6 game stretch were truly awful.
6 G 31.1 IP 47 H 29 R 15 BB 36 SO 8 HR
Those numbers equate to averages of
8.33 ERA 13.5 H/9 4.31 BB/9 10.35 K/9 1.98 WHIP 2.31 HR/9
His number in his other 26 starts were ACE level performance
26 G 169 IP 147 H 53 R 36 BB 159 SO 18 HR
This lead to averages of
2.82 ERA 7.72 H/9 1.91 BB/9 8.46 K/9 1.07 WHIP 0.96 HR/9
So before Aug 1 Berrios was having a season that would have put him among the very best pitchers in baseball and would have definitely garnered him Cy Young votes. Now I know you can't cherry pick numbers and every start counts. But I do think that Berrios had a bad stretch that somewhat misleadingly brought down the rest of his numbers. This was a time when maybe his arm was tired, or he had a little bit of a confidence crisis or maybe just some bad luck. Could have been a mixture of all 3. I love Berrios' work ethic and I feel certain he sent this entire offseason working towards finding a solution for his late season fade. It really is the last step for him to becoming a truly elite pitcher. He may not be the ace of a Verlander or Cole level, but who is. There are maybe 5 pitchers in all of baseball who are at that level. Where Berrios can slide into is the next tier of the top 20 pitchers in baseball. Not sure what everyone else's definition of ace is but I think top 20 is pretty close.
If we do acquire Maeda, it isn't even comparable to last season. He would immediately be a vast improvement over Gibson and Perez.
tarheeltwinsfan reacted to SD Buhr for a blog entry, Twins Moves Improve Postseason Chances? Bet On It!
If you follow me on Twitter, you know I've been taking advantage of legalized sports betting in Iowa. Not many days go by between my comments or observations concerning the betting lines on the teams and sports that I tend to follow.
Naturally, that means I had to check out the shifts in what the oddsmakers set for the Minnesota Twins chances of success are in 2020 after the Twins front office signed Josh Donaldson to a hefty free agent contract. The signing has been widely seen as a signal to their fan base and any other interested parties that the Twins are serious about taking advantage of their current window of competitive opportunity.
Winning the American League Central Division title is nice, but with the strong core of talent on the Twins roster, you can't blame fans for wanting more. We want postseason success! Winning 101 games was terrific! Losing three straight games to the Yankees in the American League Division Series, not so much.
The signing of Donaldson to a contract far beyond anything the Twins have ever offered to a free agent before appears to indicate that the front office agrees.
So the question remains, does the addition of Donaldson, which allows the Twins to assemble what could arguably be considered the most dangerous offensive lineup in Major League Baseball, really improve the Twins' chances of winning an American League Pennant or, if we're allowed to dream, even their first World Series Championship since 1991? Or will it still take more (a top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher, perhaps) to significantly improve those chances?
There's no shortage of opinions on the subject out there. Here's the thing, though - all of those opinions are worth exactly what you pay for them. Nothing. In fact, if you are paying a subscription fee to read the analysis behind those opinions, they're worth even less than what you pay for them.
While I'm still a relative novice at the sports betting thing, here's something it didn't take me long to learn: The people who set the gambling odds know what they're doing. They don't let emotion and personal bias determine the betting lines they set... at least not their own emotions and personal biases. They will absolutely take into account the bettors' emotions and biases if they believe it means those bettors will let their emotions influence their bets.
Take the betting lines set for the Twins' 2020 season, for example.
First, don't let anyone tell you that the Twins aren't the favorites to repeat as champions of the American League Central Division. Yes, the White Sox have made some significant moves. Yes, Cleveland still has talent on their roster. That's nice, but the sportsbooks are having none of it.
I have accounts with Elites Sportsbook and William Hill and I've learned it does pay to shop around. That runs true with regard to the Twins in 2020, as well.
Both sportsbooks see the Twins as the favorite to win the AL Central. Elite sets the odds for the Twins at even (1/1). You bet $100 and you win $100 if they repeat as Division champions. At William Hill, the odds are just -175, which means if you bet $100 and they win the Division, you only make $57.15.
The difference seems to be how the two sportsbooks see Cleveland's chances of clawing their way back up past the Twins and how strong a challenge Chicago's capable of making. At Elite, they set Cleveland's odds at 6-5 and the upstart White Sox at 7-2. William Hill, however, sets both of the Twins' top Divisional competitors at 3-1.
By the way, if you're one of those bettors that like to bet the longshots, don't bother with Elite, who sets the Royals at 75-1 and the Tigers at 150-1. You want to go to William Hill where you can get 200-1 on your Royals money and a whopping 500-1 if you're willing to bet on former Twins manager's Detroit squad.
But let's start looking at the Donaldson effect. I never bothered to look at what the sportsbooks set for odds of the Twins winning their Division, because to me they were the obvious favorite and where's the challenge in betting on the favorite in a horse race?
A couple of weeks ago, I did see the over/under on Twins wins during the regular season at William Hill was 90 1/2 wins. Today, post-Donaldson signing, it's up to 92 wins. So you can still allow for some regression to the mean and yet make even money on the "over" bet. After all, the Twins didn't shell out all that money to just get an extra win and a half, right?
But let's face it, we all expect the Twins to repeat as Divisional champs. They're going to do fine over the course of 162 games, right?
With Donaldson in the fold, we're looking for more. We're looking to get to the World Series and once you're there, you might as well win it!
Will they still need starting pitching better than what they had against the Yankees in October? Yes. But the extra oomph the Twins get from Donaldson's bat and the improved defense he brings to the infield give the Twins some flexibility with regard to how and when they improve that rotation.
There's no longer a significant rush to get another top-end starting pitcher (or two). They can stand pat into spring training and see whether other teams' demands in terms of prospect returns come down. They can even arguably wait until mid season to see which teams fall out of contention and are ready to deal their aces for help rebuilding their systems. Waiting also gives Michael Pineda, Rich Hill and the bevy of young arms the Twins feel are ready to break out their chances to prove themselves worthy of "top starter" status.
Right now, I'm optimistic (perhaps unrealistically so) that the Twins will not enter the postseason short on starting pitching.
But that's me and my personal bias showing. What do the bookmakers think?
Before Donaldson, the Twins were a 12-1 shot to win the American League Pennant. Now, it's down to 11-1. That doesn't seem like the oddsmakers are all that impressed, does it? Still better than the 10-1 they offer at Elite, though.
That lack of Josh respect is nothing compared to what we see when we look at the Twins' shot at taking home the World Series trophy.
Back on November 1, the Twins were 20-1 shots to win the 2020 World Series at William Hill. Last week, still before Donaldson, those odds had risen to 22-1 at the same sportsbook. Now, with Donaldson in the fold... it's still 22-1 at William Hill. (It's 20-1 at Elite.)
Talk about no respect!
Of course, the thing we have to keep in mind is that the oddsmakers aren't making their decision strictly on what they feel a team's chances are. For them, it's all about getting money bet on both sides of the line so their bosses make money regardless of who wins. They're setting these lines where they feel they can get people to bet on both sides.
To me, they're telling us, "We don't think people who bet money on this stuff are convinced the Twins' chances of winning the AL Pennant are much improved with Donaldson... and their chances of winning the World Series aren't any better than they were before he signed."
Do you disagree? Are you amazed that not only are the Twins a bigger longshot to win the Series now than they were when last season ended, but that Donaldson doesn't move the needle in their direction at all?
But how strongly do you disagree? It's never been easier to put your money where your beliefs are. No, I'm not suggesting anyone mortgage their house and put the money on the Twins to get World Series rings. In fact, I'm usually not inclined to bet much money at all on teams I have a genuine rooting interest in. Emotion and gambling don't mix well.
But I have to admit, it just seems weird to me that the betting community, the oddsmakers and the gamblers, don't see Josh Donaldson's addition as improving the Twins' chances of finishing the season with some hardware. Does it make them a favorite for anything beyond winning the AL Central again, no. You still have to beat the Yankees at some point and that won't be easy.
But the argument that Donaldson makes that only slightly more likely... and not at all more likely to top whoever comes out of the National League in the World Series... just is a tough one for me to understand.
It's a tough betting line for me to ignore. In fact, I couldn't ignore it. I put a little something on the Twins at 20-1 back in November and I've added a bit more at 22-1. I also put a bit on the 12-1 odds to win the AL and I've added some to the "over" at 92 wins. I couldn't pull the trigger on 90 1/2 before Donaldson - I simply had little confidence that ownership would ever sign that kind of check - but I wish I had.
It will be interesting (to me, anyway) to follow these betting lines over the coming weeks to see if there's any sort of movement as we get closer to Opening Day, 2020.
(This article was originally posted at Knuckleballblog.com)
tarheeltwinsfan reacted to mikelink45 for a blog entry, Prospects
I am always curious where the national rankings put the Twins Prospects. It helps give me perspective as I look at the rankings from TD. Today Jim Bowden had his top fifty prospects in the Athletic https://theathletic.com/1523975/2020/01/17/jim-bowdens-top-50-prospects-for-2020/?source=dailyemail and our top three were all there.
Kiriloff has now passed Royce Lewis and is ranked number 12 over all which is great. This is a quote from the article describing Alex "Kirilloff has one of the best swings in baseball, one that reminds me of former MVP Christian Yelich at around the same stage." We would take a Yelich performance. It is also why Kiriloff should not be traded no matter what is dangled in front of us.
Lewis is now 18. I remember when he was consistently in the top five. He is sighted for his versatility but the key sentence in his write up is "How quickly he adjusts as a hitter will determine when he’s ready for the majors, but he does have some work to do at the plate if he’s going to reach his high ceiling."
Finally Graterol comes in at #48 and I love this sentence in the scouting report, "When Graterol pitches, you better make sure your radar gun does well with the triple digits because he’ll be there often."
Nice to have them in the top fifty, now let's get Kiriloff and Graterol to the big show. It will probably take a trade of Rosario or another injury to Buxton, but when we need someone I would prefer the rookie over Cave. Time to unlock the potential. Graterol should be designated to take the rotation spot of Pineda until he comes off the suspension and maybe he will be so good that he forces one of the others off the rotation and that would be great.
tarheeltwinsfan reacted to Ted Schwerzler for a blog entry, Donaldson Provides a Twins Day for the Ages
Tonight Josh Donaldson agreed to a four-year, $92 million contract with the Minnesota Twins. It's the largest in franchise history by nearly double the financial commitment, and it's the first major commitment placed by the new front office. Early into the decade or not, this one is something that will go down in history.
Last offseason I touched on Donaldson as a guy that the Twins should target. Coming off of injury it seemed like he could be a guy that they nail for a one-year deal and utilize as a massive superstar. Unfortunately he chose to make good in his hometown state, but the opportunity presented itself again. While the front office looked to be dragging their feet, and Donaldson was obviously angling for the largest payday, and eventual resolution was reached.
Although Donaldson is known for punishing baseballs into the stratosphere, he presents a far greater impact to a team like the Twins. With such strong infield defense at the hot corner, a reconfiguration of bodies on the corners should give the overall unit a boost. Rocco Baldelli's club was not good up the middle on the dirt last year, and Josh Donaldson has an ability to change that. We'll wait and see how Miguel Sano adapts to first base, but the assumption should be net zero at worst.
After possessing the second best lineup in baseball a year ago, the Bomba Squad just landed a guy who posted a .900 OPS on his own. There have been injury concerns in recent seasons, but a clean bill of health allowed performance to reign supreme in Atlanta. Adding that level of production to a group that tallied an .832 OPS is unheralded, and one way to combat staunch pitching.
There's certainly reason to gripe about what Minnesota has done on the mound. Michael Pineda and Rich Hill are nice additions, but neither are available from the outset. Falvey and Levine have built the rotation to compete when it matters, and this club will have a lineup capable of pounding the opposition to a pulp.
At this point there's no other option for those tossing out the "Pocket Protector" remarks and doubt towards the front office than to take a lap. Spending has always made the most sense when there's opportunity and sustenance behind it. We've reached that window, and the men in charge have made good.
Now, it's time to Bring the Rain.
For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
tarheeltwinsfan reacted to Brandon for a blog entry, 4 Year Window?
It seems like the Twins are settling in on a 4-year window of being competitive. Last year the Twins signed 2 of their core players to 5-year contracts totaling just over 60 million. Note, they now have 4 years left on those extensions. Just a few days ago the wins signed Sano to an extension that has a guaranteed 3-year extension with a 4th year option. The Twins are looking to sign Donaldson to a 4-year contract as well. I am beginning to think the longer Donaldson doesn’t sign the better our odd are of signing him become. I think the more extensions they sign that give more payroll certainty, the more the Twins will feel comfortable increasing their offer to JD and get the deal done.
As far as the other position players go, we have 5 years control on Garver, 3 years for Buxton, and 5 years for Arreaz. That is 7 of the 9 starters who are locked up for 3 years and 6 can be locked up for 7.
The 2 positions not locked up the full 4 years are DH/ 1B and LF. The Twins have Killeroff, Rooker, Raley, Larnarch and Blankenship among others.
To replace Gonzales as the everywhere player is Lewis. He has shown he can play CF, 3B and SS in the minors. He can come up and be an everyday player at every position.
In the pen and back of the rotation there were numerous pitchers who have shown they can be effective in those roles. It’s a matter of giving them another year to show who is really ready and who is not. As far as extensions go for pitchers; if we can sign May and Rogers in the pen to extensions and Berrios and maybe Odorizzi in the rotation, we would have a really strong core locked up and quite a few young pitchers with years of team control remaining. That makes the next 4 years where the Twins are working around the edges and looking for a star starting pitcher to come here.
Looking forward at the next 4 years starting in 2024, the Twins will still have 2-3 years control for players coming up like Killeroff, Larnarch, Lewis, Rooker, Baddoo. Plus, they will have any players extended in arbitration under control for an extended period of time like Arreaz? Garver? On the pitching side the picture is not as clear but as of now we have Graterol as either a starter or reliever, Balazovich is on his way, and we have numerous other pitchers who came up in the last year or next year and may be at the back of the rotation or in the pen as well such as Thorpe, Smeltzer, Littell, Dobnak, Alcala, Wells, Jax, Stashak, and so many more. And the Twins will have 4 years to develop other players and pitchers as well and the Twins could be well set up to have another 4-year window….
tarheeltwinsfan reacted to Cody Pirkl for a blog entry, In Appreciation: Jake Odorizzi
The beginning of the offseason was a time of hope and optimism. The Twins were coming off of 101 wins with their most prominent need being starting pitching in one of the most pitching rich offseasons in recent memory. Nobody expected a contract luring Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg to Minnesota, but there was hope that we could acquire a starting pitcher that would at least push Odorizzi in the rotation down one spot, some form of an ace to pair with Berrios. As I write this on December 27th, this kind of pitcher has not yet been acquired, nor has any starting pitching that was not in the organization in 2019. While the fan base's frustrations boil over, I wanted shine some light on a player that was a true star of the 2019 Minnesota Twins.
I'm not much of a "best shape of his life" truther, but rumblings of the potential for Odorizzi's impressive 2019 began in the offseason when reports surfaced that he had changed his workout routine to improve his ailing back. This report was expanded upon later throughout the season by Dan Hayes of the Athletic.
Odorizzi showed a lot of dedication, and while this report may sound ridiculous, the results have spoken for themselves. Odorizzi finished the season with a 10.08 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, 0.91 HR/9, 3.51 ERA and 3.36 FIP. Those numbers may have been even better had he not suffered from a blister mid season that really inflated his numbers in a short period of time, capped off by the famous 5 IP 9 ER against the Yankees on 7/24. After returning from his blister, he righted the ship to the tune of 2.89 ERA to finish the season.
I think Odorizzi's performance in game 3 in 2019 goes unnoticed since we lost. In an elimination game, Odorizzi threw 5 innings of 2 run ball, striking out 5 and walking none against a patient Yankee lineup that dismantled just about every other pitcher they'd seen to that point. The Twins were on the ropes, and Odorizzi was nails. He exited with the game well within reach despite a Twins lineup that had squandered several opportunities to that point. Odorizzi showed that he was up to the task of facing any lineup in the major leagues not just in the regular season where he dominated, but in a postseason setting with the season on the line.
In a perfect world, the Twins do still acquire a number 1 starter, although it looks increasingly likely that this will have to come via trade with top options leaving the free agency market. I still advocate for the front office to not only look for this addition, but to also add to the back end to not be as dependent on last year's rookies in the regular season. However, we as fans often discount the value of the numbers our teams players put up because of how we watch them all year and see the bad just as much as the good. Let's say the Twins signed an unnamed pitcher to a 1 year deal who put up Odorizzi's numbers in 2019. How excited would you be to slot this player between Berrios and Pineda in 2020? In my opinion, those numbers aren't a bonafide ace, but you feel great sending that pitcher out every fifth day, including the playoffs.
The doom and gloom among fans that has crept in has only grown while watching the teams around us add players, and I think it's gotten to a good point in the offseason to appreciate the players we already have suiting up for our AL Central champions in 2020. Teams like the White Sox are no doubt improving their team, but the bench mark set by the Twins impressive roster of returning players will be hard to reach.
tarheeltwinsfan reacted to Ted Schwerzler for a blog entry, Twins Questions from the Offseason
It’s been a while since I’ve fielded some questions and handled a Twins mailbag. With the offseason in full swing, and plenty of irons in the fire, the Minnesota Twins have provided a good deal of questions for fans. Doing my best to pick out a handful of them, here’s my take on some of the discussion.
The Twins have been tied to a handful of position players, but really the only role needing to be filled is corner infield. If Sano moves to first base, then the idea of Josh Donaldson makes a ton of sense. Minnesota has suggested they feel comfortable starting Marwin at first, but I feel like that saps a significant amount of his value. Eric Thames, Travis Shaw, or a recently proposed trade including Daniel Murphy could all be in play. Obviously, Alex Avila was inked to slot in behind Mitch Garver.
I don’t think there’s any question as to whether Minnesota will acquire another pitcher. They only uncertainty is what avenue they’ll choose to go down. Hyun-Jin Ryu is an ideal fit, but he’s about the only “impact” arm left on the open market. They could swing a trade and then decide to sign someone like Julio Teheran as an additional bullet.
This was part of my piece for the Twins Prospect Handbook, but I did offer it up on Twitter so you can have it again here. If there’s a guy I like to make a Luis Arraez like, out of nowhere impact, it’s Travis Blankenhorn. He was added to the 40-man this offseason, can play everywhere, and is close to big league ready.
That shipped has probably sailed, he just hasn’t shown the chops to stick in the rotation. Unfortunately, we’re bordering on the time when Romero’s run with the organization ends as well. He’s out of options, so unless he shows well enough this spring to grab a bullpen spot, he’ll likely be claimed off waivers by someone else.
If you’ve followed me for any amount of time on Twitter you know I’m not high on what Rosario brings to the table. I loved him as a prospect and was onboard a trade for an aggressive promotion schedule. He’s 28 now, has no ability to control the strike zone, plays poor defense, and produces hollow stat lines. Should the Twins be able to deal him, it would be on the premise of another level being unlockable. I don’t think he’s good enough to command much of anything on his own but packaging him with a prospect and dangling Rosario as an MLB-ready piece could have appear for someone.
Funny you should ask; I wrote that exact scenario up at Twins Daily last night. Give it a read here.
My ideal arm from the get-go has been Jon Gray, though I do like German Marquez quite a bit as well. I’d be in on either Chris Sale or David Price if the Red Sox want salary relief.
You won’t find a stauncher supporter of Miguel Sano’s ability that myself. I think you’re guaranteed to get a significant power threat and real home run production if he stays on the field. For all involved, I think the biggest turning point was creating an environment of accountability and buy in. This front office has cultivated a strong infrastructure that no doubt supports its players. Miguel’s problems always stemmed from his level of commitment. We saw buy in last year, and unless he’s willing to throw that away, I’d imagine it remains consistent. He won’t be a perennial All-Star, especially if he crosses the diamond (and eventually moves into the DH role), but a lineup staple seems like a good bet.
Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew, Kirby Puckett, Joe Mauer
I did get a good deal of questions regarding timelines for prospects as well. I do love those, but it’s the subject of my yearly piece for the Twins Prospect Handbook. That will be available in the coming weeks, so you’ll have to check that out there.
For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
tarheeltwinsfan reacted to Ted Schwerzler for a blog entry, Twins Could Trade for a Former Free Agent Target
After bringing back Jake Odorizzi and Michael Pineda the Minnesota Twins should be turning their focus solely to the top of their rotation. Madison Bumgarner is the presumed name, but Jon Heyman recently reported that former Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu could be the target. What if Minnesota wanted to go a different route entirely?
There’s no denying that Bumgarner and Ryu are the best (see: only) arms left in the second tier of available starters. Bumgarner has been dissected plenty, and Ryu is essentially the flip side of what he brings to the table. Injury concerns are abundant and could be an immediate issue. He won’t command the same length in a contract, but that may not matter if you get burned on the front end. Ryu is a really nice arm, but there’s plenty of risk regarding how much time he’ll miss.
For a while I’ve contended the Twins plan this winter should be to acquire a top-tier arm through free agency while also dealing for an option with some nice team control. What if it they decided to deal for the top-tier arm as well, and spend by taking on someone else’s contract?
Enter Yu Darvish.
Minnesota came up a year short in signing Darvish before he eventually landed a six-year deal with the Chicago Cubs. Thad Levine has in-depth knowledge of the arm having worked in the front office that originally signed him in Texas, and the parallels with Ryu run pretty deep.
Chicago’s starter is roughly six months older than Ryu. He could be had on a four-year, $81 million contract today assuming the Cubs take on no salary. Although Ryu may not get four years, he’ll probably wind up somewhere between the $60-75 million range. Darvish was injury and bad a season ago, and then started slow in 2019. Across his final 20 starts last year he allowed just a .629 OPS and had a 162/18 K/BB ratio.
When looking at Darvish and Ryu it comes down to what path you prefer (and if Chicago is truly motivated to move him). Ryu costs dollars and brings a strong amount of command while lacking the strikeouts. Darvish would require prospect capital, involves a similar level of injury risk, but brings arguably the best strikeout numbers Minnesota would have ever employed.
If you’re hoarding prospects, and there’s reason to suggest that the Twins should be at least until the deadline this season, then spending money on Ryu or Bumgarner should be the obvious decision. If Darvish is seen as the superior option to Ryu, then engaging the Cubs in meaningful discussion is absolutely a conversation worth having.
We’re at the point in roster construction where big moves are going to involve a certain level of skepticism. Knowing that there’s nothing certain about any of the options involved, a level of belief will be required with any asset acquired. I’m not sure which path the Twins will choose, and I don’t know what the right one is. I am glad we’re at the crossroads where it becomes a necessity, and these are the real discussions that we’re having.
For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz