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HitInAPinch

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  1. Like
    HitInAPinch reacted to Andrew Thares for a blog entry, Should the Twins Extend Brian Dozier?   
    There is no question that Brian Dozier has been the best player on the Minnesota Twins for the past four seasons. Over that stretch, Dozier’s 18.8 fWAR ranks 18th in Major League Baseball, and is 2nd among second basemen. His early success lead the Twins front office to give him a 4-year, $20MM deal to buy out his arbitration eligible years. This has proved to be an extremely team friendly deal, but now that the Twins are a team that is finally back in playoff contention, they just might be in danger of losing their best player.
     
    Dozier has expressed interest in returning to the Twins after 2018, but it doesn’t appear that the Twins have approached him yet this offseason about a potential extension. So, the question to ask is, should they?
     
    Probably the most important factor in this decision will be cost. How much money will they need to spend, and how many years will they need to offer in order to entice Dozier away from entering free agency next offseason. Dozier has drastically increased his market value after back-to-back career years. This means that the Twins won’t be able to sign him for pennies on the dollar this time around. When trying to estimate the contract that Dozier’s agent will be asking for, the best place to start is by looking at contracts that other elite level second basemen have gotten in recent years. The three players that make the most sense to look at are Robinson Cano, Daniel Murphy and Ben Zobrist. Here are the details of their contracts.
     
     


     
    For a little comparison, Brian Dozier will be entering his age 31 season this year, and had a 5.0 fWAR last season, and a 14.2 fWAR over the previous three. Given these factors, and adding in a couple years of baseball inflation, we can assume that Dozier will get a contract somewhere in between the Cano and Zobrist contracts. In terms of years, I would expect that the it will be a lot closer to the four years Zobrist got, than the ten years Cano received. It would most likely be a deal that would extend either four or five seasons past Dozier’s current contract. Even though it has been four years since Robinson Cano signed his deal, I do not see Dozier receiving an offer that approaches Cano’s in terms of Average Annual Value, as Cano was an MVP level player for five seasons before signing his contract with the Mariners. Given this, I am predicting that Dozier will sign for somewhere in the $19M-$21M per year range.
     
    Now that we have a ballpark idea of what it might take to sign Brian Dozier to an extension, we now must figure out if it would make sense for the Twins to sign him to that extension. As with most big decisions, it is often works well to look at the pros and cons of the decision, so that is what we will do.
     

    Pros


     
    The first pro to extending Dozier, is it will secure the Twins organizational depth in the middle infield. The reason that this is important is two-fold. While players like Royce Lewis, Nick Gordon, Wander Javier and even Jorge Polanco all have a lot of potential, they still have big question marks attached to them. For a team like the Twins, who is ready to compete now, having a player like Dozier, who has a much higher floor over the next few seasons will be very important. The other reason why Dozier securing depth in the middle infield is important is, it gives the front office more flexibility with their personal decisions. With second base taken care of for the foreseeable future, they can be more aggressive with their prospects in the trade market for a big time starting pitcher, like Chris Archer. Also, with the future of third base in doubt after 2018, the Twins could also use their depth in the middle infield to fill this hole, potentially with Dozier sliding over to third himself.
     
    Another benefit of keeping Dozier around is his leadership presence in the clubhouse. With an inexperienced team like the Twins, having veteran leader for the young players is paramount.
     
    The final benefit of extending Dozier now is the Twins will have exclusive negotiating rights with him. If the Twins want to bring Dozier back, their best bet might be by not exposing him to the other 29 teams in free agency.
     

    Cons


     
    Without question, the biggest con in extending Dozier would be the financial commitment the Twins would have to make to him. If the Twins were to sign him, the total value of the contract would be roughly in the $100MM range. If the Twins were to make that investment it would take away from their ability to go out and sign a top tier starting pitcher that is of desperate need. Another potential problem with locking up that much money in one player is, if they suffer an injury, or their game were to suddenly go away, the Twins would be stuck with a lot of dead money on their books. With Dozier now on the wrong side of 30, both of those are possibilities, despite his track record of health and consistent performance.
     
    A final motive to consider is baring an awful 2018 for Dozier, the Twins will make him a qualifying offer at the end of the season. So even if he does sign with a different organization, the Twins will receive a draft pick between Rounds 1 and 2 in the 2019 Draft as compensation.
     
    With all things considered, it is a bit surprising that the Twins haven’t at least approached Dozier or his agent about an extension this winter. Even if they are leaning towards not bringing him back, it would still be worth getting the conversation started to see what Dozier wants.
     
    I am interested to see what everyone has to say on this. Do you think that the Twins should offer Brian Dozier a contract extension, or should they let him play just play out this season and see where the chips fall in free agency?
  2. Like
    HitInAPinch reacted to Parker Hageman for a blog entry, Daily Twins Daily: July 26, 2017   
    Good morning and welcome to the Daily Twins Daily, a brief rundown of some of the more notable topics and stories on the site today. Let me take you around the horn:
     
    First: You should go sign up for our latest Thank You Giveaway. This time it is a free copy of Out Of The Park Baseball ‘18 game. (I used to play hours of this game before I got married, got a mortgage, started to have children and have absolutely no free time to myself. Now I just sit and wait for the sweet embrace of death. Man, playing OOTBP would certainly help pass the time.) We have already given away a sweet t-shirt from Pick And Shovel Wear as well as beers from the taprooms on Gleeman & The Geek’s Taproom Tuesday Tours.
     
    Second: The Twins game concluded well after midnight last night and Seth Stohs will walk you through the ins-and-outs in the game recap of the 6-2 loss but let me walk you through my take of the unusual happenings mid-game.
     
    For some crazy reason, I stayed up to watch all of it mostly because of the events that unfold in the sixth inning. Paul Molitor attempted a double-switch, sending reliever Ryan Pressly into the game in Jorge Polanco’s spot in the order and inserting Ehire Adrianza in the game in the departing pitcher’s spot (Trevor Hildenburger).
     
    Presley delivered the first pitch to Yasiel Puig and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts came out to protest and another baseball wasn’t thrown until over twenty minutes later when Eddie Rosario was removed from the game and Polanco put back in along with Adrianza and Pressly. No one knew what was happening and when play resumed, the explanation that was provided was a miscommunication.
     
    After the game, Molitor told reporters he believed he had said the correct version (Adrianza & Pressly for Hildenburger & Polanco) but the umpire Lance Barrett had somehow heard Matt Belise for Eddie Rosario.
     
    If the events happened the way Molitor said they did then I am not sure why there wasn’t more equipment thrown onto the field from the dugout.
     
    The Twins have fallen below the .500 mark for the first time this season since they were 10-11 back on April 26th.
     
    Speaking of the Dodgers, I loved this moment in their minor league game. A fly ball 30 feet short of the fence is given extra life a la Jose Canseco and up over the fence.
     




     
    In addition to the blooper, watch the swing of Alex Verdugo. Same traits you see out of Bellinger and Pederson from the left side - uppercut to lift and elevate. The Dodgers certainly know how to develop ‘em.
     
    Third: In yesterday's minor league action, Hector Santiago pitched in a rehab assignment in Rochester while Stephen Gonslaves got the start for Chattanooga. Elizabethton kept rolling while Royce Lewis demonstrated some head’s up baserunning in the GCL. Steve Lein has all the details.
     
    But here is some good news for the organization:
     




     
    Home: Nick Nelson explores the state of the American League West ahead of the trade deadline. Great insight in here. Both the top two pitcher on the trade market -- Sonny Grey and Yu Darvish -- are expected to come from here. Plus Astros will be trying to add parts to an already outstanding team.
     
    Extra Innings: If you need something to listen to today at work: I cohosted this week’s Gleeman & Geek podcast (listen). TwinsGeek was a guest on Bison1660 in Fargo (listen). Seth Stohs was on 1390 Granite City Sports in St. Cloud (listen).
     
    Random Stat: Jorge Polanco has not been hitting well this year. He’s oh-for-eleven the last five games and has a line of .214/.266/.306. So you can see why Molitor was trying to get him out of the game in the sixth inning. One notable difference between this year and last (when he had a respectable OPS of 757) was that a number of hits were falling in an exit velocity/launch angle range (above 85 mph and between 10-30 degrees) where the league norm batting average is .629.
     
    On balls in play in that range last year he was above that with a .708 BA while he’s one of the league’s worst at .513 this season. So maybe there is a little bit of luck sprinkled into both last season and this one. (LINK)
     
    Either way, Polanco needs to stay doing something, particularly with the way Adrianza has been playing.
     
     
     
    That's it for today. Thanks for stopping by.
  3. Like
    HitInAPinch reacted to Brandon Warne for a blog entry, 7/6 GAME NOTES: Twins Put Up Crooked Number in Third, Hold Tight Rest of the Way in 6-4 Win over Orioles   
    A six-spot in the third inning gave the Minnesota Twins all the offense they needed -- or would get -- while Jose Berrios and three relievers combined to hold the Baltimore Orioles offense at bay in a 6-4 win at Target Field on a balmy Thursday night.
     
    A poorly-conceived throw from Orioles first baseman Trey Mancini with one out in the third torpedoed much of the value he provided with the bat on a night where he hit a pair of doubles and scored a pair of runs. His throw extended the inning, but also meant that all six runs allowed by Orioles starter Dylan Bundy were earned, pushing his ERA up to 4.33 by the time he hit the showers.
     
    Just over a month ago, Bundy’s ERA resided under 3.00. In fact, after facing the Twins and holding them to just two earned runs over seven innings on May 23, Bundy’s ERA checked in at 2.92. In three of Bundy’s last four starts, he’s allowed at least five earned runs as he appears to be hitting a bit of a wall as the midseason break creeps up. MASN Sports’ Roch Kubatko told Zone Coverage prior to Thursday’s game that Bundy won’t throw at all during the break, and will slot in the back of the O’s rotation to give him some added rest, considering he threw just over 100 innings last season.
     
    Berrios was merely adequate for the Twins on the night, as he completed the bare minimum tasks to be awarded a quality start. He didn’t get a ton of help from his friends, as Miguel Sano clanged an easy throw at first base from third baseman Eduardo Escobar, and that run came around to score when Mark Trumbo bashed a 3-0 pitch from Berrios onto the berm just over the fence in center.
     
    “I give Jose a lot of credit,” said manager Paul Molitor. “We talk about maturing at this level. We all saw how he struggled with his curveball command in particular compared to what we have seen. But he fought through it. We had a misplay and a 3-0 homer, and we dug a bit of a hole.”
     
    Please click through to Zone Coverage here to see the rest of this story.
  4. Like
    HitInAPinch reacted to Brandon Warne for a blog entry, Twins Shortstop Prospect Nick Gordon Will Play in Futures Game   
    News broke Thursday afternoon that Twins infield prospect Nick Gordon had been selected to play in the 2017 All-Star Futures Game at Marlins Mark on July 9, 2017. Gordon, who has spent the whole season at Double-A Chattanooga, is the only player who’ll represent the Twins at the game.
     

     

     
    The Futures Game — which was first played at Fenway Park during the 1999 All-Star break — was created to showcase top-end minor-league talent, and is separate from All-Star Games at each level. As one might expect, there have been some truly great talents represented at these events. Alfonso Soriano — then a member of the Yankees organization — was the first MVP of the game, with Jose Reyes, Grady Sizemore, Billy Butler, Nick Castellanos, Joey Gallo, Kyle Schwarber and Yoan Moncada winning the award over the last 17 years.
     
    Twins outfield prospect Rene Tosoni won the MVP in 2009.
     
    View this post in its entirety at ZoneCoverage.com here.
  5. Like
    HitInAPinch reacted to Brandon Warne for a blog entry, WARNE: The Time is Now -- The Twins Should Call Up Zack Granite   
    By now you’ve probably heard that the Minnesota Twins have an outfielder who is setting the world on fire down at Triple-A. His name is Zack Granite, and he’s a jack-of-all-trades as far as outfield defense is concerned, and he’s hitting a robust .371/.423/.516 in 54 games between Triple-A Rochester (49 games) and High-A Fort Myers (five games).
     
    He’s not just stellar in the batter’s box, but he’s stolen 119 bases over five season in the Twins system at a success rate of 73.4 percent. The success rate is a little lower than one might like, but he’s gotten increasingly better in recent years, stealing 73 bases over the last season-and-a-half at a success rate of 79.3 percent. Depending on the run environment in the big leagues year-to-year, a good success rate is somewhere in the vicinity of 75 percent, so he checks off that box.
     
    But this year’s offensive outburst is way, way out of character for the 24-year-old outfielder. That’s even more true when considering he was hitting just .259/.303/.339 coming into June. That’s right; in 27 games this month, Granite is hitting an unheard of .486/.541/.697 with 11 doubles, three triples, two home runs and 13 walks against 15 strikeouts. His BABIP for the month is an unconscious .554! He’s got more than one hit in 20 of the 27 games he’s played in this month.
     
    But part of bringing Granite up now is to capitalize on that hot stretch. He’s already on the 40-man roster, basically is who he is and isn’t likely to be ruined by being “rushed” as a player who’ll turn 25 by season’s end.
     
    He can also help the Twins right now.
     
    Kennys Vargas is hitting just .234/.264/.426, and as a bat-first — or perhaps more accurately, bat-only — player with limited access to playing time, he’s really not helping the team that much. His role is even further diminished when considering Eduardo Escobar has been so hot lately that he’s taken more playing time at third base, with Miguel Sano seeing more time at DH. Even if that doesn’t continue, it still probably means more of Escobar at DH or shortstop, and a shuffle which trickles down to less time for Vargas on the field.
     
    Read the rest of this article on ZoneCoverage.com here.
  6. Like
    HitInAPinch reacted to Ted Schwerzler for a blog entry, Buxton Tweaks Making The Difference   
    NOTE: View the images and breakdowns included in this article at it's original source here.
     
    The date is April 20, 2017, and Byron Buxton has just played in his 15th game for the Minnesota Twins this season. To show for his efforts, he's compiled a .082/.135/.122 slash line across 49 at bats, and nothing looks to be going right for the one-time uber-prospect. If there was a rock bottom for the Georgia native in the early going this season, that was most definitely it. Since however, the Twins centerfielder has turned a corner, and the results are worth taking note of.
     
    Over the course of the 2017 slate to date, it's been noted that Buxton would remain an asset given his exceptional centerfield defense. He covers ground at an elite level, and is among the best in the game at taking away would be run producing plays. What was always the question, is how long the Twins would have to punt on him in the lineup, solely to keep his glove in the outfield. Although just a small sample size, the time he's spent on the field from April 21 onwards suggests we may be seeing him turn a corner.
    As of May 10, Buxton has played 12 games for the Twins since April 21. He owns a .333/.442/.500 slash line, while contributing a double, triple, and home run. After fanning 24 times and drawing just two walks in his first 15 games, he's compiled a very solid 9/7 K/BB ratio since. Buxton has halved his K% (46.2% down to 20.9% split between both samples), and he's multiplied a 4.3 LD% ten-fold (41.7 LD% since 4/21). There's virtually no numerical value that doesn't suggest a massive turnaround for the Twins young outfielder. Maybe most promising of all, the process at the plate appears to be driving the results.
     
    Early on, Buxton was swinging through pitches all over the zone, but he was chasing outside of it an incredible amount as well. Per Baseball Savant, Buxton swung through 22 (of 204 pitches seen) balls outside of the zone prior to April 21. Fast forwarding through his most recent 12 games, he's swung and missed at just eight (of 179 pitches seen) balls out of the zone. He's holding back on inside pitches, and darting out at breaking balls away much less.
     
    Also, when making contact, we can visibly see just how much better the bat is meeting the ball. Buxton is swinging through the centerpoint of the ball more often, allowing a higher percentage of strong contact.
     
    It's also important to note that most of what Buxton has changed has been a result of his own doing. Opposing pitchers haven't attacked him too incredibly different of late either. The book on him has been to bust him in, as well as getting him to flail away. Having seen a high portion of balls down and away, Buxton is seeing less pitches over the middle of the plate. Generally a pull hitter, pitchers have tried to neutralize his tendency by forcing him to deal with the outside pitch.
     
    Looking at swings roughly a month a part, there's some slight tweaks happening there as well. Facing the White Sox on April 7. Stepping into the box, it appears that Buxton has more of a straight forward plan lef. There's a slight openness to it, but his stance is squared off by definition. The bat is cocked back with his hands flexed. Looking at his process on May 9, the stance has an open plant leg, with hands resting a bit more upright and the bat head remaining high.
    Buxton's first movement is to drop his hands and create somewhat of an upward lean with his torso. In the image from May 9, his hands stay cocked, while the upper body hovers still in an upright position.
    While pitch locations differ, the follow through follows a drastically different path as well. In the first image, Buxton's ankle rollover is drastic, his head has pulled off the pitch, and his high finish has him looking anywhere but at the ball. When making contact on May 9, Buxton stares down at his swing path, has his head at the point of contact, and keeps a strong plant leg without any real significant rollover.
     
    Sure, it's fair to suggest that putting any instances in a vacuum will result in a desirable outcome. What seems to be at play here, as a whole, is a guy that's made some minor tweaks and is seeing some major results. I still don't think that Byron Buxton is a .300 hitter at the big league level, but expecting him to push for .280 with power is a pretty safe bet in my eyes. This is a young hitter still trying to find his way, but if these changes continue to hold up, it won't take until September 2017 for them to be on full display.
     
    For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  7. Like
    HitInAPinch reacted to Matt Johnson for a blog entry, The Twins Almanac for April 23-29   
    April 23, 1961
    Pitcher Kralick Delivers Twins' Only RBI


     
    In the final game of the Twins' first ever home series, Jack Kralick pitched a complete game, four-hit shutout in a 1-0 Twins win versus the expansion Senators. Kralick's bat provided the Twins' only run, driving in Billy Gardner with a fifth-inning single. With the win the Twins improved to 7-2 on the season.
     

    April 23, 1980
    Landreaux Begins Record Hit Streak


     
    Ken Landreaux began a 31-game hitting streak by breaking up Angel pitcher Bruce Kison's no-hitter with a one-out double in the ninth. California held on to win 17-0. So it goes.
     

    April 24, 1996
    5 RBI Game for Both Molitor and Myers


     
    Paul Molitor was responsible for 10 of the record 24 runs the Twins scored in a 24-11 win at Tiger Stadium. He went 2-for-5 with a walk, five RBI and five runs scored (he reached on two fielder’s choices). Catcher Greg Myers went 5-for-6 with five RBI and three runs scored.
     
    The Twins jumped out to a 6-1 lead after two innings, but had used three pitchers by the end of the third and trailed 10-7 at the end of four innings. But they kept adding on, outscoring the Tigers 17-1 over the final five innings. They scored in every inning but the fourth, never scoring more than five runs in an inning, which they did in the eighth.
     

    April 25, 1883
    Birthdate of Russ Ford


     
    Minneapolis Central alumnus and seven-year major leaguer Russ Ford was born 134 years ago in Brandon, Manitoba. The Fords immigrated to the United States when Russell was three years old, eventually settling in Minneapolis. Ford won 99 major league games for the New York Highlanders/Yankees, and Buffalo Buffeds/Blues between 1909-1915.
     
    Read the SABR Biography Project’s entry on Ford: http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/c15d8d78
     

    April 25, 1885
    Birthdate of Hack Spencer


     
    Hack Spencer was born 132 years ago in St. Cloud. He grew up in the Minneapolis area. Spencer made his one and only major league appearance for the St. Louis Browns on April 18, 1912, allowing two runs on two hits in the final 1.2 innings of a 7-12 loss to the Chicago White Sox.
    Read the SABR Biography Project’s entry on Spencer: http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/5e9d0d43
     

    April 25, 1961
    Fred Bruckbauer Has Career ERA of Infinity


     
    With the Twins down 7-2 after three in KC, 22-year-old St. Mary's High School (Sleepy Eye, MN) graduate Fred Bruckbauer made his major league debut. Bruckbauer gave up three runs on three hits and a walk before being pulled without recording an out.
     
    Unfortunately, this was Bruckbauer’s one and only big league appearance. Since he never recorded an out, his ERA is infinity. The Twins went on to lose the game 20-2.
     

    April 25, 1989
    Paul Molitor Has 2-HR Game vs. Twins


     
    1974 Cretin High School graduate and Golden Gophers legend Paul Molitor hit Twins starter Roy Smith’s second pitch of the game out of the park. He also homered on Twins reliever German Gonzalez’s first pitch of the eighth inning. Milwaukee won 10-4. It was Brewers pitcher Bryan Clutterbuck’s first of two major league wins.
     

    April 26, 1986
    Dome Deflates, Twins Collapse


     
    The Twins led the California Angels 5-1 in the bottom of the eighth on a stormy night in Minneapolis when a tear caused the Metrodome roof to deflate. The L.A. Times described the scene, with “80-m.p.h. winds tearing holes in the fiberglass dome and whipping through the stadium, sending speakers and light standards swaying on their cables like yo-yos in a wind tunnel… Above the third base line, a geyser of water shot through a drainage hole in the roof, dousing a handful of spectators.” The roof was re-inflated and, remarkably, the game was only delayed nine minutes. The Twins went on to score once more in the eighth, with Mickey Hatcher driving in Steve Lombardozzi with a sacrifice fly.
     
    With a 6-1 lead in the ninth, starting pitcher Frank Viola gave up a leadoff double to Brian Downing and a two-run home run to George Hendrick before being relieved by closer Ron Davis with the Twins still up 6-3. Davis gave up a single and two-run home run to the first two men he faced. With one out he walked pinch-hitter Reggie Jackson, representing the tying run. After striking out Bobby Grich for the second out, Ron Davis gave up a go-ahead, two-run homer to Wally Joyner, who had made his major league debut less than three weeks earlier. Tom Brunansky, Roy Smalley and Gary Gaetti went down in order in the bottom of the ninth and the Twins lost 7-6.
     

    April 27, 1903



    Bender Pitches First CG Shutout


     
    After an impressive debut in which he pitched six innings in relief for a victory over Boston’s Cy Young, 19-year-old Crow Wing County native Charles “Chief” Bender pitched his first complete-game shutout, defeating New York Highlanders and future-Hall of Famer Clark Griffith. Bender would win 17 games his rookie season.
     
    Griffith, of course, went on to own the Washington Senators until his death in 1955 when his son Calvin took over. Calvin, of course, moved the Senators to Minnesota in 1961.
     
    Bender would win 212 major league games during his 16-year major league career. He became the first Minnesotan inducted to the Hall of Fame in 1953.
     

    April 27, 1965
    Camilo Pascual Hits Second Grand Slam


     
    Camilo Pascual allowed just one run on two hits in an 11-1 Twins win on the road in Cleveland. With the Twins already leading 3-0 with two out in the first inning, Pascual hit his second career grand slam, and the only grand slam by a pitcher in Twins history.
     
    Pascual hit his first grand slam in the Senators’ final season in Washington, on August 14, 1960 in a 5-4 win in the first game of a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium. The Senators won the second game 6-3 in 15 innings.
     

    April 27, 1969
    Killebrew’s 400th Home Run


     
    Harmon Killebrew hit his 400th career home run with two out in the top of the first inning of an afternoon game in Chicago. Down a run in the seventh, Rod Carew hit a two-run homer and pitcher Dave Boswell and the Twins went on to win 4-3.
     
    This was a fun boxscore to read. The top of the Twins lineup that day went Tovar, Carew, Killebrew, Oliva, Alison.
     
    All told, Killebrew hit 573 home runs, fifth-most in baseball history at the time he retired, and still 11th all-time as of 2016. He hit 84 home runs as a member of the Washington Senators, 14 as a Kansas City Royal in 1975, and 475 in a Twins uniform.
     

    April 27, 1994
    Scott Erickson No-Hitter


     
    Scott Erickson pitched the first no-hitter in Metrodome history, the third in Twins history, and the first since Dean Chance threw one in the second game of a doubleheader in Cleveland in 1967. Erickson, who had led the American League with 20 wins and finished second in Cy Young voting in 1991, was coming off a ‘93 season in which he led the league with 19 losses and 266 hits allowed.
     
    The Twins scored in each of the first four innings to lead the Milwaukee Brewers 5-0. Milwaukee’s first baserunner, John Jaha, reached on a hit-by-pitch leading off the sixth. With two out in the ninth, Erickson walked two batters before getting the dangerous Greg Vaughn to fly out to Alex Cole in left. Erickson struck out five Brewers, including the DH Greg Vaughn twice and former Twins catcher Brian Harper. Kirby Puckett went 4-for-5 with an RBI.
     

    April 28, 1985
    Mickey Hatcher Ties Tony O.’s Consecutive Hits Record


     
    Mickey Hatcher went 4-for-5 in a 10-1 Twins win over Oakland at the Metrodome. Having gone 5-for-5 the previous day, Hatcher’s four hits tied Tony Oliva’s 1967 team record of nine consecutive hits. Todd Walker matched the feat on July 28, 1998.
     

    April 28, 2010
    Hughes Homers in First MLB At-Bat


     
    Leading off the top of the third Luke Hughes lifted Max Scherzer’s 2-2 pitch to right for an opposite field home run. It was his first major league at-bat.
     
    Hughes had originally come up to bat in the second when Delmon Young was thrown out trying to steal third for the third out of the inning.
     
    The Tigers would come back to win the game 11-6.
     
    Six Twins have homered in their first major league at-bat: Rick Renick, Dave McKay, Gary Gaetti, Andre David, Hughes and Eddie Rosario. Between August 26 and September 20, 1981, Kent Hrbek, Tim Laudner and Gary Gaetti each homered in their first major league game.
     

    April 29, 1962
    Twins Hit Six Solo Home Runs


     
    The Twins hit six solo home runs in game two of a doubleheader in Cleveland. Lenny Green, Don Mincher, Zoilo Versalles, and Bill Tuttle hit one each, and Johnny Goryl hit two. The Twins scored in each inning but the third and ninth, and won the game 7-3.
     
    The Twins did not hit a home run in game one, which they won 8-4.
     
    Keep in touch with @TwinsAlmanac on Twitter.
  8. Like
    HitInAPinch reacted to Matt Johnson for a blog entry, The Twins Almanac for April 16-22   
    April 16, 1961
    First Grand Slam in Twins History


     
    Bob Allison hit the first grand slam in Twins history in the top of the first in the first game of a doubleheader in Baltimore. The Orioles’ Chuck Estrada, who had tied for the league lead with 18 wins the previous season and would win 15 in 1961, walked three straight to start the game, filling the bases for the cleanup hitter Allison. After giving up a double to Jim Lemon, Estrada was pulled having given up four runs without recording an out. Relief pitcher John Papa didn’t fare much better, issuing two two-out bases loaded walks before Dick Hall, the third pitcher used by Baltimore in the six-run first, came on to get the final out.
     
    Bob Allison added a three-run home run in the sixth, giving him seven RBI for the game. The Twins won 10-5.
     
    Bob Allison’s grand slam was historic in three ways. Obviously it was significant in that it was the first in Twins history. Secondly, Allison would go on to hit three grand slams in 1961, still tied for the team record with Rod Carew (1976), Kent Hrbek (‘85), Kirby Puckett (‘92), and Torii Hunter (‘07). Thirdly, it was the first of eight grand slams that the Twins would hit during their inaugural 1961 season. That’s still a team record. The other Twins to hit grand slams in ‘61 were Dan Dobbek, Harmon Killebrew, Julio Becquer (a pinch-hit walk-off grand slam on the fourth of July), Ted Lepcio, and Bill Tuttle.
     
    The Twins held a 4-2 lead going into the bottom of the 9th of the second game of the doubleheader. With one out and the bases loaded, Baltimore crept to within one on an RBI groundout. Then, with two down, runners on second and third and future-Hall of Fame manager Whitey Herzog pinch-hitting for future-Hall of Fame knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm, Twins pitcher Ray Moore unleashed a wild pitch, allowing Baltimore to tie the game 4-4.
     
    In the top of the 11th, however, Zoilo Versalles hit a two-run home run, and Chuck Stobbs slammed the door in the bottom of the inning.
     




     

    April 17, 2009
    Kubel Completes Cycle with Grand Slam


     
    Down 4-9 to the Angels in the eighth at home in the Dome, the Twins scored three on RBI hits by Mike Redmond and Denard Span. After Brendan Harris struck out looking for the second out, the Angels, still leading by two, intentionally walked Justin Morneau to load the bases for Jason Kubel, who had already gone 3-for-4 with an RBI and run scored and was a home run shy the cycle. Kubel hit the 0-1 pitch out of the park, completing the Twins’ seven-run eighth inning rally. Joe Nathan retired the Angels in order in the top of the ninth for the save and an 11-9 Twins win. Two previous players had completed the cycle with a grand slam, both shortstops. Tony Lazzeri in 1932, and Miguel Tejada in 2001.
     




     

    April 17, 2010
    Joe Mauer Receives MVP Award


     
    Joe Mauer receives the 2009 American League Most Valuable Player Award.
     
    After missing the first 22 games of the 2009 season with a lower back injury, Joe homered on his first swing back from the disabled list. He went on to hit 11 home runs and drive in 32 runs in the month of May. He would go on to set career bests with 28 homers and 96 RBI, and win his third AL batting title, setting a major league record for highest batting average by a catcher, .365.
     
    The Twins won the Central Division in ‘09 with a dramatic 12th inning walk-off win in Game 163 vs. Detroit, but were swept by the Yankees in the first round of the playoffs.
     

    April 17, 2014
    Twins Draws 8 Walks in 8th


     
    The Twins and the Blue Jays played two cold ones on April 17 after having been snowed out the previous night. The Twins won game 1 by a score of 7-0. The gametime temperature of 31 degrees was a record for a Twins home game. The temperature was up to 42 for the start of game 2. The Twins trailed 3-5 going into the bottom of the eighth when they would score four runs before their first hit, and ultimately score six runs on just one hit. Blue Jays pitcher Steve Delebar walked Josmil Pinto and Chris Hermann to start the inning. Eduardo Nunez then dropped down a successful sacrifice bunt. In retrospect the sacrifice was completely unnecessary, as Sergio Santos (replacing Delebar) and J.A. Happ combined to walk the next five Twins batters. Three runs scored on Santos wild pitches, and a fourth run scored when Happ walked Chris Colabello with the bases loaded. Finally, after having already scored four runs, the Twins got their first hit of the inning, a two-run Jason Kubel single to right. Josmil Pinto then walked for the second time in the inning before the Blue Jays finally recorded the final two outs of the inning. Glen Perkins sat down the Jays in order in the ninth, securing a 9-5 Twins victory.
     

    April 18, 1912
    Minnesota Native Makes Only MLB Appearance


     
    Hack Spencer, who was born in St. Cloud and grew up in the Minneapolis area, makes his one and only major league appearance, allowing two runs on two hits in the final 1.2 innings of a 7-12 loss to the Chicago White Sox.
     
    The Browns would finish the season 53-101. The only American League team worse than the Browns in 1912 was the New York Highlanders. The Highlanders would become the Yankees in 1913 and go on to win 27 World Series, including at least two in each decade from 1920 to 2010, except for the '80s in which they did not win a World Series. The Yankees have not won a World Series in the current decade, if that makes anyone feel better.
     




     

    April 19
    Happy 57th Birthday to Frank Viola


     
    It’s the birthday of 3x All-Star pitcher Frank Viola, born in East Meadow, New York in 1960. The Twins drafted Viola in the second round in 1981 out of St. John’s University in Queens, New York. Viola was the Most Valuable Player of the 1987 World Series, and was an All-Star and Cy Young Award winner the following season when he won a major league-leading 24 games. On July 31st, 1989, the Twins traded Viola to the New York Mets for pitchers Rick Aguilera, Kevin Tapani, David West, Tim Drummond, and Jack Savage. As a Met, Viola was an NL All-Star in 1990 and ‘91, finishing third in NL Cy Young balloting in 1990. Viola was inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame with Carl Pohlad in 2005.
     




     

    April 19
    Happy 34th Birthday to Joe Mauer


     
    It’s the birthday of 2001 Cretin-Derham Hall graduate and #1 overall major league draft choice, 3x American League batting champ, 2009 Most Valuable Player, and 6x All-Star Joseph Patrick Mauer, born in St. Paul in 1983.
     
    No other American League catcher has ever won a batting title. The last National League catcher to win a batting title was 1986 Hall of Fame inductee Ernie Lombardi in 1942. Mauer’s .365 average in 2009 is the best by a catcher in major league history.
     

    April 19, 1988
    Joe Niekro Called for 3 Balks


     
    After the Yankees’ Rickey Henderson led off the game with a single to center, Joe Niekro was called for back-to-back balks, advancing Henderson to second and to third. Henderson scored on a Don Mattingly double. Henderson came up again in the second inning, this time hitting a two-RBI single to left. Niekro was promptly called for his third balk of the game, moving Henderson up to second. After giving up a two-run home run to Mike Pagliarulo to make it 7-0 Yankees in the second, Niekro was replaced by Juan Berenguer. Berenguer, Keith Atherton and Jeff Reardon did not allow a run the rest of the game. Trailing 3-7 in the bottom of the ninth, the Twins scored three runs on RBI hits by Kirby Puckett and Tom Brunansky before Hrbek lined out to first, ending the game with the tying runner, Mark Davidson, stranded on third.
     




     

    April 20, 1903
    Chief Bender Makes MLB Debut


     
    19-year-old Crow Wing County native Charles “Chief” Bender makes his major league debut with the Philadelphia Athletics, pitching six innings in relief, earning the victory over the Boston Americans’ Cy Young. Seven days later he earned his first complete-game shutout vs. the New York Highlanders and Hall of Fame pitcher Clark Griffith. Griffith, of course, went on to own the Washington Senators until his death in 1955 when his son Calvin took over. Calvin, of course, moved the Senators to Minnesota in 1961.
     
    Bender would go on to win 212 games over 16 seasons. He became the first Minnesotan inducted to the Hall of Fame in 1953.
     

    April 21, 1961
    Twins First Home Opener


     
    Having started their inaugural season 5-1, the Twins came home to Bloomington to play the expansion Washington Senators. The teams were tied 3-3 when the Senators scored two off of Ray Moore in the top of the ninth to win 5-3. Only 24,606 fans attended the game, 6,000 short of a sell-out despite a gametime temperature of 63 degrees.
     




     

    April 21, 1985
    John Butcher Pitches 1hr 55min CG Shutout


     
    The Twins had lost nine in a row, falling to 2-9 on the season, entering the Sunday series finale in Oakland when Twins pitcher John Butcher hurled a remarkable complete game shutout. Butcher allowed three hits, but faced just 28 batters, one over the minimum. He threw just 81 pitches and the game was over in one hour and 55 minutes. Leadoff hitter Kirby Puckett went 3-for-5, driving in both Twins runs in the 2-0 victory. It was the beginning of a 10-game Twins winning streak.
     

    April 21, 2007



    19th Straight Steal to Start Season


     
    In the 17th game of the season, Alexi Casilla stole second base for the Twins' 19th consecutive successful steal attempt to start the season. Torii Hunter was caught stealing in the eighth to end the streak. With a 7-5 lead in Kansas City, Joe Nathan pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth, with all three outs coming on called third strikes.
     

    April 21, 2012
    Willingham Begins Twins Career with 15-Game Hit Streak



    First-year Twin Josh Willingham led off the top of the ninth in Tampa Bay with a line drive single to center, extending his season-opening hit streak to 15 games. Willingham would score on a Ryan Doumit sac fly, but the Twins lost 4-1. Willingham’s streak was the longest to begin a Twins career, and tied Kirby Puckett’s 1994 streak for the longest by a Twin to begin a season.
     

    April 22, 1961
    Twins' First Walk-Off Win



    In game two of their first ever home series, the Twins and expansion Senators played to a 4-4 tie through nine. In the bottom of the 10th, with the bases loaded and one away, Zoilo Versalles gave the Twins their first ever walk-off win, driving in Earl Battey with a sacrifice fly to center. The freshly minted Twins improved to 6-2 on the season.
     




     

    April 22, 1980
    89 degrees for 1980 Home Opener


     
    Geoff Zahn pitched a complete game for an 8-1 Twins win in the 1980 home opener. The gametime temperature in Bloomington was a balmy 89 degrees. Hosken Powell, Ron Jackson and Roy Smalley each homered.
     

    April 22, 1988
    Twins Day Goes From Bad to Worse


     
    Bert Blyleven gave up seven runs on nine hits and four hit batters in 4 2/3 innings in an 11-6 loss to the Cleveland ballclub at the Metrodome. Four of those runs came on a Cory Snyder grand slam. Later in the game, Joe Carter also hit a grand slam off of Keith Atherton. To add insult to injury, after the game the Twins traded Tom Brunansky to the Cardinals in exchange for clubhouse cancer Tommy Herr.
     
     
    Keep in touch with @TwinsAlmanac on Twitter, and on Facebook.
  9. Like
    HitInAPinch reacted to Ted Schwerzler for a blog entry, Twins Future Is Within Two Moves   
    The Minnesota Twins recently announced that 2015 6th overall pick Tyler Jay was headed to the bullpen full time. While that obviously saps the value from the pick, it's a clear indication that Derek Falvey and Thad Levine are all for positioning their young talent to produce the best possible return on the most ideal timeline. Given the state of the Twins, the organization actually has a lot of boxes checked off thanks to that young talent.
     
    With Jay entering the fold, Minnesota now has a group of pen arms that could take what has been a poor relief corps, to the top in pretty short order. Building a stable of relief options that include Jay, J.T. Chargois, Nick Burdi, Mason Melotakis, Jake Reed, Tyler Duffey, and Taylor Rogers is a pretty great scenario to be in. Given the reality that all of them are in the cards for the 2017 season, their impact can be felt in relatively short order.
     
    Then, moving to the offensive side of things, the new braintrust can look at a lineup littered with relatively young and projectable talent. The group consists of a former top prospect in Byron Buxton, a hulking slugger in Miguel Sano, a solid do-everything type in Max Kepler, and a bunch of other talent in the form of Brian Dozier, Jorge Polanco, ByungHo Park, Jason Castro and Eddie Rosario. Sure, it still remains to be seen whether or not Polanco and Dozier can realistically coexist, but trading the latter almost certainly brings another nice piece into the fold.
     
    From this perspective, it's pretty easy to see that the Twins have a strong foundation when it comes to both their offensive firepower and the relief corps. Sure, not all of them are in their prime, and there's a handful of development still to take place. What's a pretty safe bet however, is that the intersection of peak performance should be relatively similar among the entire group.
     
    That brings us to the elephant in the room, and it's a big one. Tell me if you've heard this before, a big league club needs starting pitching. On that front, the Twins really only have Jose Berrios, Adalberto Mejia, and Kyle Gibson. It's probably fair to reason that Fernando Romero could factor into the big league rotation within the next two seasons, and Stephen Gonsalves certainly looks like an MLB arm. If there's something this group is lacking, it's definitely void of a sure thing.
     
    Given a relatively solidified bullpen and offense, splurging on an ace, or number two starting pitcher should be in the cards for the Twins. Whether scouring the free agent market as money is plentiful over the next two offseasons, or dealing from a position of wealth in order to recoup that top arm, Minnesota must commit to grabbing two pitchers.
     
    In the season ahead, the development of the youth explained above will be nearly as intriguing of a storyline as the results themselves. If the breakouts come from the pen, and the offense sees it's youth round into the solid everyday types it should be littered with, then Falvey and Levine can absolutely envision a 25 man that's not too far away. Given the state of the AL Central, that's a really promising notion.
     
    It's always going to be a pretty big ask to suggest a big league team go and get top tier pitching. If there's a club positioned well to overextended, or at least pull out all of the stops, it might be the Minnesota Twins. With two third of the roster categories complete thanks to internal help, looking at the best external options to complete the third is a very realistic possibility.
     
    Regardless of how 2017 finishes for the Twins, a strong development arc could put them a pitcher or two away from being something really special for quite some time.
     
    For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  10. Like
    HitInAPinch reacted to Thrylos for a blog entry, The Twins 40-man roster Part 1: Who should stay and who should go   
    After a historically bad season that resulted in the worst record of the Franchise in its current location, Twins' about to be minted (as soon as Cleveland's season is over) new chief baseball officer, Derek Falvey, will have his hands full in turning this team around. I hope that he has enough flexibility to do a true rebuild. And a true rebuild is to find enough young talented players that will reach their primes together, and then supplemented by star veterans to close holes as necessary, will compete for a long time.
     
    Looking at the Twins' young talent and how their 40-man roster for 2017 should be built, young is an operating word. Here is the current Twins' 40-man roster by age groups: a. Players who will be 26 and younger on 1/1/2017 who should be part of the rebuilt; b. players who will be 28 or older who really do not belong in a rebuilding team, since they will be past their primes when the new Twins' core will reach their primes, and; c. players who are in-between. The 27 year olds:
     
    The listing is alphabetical with birthdays
     
    Andrew Albers 10/6/1985
    James Beresford 1/19/1989
    Jose Berrios 5/27/1994
    Buddy Boshers 5/9/1988
    Byron Buxton 12/18/1993
    Juan Centeno 11/16/1989
    J.T. Chargois 12/3/1990
    Pat Dean 5/25/1989
    Brian Dozier 5/15/1987
    Tyler Duffey 12/27/1990
    Eduardo Escobar 1/5/1989
    Kyle Gibson 10/23/1987
    Robbie Grossman 9/16/1989
    Phil Hughes 6/24/1986 (60-day DL)
    Max Kepler 2/10/1993
    Brandon Kintzler 8/1/1984
    Yorman Landa 6/11/1994
    Pat Light 3/29/1991
    Joe Mauer 4/19/1983
    Trevor May 9/23/1989
    Adalberto Mejia 6/20/1993
    Mason Melotakis 6/28/1991
    Tommy Milone 2/16/1987
    John Ryan Murphy 5/13/1991
    Ryan O'Rourke 4/30/1988
    Byungho Park 7/10/1986
    Glen Perkins 3/2/1983 (60-day DL)
    Trevor Plouffe 6/15/1986
    Ryan Pressly 12/15/1988
    Jorge Polanco 7/5/1993
    Taylor Rogers 12/17/1990
    Eddie Rosario 9/28/1991
    Randy Rosario 5/18/1994
    Ervin Santana 12/12/1982
    Hector Santiago 12/16/1987
    Miguel Sano 5/11/1993
    Logan Schafer 9/8/1986
    Kurt Suzuki 10/4/1983
    Michael Tonkin 11/19/1989
    Kennys Vargas 8/1/1990
    Adam Walker 10/18/1991
    Alex Wimmers 11/1/1988
     
     
    These 42 players sorted in the 3 age groups:
     
    Young enough:
     
    Jose Berrios 5/27/1994
    Byron Buxton 12/18/1993
    J.T. Chargois 12/3/1990
    Tyler Duffey 12/27/1990
    Max Kepler 2/10/1993
    Yorman Landa 6/11/1994
    Pat Light 3/29/1991
    Adalberto Mejia 6/20/1993
    Mason Melotakis 6/28/1991
    John Ryan Murphy 5/13/1991
    Jorge Polanco 7/5/1993
    Taylor Rogers 12/17/1990
    Eddie Rosario 9/28/1991
    Randy Rosario 5/18/1994
    Miguel Sano 5/11/1993
    Kennys Vargas 8/1/1990
    Adam Walker 10/18/1991
     
    Too old:
     
    Andrew Albers 10/6/1985
    Buddy Boshers 5/9/1988
    Brian Dozier 5/15/1987
    Kyle Gibson 10/23/1987
    Phil Hughes 6/24/86
    Brandon Kintzler 8/1/1984
    Joe Mauer 4/19/1983
    Tommy Milone 2/16/1987
    Ryan O'Rourke 4/30/1988
    Byungho Park 7/10/1986
    Glen Perkins 3/2/83
    Trevor Plouffe 6/15/1986
    Ryan Pressly 12/15/1988
    Ervin Santana 12/12/1982
    Hector Santiago 12/16/1987
    Logan Schafer 9/8/1986
    Kurt Suzuki 10/4/1983
    Alex Wimmers 11/1/1988
     
    In between:
     
    James Beresford 1/19/1989
    Juan Centeno 11/16/1989
    Pat Dean 5/25/1989
    Eduardo Escobar 1/5/1989
    Robbie Grossman 9/16/1989
    Trevor May 9/23/1989
    Michael Tonkin 11/19/1989
     
     
    Let's look at the in between and see who could potentially offer value:
     
    James Beresford 1/19/1989
    Juan Centeno 11/16/1989
    Pat Dean 5/25/1989
    Eduardo Escobar 1/5/1989
    Robbie Grossman 9/16/1989
    Trevor May 9/23/1989
    Michael Tonkin 11/19/1989
     
    Centeno, Escobar, and May can provide some value. Centeno who might be the weakest of the 3, has options, so he does not preclude the team . So they stay. Beresford, Dean, Grossman, and Tonkin are designated for assignment.
     
    New Keeper list (with positions) :
     
    Jose Berrios 5/27/1994 (SP)
    Byron Buxton 12/18/1993 (CF)
    Juan Centeno 11/16/1989 ©
    J.T. Chargois 12/3/1990 (RP)
    Tyler Duffey 12/27/1990 (RP)
    Eduardo Escobar 1/5/1989 (IF)
    Max Kepler 2/10/1993 (RF)
    Yorman Landa 6/11/1994 (RP)
    Pat Light 3/29/1991 (RP)
    Trevor May 9/23/1989 (SP)
    Adalberto Mejia 6/20/1993 (SP)
    Mason Melotakis 6/28/1991 (RP)
    John Ryan Murphy 5/13/1991 ©
    Jorge Polanco 7/5/1993 (SS)
    Taylor Rogers 12/17/1990 (RP)
    Eddie Rosario 9/28/1991 (LF)
    Randy Rosario 5/18/1994 (RP)
    Miguel Sano 5/11/1993 (3B)
    Kennys Vargas 8/1/1990 (1B)
    Adam Walker 10/18/1991 (OF/DH)
     
    Up to 20 total and most positions of the diamond taken care off.
     
    Let's have a close look to the ones who are too old to belong to a rebuilding team, look into their contract situation, and add potential value to a trade partner:
     
    Andrew Albers 10/6/1985 - no value
    Buddy Boshers 5/9/1988 - maybe some value, one option left
    Brian Dozier 5/15/1987 - signed until 2018, $15M owed, career season, strong value
    Kyle Gibson 10/23/1987 - arbitration eligible, some value
    Phil Hughes 6/24/1986 - signed until 2019, $39.6M owed, major surgery
    Brandon Kintzler 8/1/1984 - arbitration eligible, some value
    Joe Mauer 4/19/1983 - signed until 2018, $46M owed, declining
    Tommy Milone 2/16/1987 - abitration eligible, no value
    Ryan O'Rourke 4/30/1988 - no value
    Byungho Park 7/10/1986 - signed until 2019, $9.3M owed, major investment
    Glen Perkins 3/2/1983 - signed until 2017, $7.2M owed
    Trevor Plouffe 6/15/1986 - arbitration eligible, some value
    Ryan Pressly 12/15/1988 - arbitration eligible, some value
    Ervin Santana 12/12/1982 - signed until 2018 + option, $28M owed, close to career season, strong value
    Hector Santiago 12/16/1987 - arbitration eligible, medium value
    Logan Schafer 9/8/1986 - no value
    Kurt Suzuki 10/4/1983 - free agent
    Alex Wimmers 11/1/1988 - no value
     
    The ones who do not have value, should go. Suzuki will depart as a free agent, Albers, O'Rourke, Schafer, and Wimmers are designated for assignment, Milone is not offered arbitration. The list trims to:
     
     
    Buddy Boshers 5/9/1988 - maybe some value, one option left
    Brian Dozier 5/15/1987 - signed until 2018, $15M owed, career season, strong value
    Kyle Gibson 10/23/1987 - arbitration eligible, some value
    Phil Hughes 6/24/1986 - signed until 2019, $39.6M owed, major surgery
    Brandon Kintzler 8/1/1984 - arbitration eligible, some value
    Joe Mauer 4/19/1983 - signed until 2018, $46M owed, declining
    Byungho Park 7/10/1986 - signed until 2019, $9.3M owed, major investment
    Glen Perkins 3/2/1983 - signed until 2017, $7.2M owed, might not pitch again
    Trevor Plouffe 6/15/1986 - arbitration eligible, some value
    Ryan Pressly 12/15/1988 - arbitration eligible, some value
    Ervin Santana 12/12/1982 - signed until 2018 + option, $28M owed, close to career season, strong value
    Hector Santiago 12/16/1987 - arbitration eligible, medium value
     
    The 3 players with most value, Ervin Santana, Brian Dozier, and Hector Santiago should be traded, and the Twins will receive value back, as there will be takers. The remaining players are in two lists: the arbitration-eligible, and team control players with some value, and the under contract with major questionmarks. The players in those 2 lists represent 2 opposite sides of the same coin
     
    The arbitration, and team control eligible players:
     
    Buddy Boshers 5/9/1988 - maybe some value, one option left
    Kyle Gibson 10/23/1987 - arbitration eligible, some value
    Brandon Kintzler 8/1/1984 - arbitration eligible, some value
    Trevor Plouffe 6/15/1986 - arbitration eligible, some value
    Ryan Pressly 12/15/1988 - arbitration eligible, some value
     
    The Twins should try to trade these players and package them with Dozier, Santana, and Santiago to receive better value. If no team values them enough to trade for them, the Twins should let them go. So trade or non-tendering (of DFA in Bosher's situation,) all 5 will not be Twins in 2017.
     
    Phil Hughes 6/24/1986 - signed until 2019, $39.6M owed, major surgery
    Joe Mauer 4/19/1983 - signed until 2018, $46M owed, declining
    Byungho Park 7/10/1986 - signed until 2019, $9.3M owed,+ $13M investment
    Glen Perkins 3/2/1983 - signed until 2017, $7.2M owed, might not pitch again
     
    The Twins are stuck with these 4 players. These contracts and their injury or aging situations make them undesirable for any team. The best case scenario for the Twins is that they all return healthy in 2017, start the season with the team and build enough value to be tradeable during the season. Perkins will likely not be ready and the Twins have the luxury to add him to the 60-day DL in the beginning of the reason and bring him back slowly if healthy though a series of minor league rehabs, so there is some flexibility there.
     
    So from today's 40-man roster, only the following 24 players (and potentially 23 effectively with a Perkins to the 60-day DL (*) senario) will be there this off-season:
     
    Jose Berrios 5/27/1994 (SP)
    Byron Buxton 12/18/1993 (CF)
    Juan Centeno 11/16/1989 ©
    J.T. Chargois 12/3/1990 (RP)
    Tyler Duffey 12/27/1990 (RP)
    Phil Hughes 6/24/1986 (SP)
    Eduardo Escobar 1/5/1989 (IF)
    Max Kepler 2/10/1993 (RF)
    Yorman Landa 6/11/1994 (RP)
    Pat Light 3/29/1991 (RP)
    Joe Mauer 4/19/1983 (1B/DH)
    Trevor May 9/23/1989 (SP)
    Adalberto Mejia 6/20/1993 (SP)
    Mason Melotakis 6/28/1991 (RP)
    John Ryan Murphy 5/13/1991 ©
    Byungho Park 7/10/1986 (1B/DH)
    Glen Perkins 3/2/1983 (RP) (*)
    Jorge Polanco 7/5/1993 (SS)
    Taylor Rogers 12/17/1990 (RP)
    Eddie Rosario 9/28/1991 (LF)
    Randy Rosario 5/18/1994 (RP)
    Miguel Sano 5/11/1993 (3B)
    Kennys Vargas 8/1/1990 (1B/DH)
    Adam Walker 10/18/1991 (OF/DH)
     
    This would allow the Twins 16 spots to add several of their prospects for 2017 auditions as well as a good flexibility to include several trade returns. This list is light on starting pitchers , but the assumption is that they will be targeted in trades and that their number will get supplemented by one or more of the existing prospects in the system. One note. It is obvious that the Twins are heavy on the DH position. Park, Mauer, and Vargas can rotate in the first base and DH role, with the ability to have either both lefties or righties, with Vargas being an switch hitter, in a platoon situation, depending on opposing pitchers. Which means that Adam Walker should be available in a trade at this point.
     
    In the next article of this series will look at who of the existing prospects should move in the 40-man roster to either protect them from the draft or to supplement the MLB-level talent.
  11. Like
    HitInAPinch reacted to stringer bell for a blog entry, Thoughts on Brian Dozier   
    Let me preface what will undoubtedly be a long entry by saying I am a Dozier fan. I have spoken to him at Spring Training a couple of times and like the young man. I believe he has been the Twins MVP for each of the last four seasons (counting this one) and I have no doubt that he is the team's best player at this point. Certainly, he isn't flawless, but the Twins need more players like Brian Dozier, not less.
     
    Over the course of this long, horrible season, Brian Dozier has often been a hot topic of conversation in Twins Territory. He isn't shy about stepping up to a microphone, my wife and daughters think he's good-looking and he's been a regular with the club as their second baseman for four years. If someone casually follows the Twins, they know who Dozier is, so it figures that he would be a topic of conversation.
     
    Let's see why Dozier has been discussed so much and what I think should be the conclusion for the topic: First of all, as the Twins started the season, Dozier couldn't get it going. After a bad second half in 2015, Dozier came out of the gate slow in 2016. Through all of April and May, Dozier barely reached .200 and the signature power was lacking. Had the league figured him out? Was the 28 year old (turned 29 in mid-May) regressing already? Should he be benched or put at the bottom of the order? My thought, then and now, was that it is a long season. If a guy is a good player, he'll come out of a funk. Robbie Cano had a similar stretch at the end of 2014 and beginning of 2015 and Cano might be a Hall-of-Famer. Along for the ride early in the season was the question whether BD was too pull-happy and if he used the whole field, he would be a more consistent and productive hitter. My thought was that Dozier needed to be able to hit the ball with authority when he was pitched away and as the season has progressed, he has accumulated some oppo hits and several to the middle of the field, the key being that he hit the ball hard, not a lazy popup or routine fly ball.
     
    Moving on, Dozier has spent most of the season hitting #1 or #2. Many have thought it wasn't ideal for a guy whose calling card is big power for his position to hit first or second. My thought then was that the Twins simply didn't have a better option. Dozier takes some of the longest at-bats on the team, he's walked a fair amount since arriving in the majors and he's a good base runner who doesn't clog the bases for those behind him. Ideally, he should have hit lower in the order to make a few more of his homers multi-run shots and I think that where Dozier hits in the lineup in 2017 will be a hot controversial topic if he is in a Twins' uniform next year.
     
    As the season rolled toward the All-Star break, the call to sell and rebuild the Twins included Dozier's name prominently. He had some value and the club is/was going nowhere in '16, so cashier him for a prospect or two and let Jorge Polanco handle second base. In June and July, Dozier recovered from his slow start. He put up a great line in June, posting an OPS for the month in excess of 1.000, he slowed in July, hitting only .240 but still putting up an OPS of .824. Trade Dozier at the deadline? Didn't happen and IMHO shouldn't have happened. He hasn't slowed down much since his monster June and with a team-friendly contract and relative youth, his value should only be higher in the off-season or at next year's trade deadline.
     
    Another topic that has emerged is defense. After a truly stout year in 2013, Dozier's defense has been categorized as below average by most metrics. While I don't believe Dozier is elite defensively, my eyes tell me he is in the average range. He makes a few outstanding plays (probably more than any other Twins player) and doesn't get to some balls he should, perhaps because of shifting, maybe because the position of shortstop has been in flux since he became a second baseman, maybe because in three of the last four years, the team never had a shot at contention. I don't know. In checking BB Ref, Dozier lags in zone rating, but is above average in runs saved. I see it as a wash, making Dozier average in the field. I'm waiting for someone to refute this, but in the final analysis, defense probably is an "eyes of the beholder" topic.
     
    Since the All-Star break, Brian Dozier has been en fuego. He's hitting .320, with an OPS of 1.091 and a mlb-leading 21 homers. I guess that puts to rest the "first half player" meme that was circulating among the diehard fans remaining. The question that stems from his performance both the cold April and May and his elite performance since is what to expect going forward. I have turned over in my mind what the most likely trajectory of Dozier's career figures to be. One extreme is Dan Uggla, who like Dozier wasn't highly regarded, got a chance in his mid-twenties and became a star in large part because of his power numbers. Uggla fell off a cliff in his early thirties. An opposing example is Jeff Kent. Kent was an okay player, but not even a full-time regular until he was 29. Starting from age 30, Kent won an MVP, was an All-Star five times with three different teams and posted OPS+ numbers over 119 every year until he was 39. This seems to be the extremes for power-hitting second basemen. Is Dozier going to be productive for most of another decade or is regression going to meet him around his 30th birthday? My answer is that no one knows for sure. It appears to me that Dozier has made adjustments to become a more complete hitter without diminishing his best asset--home run power. IMHO, it makes him a candidate to sustain high-end performance, although the end of 2015 and April-May of this year give a good argument that he could turn into a pumpkin at any time.
     
    In the last few weeks as the tumult in my life has moved Twins baseball on the back burner, I've managed to check the box scores, cluck over the disastrous pitching and watch highlights of games. Dozier has been front and center continuing his power surge. He now projects to exceed 40 homers and if he hits just one more long ball, he will have hit more in a single season than any Twin since Harmon in 1970. 40 homers would be a Top Ten season in franchise history dating back to the Senators who started playing at the turn of the 20th century. Only Harmon and Roy Sievers (once) have ever hit 40 homers in a single season in franchise history. Dozier is projected to score and drive in over 100 runs, also a rare feat, especially for guy who has hit first or second most of the season. He may or may not make 40 homers, 100 RBI or 100 runs, but on such a bad team those numbers stand out big and bold. Although I'm not a big fan of WAR, it does represent a quick and dirty assessment of value and Dozier's 5.6 WAR for this season is in the Top Ten in the league. Because the season has been so bad, I don't think Dozier has gotten the attention he deserves for his huge season. He won't win a Silver Slugger or MVP, he won't win the HR championship or set any other records, so there hasn't been any national coverage, but his overall season and particularly his production since June has been off the charts.
     
    Now in the season's final month, most Twins fans are thinking about the future (with good reason). Augmenting a terrible rotation is Priority One and trading Brian Dozier to get pitching help makes sense, since his value should be at an all-time high. This argument is buttressed by the play of Polanco, who has hit over .300, showing good on-base skills, but a questionable glove at short or third. I believe Jorge Polanco is best suited to second base and I believe adding him for Dozier wouldn't be all bad since Polanco is a switch hitter and wouldn't be prone to long slumps with his swing and approach. However, unless the payoff is monumental, Brian Dozier should be the Twins second baseman next year. He has had a season for the ages despite the wreckage around him, he's only 29 and if the last 100 days are an indication, he might get even better. Finally, he's been a solid citizen off the field. If the club wants somebody as the face of the franchise, they could do worse than Mr. Dozier.
     
    Just a couple more thoughts before I summarize--Dozier has been durable. Since becoming the team's second baseman, he hasn't been disabled and has missed only a handful of games with injuries. Secondly, my observation is that he is a good teammate. He doesn't sulk, cheers for his mates, appears to like their company off the field (loved the State Fair video) and despite having strong religious views, doesn't put that in the face of his teammates or the media.
     
    I have mentioned many of these thoughts in previous threads on the forums of Twins Daily. I find this player to be fascinating, especially in light of his minor league career and low status when drafted. I think Brian Dozier is a fine player who hasn't gotten the appreciation he deserves for this, his best season. I will continue to be a Dozier fan, hopefully as he continues to be a Minnesota Twin, but even if he's traded. In the event that he is traded, I will be pulling for the players acquired in return and hope they make the Twins better.
  12. Like
    HitInAPinch reacted to Squirrel for a blog entry, Posting styles discussing our frustrations about the Twins   
    In light of some posting styles we have been seeing lately on TD, I thought I'd do some venting of my own ... in a blog. The thread that broke this camel's back was this thread, 'It is time to end the insanity.' I've been meaning to address this for a while now, and have here and there in threads when posts become nothing more than venting general frustrations rather than addressing the topic at hand; and redundant threads get started on this same topic of frustration that seem more like rants than opening a new thread to discuss the latest news. Okay, okay ... the general topic of 'This is what's wrong with the Twins' is a topic of discussion ... but we've seen this in several threads already. Obviously there are new salient points that must be addressed, but it is this 'venting' and 'ranting' that becomes a detriment to my and others' enjoyment and participation in the forums.
     
    I've always thought the purpose of the forums on TD is for discussion, critical discussion. Yes, with disagreements and passion, but, nonetheless, critical discussion, with maybe a little humor and/or snark mixed in from time to time, no matter what side you fall on with any given issue. Posters have always been encouraged to start threads to discuss a particular topic, or general topic, or a news item you saw, or a blog you read, or a question you have, or a move that was made/not made, management issues, player issues etc. And yes, those discussions will get emotional and passionate as we all have a vested interest in the outcome of the Twins, and have our own opinions on what should/should not be, and often disagree on the best way forward. And sometimes threads do get a bit meandering and off topic despite our best efforts to try and keep them within loose boundaries. But this recent posting style, such as the OP, in my opinion, really needs to be directed towards the Blogs area on this site. These threads, such as the one I made example of, serve no purpose other than to regurgitate a list of generalized complaints and are not focussed points of discussion and only invite generalized regurgitating of someone else's complaints. The title of this thread 'End the insanity' in and of itself just opens the floor to everyone's complaints and soon we have a morass of unpleasant vomiting to wade through. Yes, we're frustrated and I'm not trying to take that away from anyone, not in the least, because well, it IS frustrating, to no end, at least for me. And I guess we each have our own way of dealing, but the Blogs are there for you to let it all out. You want to vent? Start a blog and vent away. You want to have a legitimate, critical discussion, stick to the forums and structure a thread that leads to that; a post or a thread that has been thought out and isn't some generalized rant that has no real basis in reality other than it's some emotional response, not a genuine reading of facts, to what you think should have happened. Don't just vomit up all your frustration for the rest of us to wade through; that's just lazy. Those are the types of threads and posts that keep me from the forums, not the stances people may take on the Twins in general or specifically. If you don't like a topic, you are free to not read it. If you don't like a particular poster, put them on ignore or skip over their posts. So I find myself more and more throwing my hands up and 'walking away' because threads just become unreadable the more this style continues.
     
    (Edit: I want to add that the thread I used as an example has generated a pretty fair and decent discussion. Many threads and posts of this 'listing of wrongs venting' have not. I'm in no way suggesting we can't be critical of the team and its management ... I mean, come on, look at the team ... I'm suggesting that don't just start a thread or make a post listing all that bothers you. Try to frame things so we can have legitimate discussions without being critical of fellow posters who might have a differing point of view, otherwise, try starting a blog. If you have to end a post or a thread start with '/end rant,' which this one did not, it probably would be better suited for a blog. They are very useful for 'getting it out' of your system. But given the OP of that thread, it was very easy for all of us to think to ourselves, 'Oy, this again?' and either walk away or get defensive or pile on. The following paragraph stands ... for all and everything. Stop the divisive language!)
     
    Another issue I want to address: this generalized characterization of posters some of you think necessary to throw into their posts. This 'The Twins can do no wrong crowd' or the 'Twins can do no right crowd' is hugely disrespectful and dismissive, and from this moderator, will not be tolerated. If you want to divide and pick sides, fine, go play a game of dodge ball, your posts will be removed. Lumping posters into such 'all or nothing' categories because they choose to disagree with a point here and there needs to stop. I try to stay fairly objective, as objective as I can in my own like/dislike of certain topics, in my reading here, despite my own frustrations with the team, but there really are only two or three posters that fall into those mentioned categories on each end of this spectrum. The large majority of posters fall everywhere in between. Yes, some have definite leanings, but I have seen very, very few posters who have blindly taken these all or nothing stances on everything Twins. If all you want to do is read posts only in agreement with you, then you are in the wrong place. It is nothing but smug self-righteousness to declare yourself so right and others wrong and then to label others in such a dismissive way. It's the same with the negative/positive crowd. This is nothing but from your perspective, and your perspective is NOT the end all to defining anyone else. Say your piece. Have at it. And if others disagree, so be it. Have a debate, be open-minded to another's views and why they take them, give them the benefit of the doubt, ask for explanations, and disagree if you just disagree, but don't be dismissive about it by saying 'You're just part of that crowd.' If one poster likes a move and another doesn't, they are not in any of the above-mentioned crowds, they just differ in opinions. And if a poster wants to point out a silver lining or a black cloud, so what? It's their opinion and no one is right or wrong here. I'm not sure why that is so difficult to understand. Does it bruise egos when someone doesn't like your point, or picks it apart with their own interpretation of the facts, or their own use (right or wrong) of various metrics, stats, other numbers? Get over it. Don't double down and hunker down so hard you develop tunnel vision, and resort to the "Oh, you just hate so and so" or "Oh, you just love so and so" as an argument. It's unproductive, lazy and weak. And it gets old, and frankly, loses credibility for the poster who uses that as an argument. And maybe, just maybe, we don't need to fight to the end. When it gets to the point of labeling posters, I think it's time to agree to disagree and just let it go.
     
    Okay ... I've run out of steam. Whew! That was so cathartic!!! You should give it a try.
     
    See what I did there? Here's how I got started and so can you. There are all sorts of things to click on to help you find your way through the blogs. There's even a tutorial ... which I didn't click, because I didn't need to. So ... have at it.
     
    1. On the red menu strip across the top, click on the word “Blogs”
    2. Click on the black rectangle that says ‘Create a Blog’
    3. Read the terms and rules, then check the box that says you have read and understood the terms, then click ‘Continue—>’
    4. Fill in the blanks with the Blog name, Blog description, choose blog type, then click continue.
    Example: Blog Name: ChiTown’s Fun Takes
    Blog Description: All that frustrates me about the Twins
    Blog Type: Local Blog
    5. Choose your settings
    6. Save
     
    At that point you can choose ‘Options’ and then ‘Add new entry’ and go to town. Or leave, collect your thoughts, come back and choose ‘Blogs’ from the red menu strip across the top, click ‘Add Entry’ and go to town.
  13. Like
    HitInAPinch got a reaction from DocBauer for a blog entry, "We’re in dire straits here"   
    It's not a real awe inspiring article. But it does shed some light on management's involvement.
     
    http://www.startribune.com/twins-gm-ryan-we-are-in-dire-straits-here/380386061/
     
    "“Probably more than ever,” Ryan said of his talks with Pohlad.
     
    "Some people are calling it panic. I get that, OK. We’re in a mode here where I better be creative enough to do some things to help along the cause. We’re struggling to a point where we haven’t been able to right it. So I’m going to have to do some things.”
     
    I don't know if I would have called it "panic". I'm more of the mind that:
    Last year was a mirage.
    The remains of this team from the Metrodome days benefited a lot from that environment.
    The star prospects from the Minor leagues were probably overrated by us fans.

    The fact that Ryan says ownership is concerned is something I don't remember ever hearing before. This following the Pohlad's "System wide failure" comment make me think that bigger changes are in the near future.
     
    Terry Ryan and crew have been successful in the past. Post-Metrodome, that is rapidly becoming the distant past. Time to thank Ryan and company for their service to the Twins and the 2 World Series wins, but it's time to move forward with a fresh approach.
  14. Like
    HitInAPinch reacted to Shane Wahl for a blog entry, Top 50 Twins Prospects mid-2015   
    The Twins system is entering a new era as the youth movement is now officially underway. Players like May and Rosario have graduated already. Some players like Sano and Buxton will be leaving this list due to graduation in the coming months. It is important to get a glimpse of the state of the system going forward as the Twins are now entering a time of contention (and hopefully victory) over the next few years. The system is still rich, but clearly there are areas of concern already present.
     
    This is the final installment of my mid-season prospect update. Late September will bring the final list for the year.
     
    1. Byron Buxton: CF, 12-18-93
    2015 status: Buxton is basically done with minor league baseball. He got injured again, but should be back with the Twins in September. ETA: already arrived.
     
    2. Miguel Sano: 3B, 5-3-93
    2015 status: Has obliterated the baseball after his promotion to the Twins. He is also done with minor league baseball. Sano will be used as the DH primarily for the rest of this year, but the Twins should be shopping Trevor Plouffe in the offseason. ETA: already arrived.
     
    3. Jose Berrios: RHS, 5-27-94
    2015 status: Strong improvement over 2014 AA numbers. Promoted to AAA. ETA: essentially MLB ready now.
     
    4. Jorge Polanco: SS/2B, 7-5-93
    2015 status: Promoted to the Twins for one game and then moved to Rochester from Chattanooga. His bat is ready, not he just needs to get his SS defense up to acceptable standards. ETA: 2015.
     
    5. Max Kepler: OF/1B, 2-10-93
    2015 status: In the midst of a breakout season that is really pushing the envelope for the Twins. I would like to see a move up to AAA and then a September call up. Outstanding to see Kepler develop in this way this year. Could be trade bait. ETA: September 2015, or 2016 after Twins roster shakeup in offseason.
     
    6. Nick Gordon: SS, 10-24-95
    2015 status: The youngster struggled offensively initially at Cedar Rapids, but is really hitting his stride. Defense is great. ETA: 2019.
     
    7. Tyler Jay: LHR, 4-19-94
    2015 status: Sent to Fort Myers to the bullpen, likely for the remainder of 2015. Starting ability in question. ETA: 2017.
     
    8. Stephen Gonsalves: LHS, 7-8-94
    2015 status: Totally dominated A ball, hitting a learning curve in A+ ball, but it should only be a matter of time. Perhaps A+/AA split in 2016. ETA: 2018
     
    9. Adam Walker: RF, 10-18-91
    2015 status: He is having a great season. Homers and strikeouts abound, but he is also hitting a bit better overall and has an .899 OPS. Also trade bait. ETA: September 2015 for some fun homers, or else 2016 after some AAA time.
     
    10. Amaurys Minier: OF/1B, 1-30-96
    2015 status: Getting moved to Elizabethon will be a bit of a challenge initially, but he should be fine. He could have a monster season. ETA: 2020.
     
    11. Alex Meyer: RHS, 1-3-90
    2015 status: Struggled in AAA as a starter, converted to reliever temporarily, promoted to Twins as such, optioned back to AAA. Maybe he works on a few things and is back relieving for a playoff Twins team. Otherwise, they have to move him back to try starting one more time. ETA: should be back in 2015.
     
    12. Taylor Rogers: LHS, 12-17-90
    2015 status: Strong AAA time, replicating his AA numbers from 2014. I would like to see a playoff push involving Rogers as a lights out LOOGY. ETA: 2015 as a reliever, 2016 as a starter.
     
    13. Chih-Wei Hu: RHS, 11-4-93
    2015 status: Hu has finally given up some home runs, but that is about all that has changed from his excellent production in 2013 and 2014. He is an 8.6 K/9, 2.2 BB/9 kind of guy. It will be interesting to see how they manage his innings for the rest of the season, since I doubt that he is going to be top 110 innings or so and he is at 66.2 right now. ETA: 2017.
     
    14. Kohl Stewart: RHS, 10-7-94
    2015 status: A mediocre strikeout rate has actually fallen sharply in 2015. There is a lot of hand-waving about it as though it doesn't matter, but I think some caution is warranted here. Clearly, Stewart will be in Fort Myers again in 2016. ETA: 2018.
     
    15. Tyler Duffey: RHS, 12-27-90
    2015 status: Like Hu, Duffey is producing at his current level with very similar numbers as his overall minor league career numbers, and that is telling. He has been excellent this year, and I almost placed him ahead of Stewart. ETA: 2016.
     
    16. Lewin Diaz: 1B, 11-19-96
    2015 status: Getting used to playing in the States. Born on the day I got my driver's license. Taking it slow, obviously, but Diaz is about as fun as any prospect to watch in anticipation for the rest of the year. ETA: 2021.
     
    17. Lewis Thorpe: LHS, 11-23-95
    2015 status: The Twins and Thorpe decided to not have Tommy John surgery last September and this amounted to long delay of the inevitable,as Thorpe's April surgery will mean that he is out until at least mid-season 2016. He will only be about 20 and a half when he returns in 2016 (I would assume GCL/Fort Myers) so his status is still top-10 worthy. ETA: 2019 with level/year development.
     
    18. Brandon Peterson: RHR, 9-23-91
    2015 status: Peterson did not get the attention that Nick Burdi and Jake Reed did after last season. Then the Twins kept him down in Fort Myers for some inexplicable reason. Now, he is up in Chattanooga and he has not missed a beat at all. The 13 K/9 coupled with an acceptable 3.3 BB/9 makes him an elite reliever prospect. ETA: 2016.
     
    19. Wandy Javier: SS, 12-29-98
    2015 status: Just signed by the Twins to a $4 million bonus, the SS could top this list within two years. Looks like a good all-around player, both offensively and defensively. ETA: 2022.
     
    20. Travis Harrison: LF/RF, 10-17-92
    2015 status: Harrison is a good all-around hitter, who is fully in the OF this year. The power still has not come, however, and this is going to force him down the list. Harrison is definitely someone the Twins should try to shop in some package in the offseason, or if they really want to trade for a bullpen arm for the stretch run in 2015. ETA: September 2016.
     
    21. Zach Jones: RHR, 12-4-90
    2015 status: Jones was dominant until his last two appearances and was sent to Fort Myers. When he gets healthy, the Twins should consider promoting him to AAA. ETA: 2015 or 2016.
     
    22. Nick Burdi: RHR, 1-19-93
    2015 status: Things started poorly, got significantly better for a little bit, then went so poorly that the Twins actually just demoted Burdi back to Fort Myers, in a move that is rather perplexing, even with his bad performance. His mechanics have been altered significantly, and this might be the problem. ETA: 2017.
     
    23. Levi Michael: 2B, 2-9-91
    2015 status: Michael has battled an injury again this season. When actually healthy, he is good. He has an .807 OPS for Chattanooga this year and is back to stealing bases. He is slugging substantially more this year, which is interesting. Given everyone above him, Michael is in Harrison's camp as trade material. ETA: September 2016.
     
    24. Travis Blankenhorn: 3B, 8-3-96
    2015 status: Drafted in the third round, the Twins sent Blankenhorn to the GCL. Nice pick, good bat. ETA: 2020.
     
    25. Jake Reed: RHR, 9-29-92
    2015 status: Like Burdi, the stock is falling here for Jake Reed. He has struggled in AA and should remain there well into next season. ETA: 2016 only if all goes well.
     
    26. Niko Goodrum: SS/3B/CF, 2-28-92
    2015 status: Promoted to Chattanooga after an OK start in Fort Myers. He always threatens to push that OPS over .700 . . . time will tell. Great speed. Adding CF to his resume is interesting. Good end up being a more athletic and bigger version of Eduardo Escobar. Still relatively young. ETA: September 2016.
     
    27. Felix Jorge: RHS, 1-2-94
    2015 status: He's back and pitching very well. The strikeout rate has dropped, but so has the walk rate. He is also not giving up very many hits. I think he likely moves to A+ when the Twins move Hu to AA. ETA: 2018.
     
    28. Dalton Hicks: 1B, 4-2-90
    2015 status: Hicks was smashing the ball in Chattanooga before getting injured. He has been up and down my lists over the past few years now. ETA: September 2016.
     
    29. JT Chargois: RHR, 12-3-90
    2015 status: Chargois is back after not pitching in 2013 or 2014. He is doing very well, though his control is an issue. It was rather shocking how he dominated A+ ball though, and he is up to AA. ETA: 2016 if he remains healthy.
     
    30. Alex Robinson: LHR, 8-11-94
    2015 status: After being drafted in the fifth round, he headed off to the Elizabethon bullpen. ETA: 2019.
     
    31. Michael Cederoth: RHP, 11-25-92.
    2015 status: He has struggled a bit in A ball this year, walking a lot of guys as a starter. He moved to the bullpen and has been excellent. I imagine he stays there. ETA: 2018.
     
    32. Mat Batts: LHS, 7-6-91
    2015 status: After a very strong start to the 2015 season in Cedar Rapids, Batts was promoted to Fort Myers where he continues to be fantastic. ETA: 2018.
     
    33. Tanner English: CF, 3-11-93
    2015 status: Has hit a bit of a snag with his first full season, but the steals and defense are intriguing enough. He also draws a good amount of walks. Only grounded into one double play all year, which is crazy. ETA: 2018.
     
    34. Cameron Booser: LHR, 5-4-92
    2015 status: Strong for Cedar Rapids, but he is walking an awful lot of guys. He strikes out a ton too, though. ETA: 2018.
     
    35. Trevor Hildenberger: RHR, 12-15-90
    2015 status: Hildenberger has been out of control dominant for Cedar Rapids. It isn't clear why he is not in Fort Myers by now. ETA: 2017, if the Twins are at all serious about him.
     
    36. Aaron Slegers: RHS, 9-4-92
    2015 status: Slegers is a solid starting pitching prospect who might continue to climb the prospect rankings, but shouldn't fall far. Very good K/BB rate. ETA: 2018.
     
    37. Engelb Vielma: SS, 6-22-94
    2015 status: Slow to develop bat at Fort Myers, but that should be expected. He is inching toward similar offensive numbers in 2015 as he had in Cedar Rapids in 2014, but the stolen bases have exploded. ETA: 2017 if the Twins want a defensive shortstop, otherwise 2018.
     
    38. Stuart Turner: C, 12-27-91
    2015 status: As expected, the bat is bad in AA. He is a very good defensive catcher, however. A .566 OPS in AA is a bit scary and the Twins have an immediate hole at the catcher position. ETA: September 2016.
     
    39. John Curtiss: RHS, 4-5-93
    2015 status: I was too high on Curtiss going into the season. He has been hit pretty hard in A ball this year. The strikeouts are still there, but it is going to be a slow ascent in the system. ETA: 2019.
     
    40. Alexis Tapia: RHS, 8-10-95
    2015 status: Very young, but with good strikeout and walk numbers. Could climb fast. ETA 2019.
     
    41. Mitch Garver: C, 1-15-91
    2015 status: Started very slowly offensively, but is now coming around. Would like to see him pushed to AA in August to test his bat a little bit and get him ready for a full season of AA in 2016. ETA: 2017.
     
    42. Danny Ortiz: OF, 1-5-90
    2015 status: Ortiz was hitting really well to start the year in AAA, then cooled off as he was moved to CF. Maybe the two are unrelated, but I think that it is a good thing for Ortiz to add CF to his resume. The Twins should definitely be interested in his 4th OF capability if they are going to be trading some of their OF depth (Kepler, Walker, Harrison). Otherwise, Ortiz is trade bait to add in a package. ETA: would be September 2015 in about any other organization. Here, 2016.
     
    43. James Beresford: 2B/IF, 1-19-89
    2015 status: Beresford is totally consistent. There is basically no steadier a bat in the system. The Twins know how Beresford will produce offensively in the big leagues if they want him there. The issue for him is that he needs to move beyond being a second baseman. His future anywhere is going to be as a utility infielder, much like Ortiz's future is as a 4th OF. ETA: September 2015 wouldn't be totally out of the question if the Twins have 40-man space. Otherwise 2016 somewhere in MLB.
     
    44. Jermaine Palacios: SS/IF, 7-19-96
    2015 status: Palacios is pounding GCL pitching right now after a very solid 2014 season in the DSL. Currently, he is quite slight, measuring six feet tall while being listed at under 150 pounds. He might not outgrow SS, so there is a decent chance that he sticks there. Big sleeper prospect right now. ETA: 2021.
     
    45. Zach Granite: CF/LF, 9-17-92
    2015 status: Granite dominated in Cedar Rapids and was quickly promoted to Fort Myers. He is struggling some there, but should get his 2015 A+ numbers to match his 2014 A numbers. He has very good speed and some decent plate discipline. ETA: 2018.
     
    46. Alex Wimmers: RHS, 11-1-88
    2015 status: It is fantastic that Wimmers has gotten back into the swing of things. That he is starting again and striking people out is a testament to his perseverance. ETA: 2016 if the Twins are aggressive.
     
    47. Randy Rosario: LHS, 5-18-94
    2015 status: Hopefully, a healthy Rosario can get on track and return to showing the promise of his pre-2014 career. ETA: 2019.
     
    48. Rafael Valera: 2B/3B/SS, 8-15-94
    2015 status: Valera is another sleeper prospect. The Twins sent Valera to Cedar Rapids this year after a decent season in the GCL in 2014. Good plate discipline and speed. ETA: 2019.
     
    49. Todd Van Steensel: RHR, 1-14-91
    2015 status: Van Steensel is a strikeout machine for Fort Myers. Undoubtedly, he will finish the year in AA if some of the pitchers in AA and AAA get promotions. ETA: 2016.
     
    50. Ryan O'Rourke: LHR, 4-30-88
    2015 status: O'Rourke has just been promoted to the Twins. He has been hit hard by right-handed hitters this year again, but the strikeout numbers against lefties are astounding. He could make it as a dominant LOOGY. A Twins playoff bullpen with Rogers and O'Rourke would negate left-handed hitters in the late innings. ETA: right now.
     
    Honorable Mention: Luke Bard, Max Murphy, Trey Vavra, DJ Baxendale, Brian Navarreto, Zach Larson, Trey Cabbage, Tyler Kuresa, Yorman Landa, Ryan Eades, Kuo-Hua Lo, Mason Melotakis, Corey Williams, Alex Muren, Fernando Romero, LaMonte Wade, Jason Wheeler, Tim Shibuya, Brett Lee, Matthew Summers
     
    Conclusion: The system has now peaked. Losing the second-round pick Kyle Cody hurts as well. Including the honorable mentions, though, the Twins here have 70 players who could make it to the show.
  15. Like
    HitInAPinch reacted to stringer bell for a blog entry, All-Star Break Thoughts   
    I'm jumping the gun by a day, but the Twins are approaching the All-Star break and they certainly qualify as contenders. After beating Detroit today, they are tied for the second best record in the league at eight games over .500. One can't help but be a little optimistic about the Twins chances for the last 74 games. Today was a high point, not only hammering Detroit's starting pitcher, but also the mid-game announcement that Brian Dozier would indeed make the 2015 All-Star team, all on the heels of the startling comeback the earned the Twins a near miraculous victory on Friday night.
     
    However, there are obvious flaws on the team. The leading percentage hitter currently is Joe Mauer, hitting in the mid-.270s and until this home stand the Twins had struggled to score runs for the better part of six weeks. We've seen a bullpen that is far from dominant and still have unsettled and unproductive positions (catcher and shortstop). The starting staff continues to allow far fewer runs than their peripherals would suggest.
     
    Since the Twins outstanding month of May, analysis has focused on how the club is winning and also if they can sustain that performance. Most analysts still think the club is suspect. A good example is Baseball Prospectus, which provides a Postseason Probability for each team. They currently peg the Twins at 21.6%, lower than the Tigers (2.5 games behind the Twins) and the Indians (4.5 behind Minnesota). This is supposedly scientific analysis.
     
    The team is far different that the one that opened the season in Detroit. Eddie Rosario has claimed an outfield spot, Aaron Hicks appears to be here to stay this year, and several members have changed in the bullpen. The rotation has added Ervin Santana to the rotation.
     
    I think more changes are in the offing. Either by trade or promotion, I think the bullpen will continue to be redone. Byron Buxton figures to return to Minnesota after a rehab and perhaps an option to AAA, Oswaldo Arcia has begun to pound the ball at Triple A,
     
    I am still not convinced the Twins are a playoff team, but it looks like they could easily be in it for the two and a half months. I'm predicting a couple of moves that will fortify the bullpen (perhaps trading for a lefty reliever and promoting a hard thrower) and also perhaps a trade for a catcher, who could help this year and beyond. I would expect improvement from the offense, combined with a bit of regression from the rotation.
     
    I have predicted 85 wins for the club since they broke camp in Florida. I hope that number is reached although I'm not sure if it will be enough to gain admission to the post season.
  16. Like
    HitInAPinch reacted to Cody Christie for a blog entry, 2009: Bill Smith's Lasting Legacy   
    In the annals of Twins history, the legacy of Bill Smith is never going to be thought of in a positive manner. There are many dubious moments from his tenure at the helm of the Twins organization. During his first year, he had to deal with Torii Hunter, the face of the franchise, leaving via free agency and multiple Cy Young award winner Johan Santana wanting to be traded.
     
    Hunter would head to southern California on a big contract. Santana was dealt for what amounted to be a bag of balls. Deolis Guerra, Carlos Gomez, Philip Humber, and Kevin Mulvey were sent from New York to Minnesota. None of these players made a significant impact on the Twins big league roster even though Gomez has developed into one of the best players in the National League.
     
    The other big deal at the beginning of Smith's tenure was between Minnesota and Tampa Bay. Hunter's departure left a hole in the line-up and the Twins hunted down former top draft pick Delmon Young. It cost the Twins a hefty price in the form of Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett, who would help Tampa win the 2008 American League pennant.
     
    Even though these two trades have come to epitomize some of Smith's poor skills as general manager, the Twins are starting to see some positives out from the Smith era.
     
    Smith's second MLB draft as general manager took place in June 2009. The Twins had the 22nd pick in the first round and used it to select college pitcher Kyle Gibson (Mike Trout was taken three picks later but a ton of other team's passed over him as well). Gibson has developed into a nice asset at the major league level and there's hope that new pitching coach Neil Allen will be able to help Gibson refine his change-up.
     
    Minnesota's biggest steal in the draft might have been their eighth round pick a college shortstop by the name of Brian Dozier. Dozier has turned himself into one of the best second baseman in the American League and the Twins are committed to him being a cornerstone as the team tries to rebuild. According to Baseball Reference, Dozier has been worth more WAR than all but two first round picks (Trout and Stephen Strasburg).
     
    Drafting Dozier and Gibson weren't the only major additions during this calendar year. Minnesota was active on the international market by signing Miguel Sano ($3.15 million), Jorge Polanco ($750,000), and Max Kepler ($775,000). Each one of these players has found their way onto top prospect lists and all three could end up being significant contributors at the big league level.
     
    Sano has been highly thought of since signing with the Twins and he should make his major league debut this season. He's one of the best power hitting prospects in the minor leagues and the Twins are counting on him to make a significant impact over in the coming years.
     
    Polanco continues to shine on the defensive side of the ball while showing he could have the skills to stick at the shortstop position for the long run. His offensive numbers continue to improve and last season he became the youngest player since Joe Mauer to debut with the Twins.
     
    Kepler still has a lot of potential and Minnesota has been patiently waiting for him to have a breakout season. He's getting closer to the higher minors and he's already on the 40-man roster. If everything breaks right, he could turn into a very good everyday player with a wide-ranging skill set.
     
     
    Reflecting back on the Bill Smith years can be kind of depressing. Besides the moves mentioned above, there was the JJ Hardy trade(s), the Matt Capps deal, and the signing of Tsuyoshi Nishioka. It's starting to look more and more like his additions to the minor leagues during the 2009 season might provide a little light at the end of a very dark tunnel.
     
    For more from Cody Christie make sure to follow him on Twitter @NoDakTwinsFan and to read his other work at http://www.NoDakTwinsFan.com
  17. Like
    HitInAPinch reacted to Daniel R Levitt for a blog entry, Terry Ryan at the Helm -- Part 2   
    I originally wrote the following analysis of Terry Ryan as GM of the Minnesota Twins for The National Pastime, 2012: Short but Wondrous Summers: Baseball in the North Star State. I was the editor of the publication—one I heartily recommend by the way for those interested in the history of baseball in Minnesota--and pulled the essay just prior to publication when the publisher informed me that we had gone over our allotted page count. It is great to have this outlet to finally run the article. Due to its length and a natural break point about half way through, I am breaking it into two halves.
     
     
    Given this disparity among the resources and opportunities available to the various front offices, is there a way to objectively evaluate some of the more important facets of their performance beyond wins and losses? In fact, there are some aspects of the general manager’s role that can be quantified. Using the Retrosheet transactions database I evaluated all the moves made by the Twins after Ryan's hiring in September 1994 through the end of the 2007 season. Obviously, using this type of analysis to assess Ryan assigns the ultimate responsibility for all transactions--rightly or wrongly--to the general manager.
     
    In this short investigation I examine the value of players lost via free agency, outright release, the expansion draft, waivers and trades, and players acquired via amateur free agency (i.e. players not eligible for the draft), free agency, waivers and trades. Unfortunately this is not quite as straightforward as it might seem: for example, players who become free agents and are subsequently re-signed; in the database these players are shown as both lost via free agency and gained through free agency. The net effect is zero, but it increases the total volume of talent coming and going. Another example is players who come and go before they become established major leaguers. As an illustration of this issue, Casey Blake was claimed on waivers, lost on waivers, reclaimed on waivers, and subsequently released before he achieved any significant major league playing time. While it makes sense to account for them this way--each transaction needs to be evaluated on its own merits and the Twins free agents were certainly available to any team--these multiple moves can make the talent velocity appear greater than it might otherwise be.
     
    For each player involved in a transaction, I calculated the WAR he would earn over the balance of his career. For players still active, WAR is calculated through the 2008 season, the last season for which I have been able to generate the data set (obviously many of these players will significantly increase their career totals). [i would like to update this in the future]
     
    So, what does Ryan's scorecard look like? The table below summarizes the cumulative WAR surrendered and gained in all the Twins transactions from the fall of 1994 through his retirement in 2007.
     
    WAR From Twins Transactions Under Ryan’s Tenure
    [table]


    Transaction Type


    From Min


    To Min




    Players Becoming Free Agents


    42






    Players Released


    54






    Players Lost in Expansion Draft


    9






    Amateur Free Agent Signing




    10




    Free Agent Signing




    80




    Waivers




    36




    Trades


    102


    164




    Total


    218


    290


    [/table]
     
    Despite working under relatively tight financial constraints for most of his tenure, Ryan lost surprisingly little talent to free agency. Only Kenny Rogers, already 38 years old when he left after one season with the Twins, produced more than five wins above replacement after leaving the Twins as a free agent.
     
    Surprisingly, Ryan's two most significant personnel blunders came from releasing two players with significant major league ability, and both came after the 2002 season. In October he released Casey Blake, who would go on to become a valuable contributor with the Indians. More significantly, in December Ryan compounded his error by releasing David Ortiz, who became a perennial MVP contender. Both could have played important roles on the competitive Twins teams from 2003 through 2006. In addition, the loss of Damian Miller to the Diamondbacks in the expansion draft proved surprisingly costly. Miller went on to several seasons as a quality major league catcher.
     
    Given his financial constraints, it is not surprising that Ryan never signed any high-priced free agents. But he often tried to augment his team with bargain priced players with some upside. As mentioned above, Ryan had some success in the mid-1990s. Later he received a quality season from Kenny Rogers before losing him. Ryan also landed several useful role players, such as Mike Redmond, at a reasonable price. Some of his most notable free agent moves involved re-signing his own veterans, such as Radke and Shannon Stewart, on a short-term basis.
     
    For most of Ryan’s tenure, the Twins did not develop many players from Latin America. In the mid-1990s the Twins landed two players who would become useful major leaguers--Luis Rivas and Juan Rincon--but added none of consequence over the next decade. Ryan's staff did smartly pluck Bobby Kielty from the U.S. amateur ranks when he was available outside of the draft.
     
    Ryan may have distinguished himself most clearly in his ability to make quality trades. His worst trade, in terms of value differential, was the swap of Todd Walker to Colorado for little in return. As an extenuating circumstance with this trade, however, the Twins also received cash. Ryan’s regime can be credited with several outstanding deals. Most have been mentioned above: the trades of A.J. Pierzynski and Chuck Knoblauch each added two valuable players. Trading Dave Hollins for David Ortiz was also a great move, unfortunately later vitiated by the latter's release.
     
    To get a better sense of the Twins drafting success under Ryan, I calculated the total career WAR from all players picked in each year’s draft from 1987, when Ryan first joined the Twins as scouting director, through 2001, when the Twins selected Joe Mauer with the first overall pick. Draft classes more recent than 2001 have not had a chance to mature sufficiently through 2008 for a valid evaluation. One needs to be cautious, however, when evaluating drafts. How many early picks a team has, how high in the first round they pick and how much money the team is willing to spend on signing bonuses all affect a team’s draft success without reflecting on the acumen of the team’s front office.
     
    Twins WAR from the Draft (1987 - 1994)
    [table]



    1987


    1988


    1989


    1990


    1991


    1992


    1993


    1994




    Twins


    8.1


    -2.3


    94.6


    37.5


    62.9


    -0.1


    18.4


    45.0




    Lg Avg


    29.5


    27.0


    30.8


    22.8


    23.8


    16.5


    17.7


    12.5




    Diff


    -21.4


    -29.3


    63.8


    14.7


    39.1


    -16.6


    0.7


    32.5


    [/table]
     
    Twins WAR from the Draft (1995-2001)
    [table]



    1995


    1996


    1997


    1998


    1999


    2000


    2001




    Twins


    15.3


    8.2


    12.7


    2.5


    12.2


    -1.3


    26.8




    Lg Avg


    17.7


    14.9


    11.8


    15.0


    14.5


    9.6


    8.2




    Diff


    -2.4


    -6.7


    0.9


    -12.5


    -2.3


    -10.9


    18.6


    [/table]
     
    Caveats aside, Ryan’s record with the draft was mixed. On the positive side, while scouting director Ryan oversaw two stellar draft classes: in 1989 he landed Chuck Knoblauch, Scott Erickson, and Denny Neagle; two years later Ryan brought in Brad Radke and Matt Lawton. During his time as general manager the Twins selected several players that went on to become stars. Mauer, Morneau, and Cuddyer, all drafted in the first three rounds between 1997 and 2001, anchored the Twin’s teams of the mid-2000s. Ryan and his staff also generally recognized their better players and studiously avoided including those who would have a solid major league future in trades. On the other hand, the Twins had a top-6 or higher overall pick in 1998, 1999 and 2000 and came away with little to show for it.
     
    But if Terry Ryan and his staff had at least a couple of years of professional baseball with which to evaluate a player, they were formidable. In trades, particularly after his first year on the job, the prospects Ryan acquired developed into capable major leaguers more often than could be reasonably expected. His veteran free agent signings also generally turned out well, and he rarely lost key players to free agency. Two of his more significant misses had extenuating circumstances: the trade of Todd Walker netted the team cash, and David Ortiz was arbitration eligible, 27 years old and had yet to play a full major league season, mainly due to injuries.
     
    A general manager's job, of course, entails more than talent acquisition, and sometimes a team is in a position where the key decisions involve sorting out the talent (including possibly surrendering more talent than one receives) to alleviate an abundance at one position and solve a dearth at another. But the luxury of rearranging one's talent first requires building a solid talent base. Ryan consistently surrendered less talent than he received as he built a well-balanced team that captured four division championships between 2002 and 2006.
     
    After four seasons of retirement, Ryan returned as general manager, hired to once again retool the Twins after a 99-loss season in 2011. “I don’t know if it will be for one year or 10 years,” Ryan said. “I’m going to see how it goes and see exactly the direction of success and workload and all the things that about 4 1/2 years ago we talked about over at the Dome.” Ryan also identified some of the issues the organization needed to address, including a large number of missed games due to injuries, placing the onus to fix the problems squarely on his shoulders. “Players can only take advice. Players take the advice you give them,” Ryan said. “I would never put it on the players. It’s our responsibility to take control of that and we will.”
     
    To read more about the history of baseball operations and the GM, please buy our new book In Pursuit of Pennants–Baseball Operations from Deadball to Moneyball via the publisher or at your favorite on-line store.
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