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John Bonnes

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  1. In a surprise move, Twins pitching coach Wes Johnson will be leaving the Minnesota Twins to become LSU's pitching coach. D1 Baseball's Kendall Rogers broke news today that LSU has hired Twins pitching coach Wes Johnson as their new pitching coach, resulting in a midseason change of one of the Twins' most important coaches. Johnson was hired prior to the 2019 season from Arkansas, where he was the pitching coach, a trailblazing move for a MLB team. Now he will return to that same conference as a rival team's pitching coach. Losing Johnson during the offseason would be a story in and of itself. The Twins pitching staff ranked 22nd in ERA (4.50) in 2018, the year before Johnson replace Garvin Alston. In 2019, they improved to 8th in the league with a 4.18 ERA. This year, the team ERA is 3.79, ranking 11th in the majors, despite pitching being perceived as the team's Achilles heal heading into the season. At the very least, he's been seen as a cornerstone in the organization's renewed focus on pitching over the last several years. Having the move happen in the middle of the baseball season, especially when the team is in first place in the AL Central, makes it a major story. Per Dan Hayes, the Twins just found out about his talks with LSU on Saturday. He also reports that his talks with the Twins did not include a request for more money. With the news being so unexpected, it is not clear what factors played into this sudden decision. Hayes does add that LSU was very aggressive, so it may be that he is just interested in LSU. They just completed their first season with new coach Jay Johnson, who guided them to a 40-22 record in the SEC, good for third place in the West. Aaron Gleeman reports that Johnson's tenure will end after this week's 5-game series versus the Cleveland Guardians. At that time his role will be filled by bullpen coach Pete Maki, although fully replacing him will be a group effort. Maki has been with the coaching staff since 2020, and been in the organization since 2017 when he joined them as their minor league pitching coordinator. More to come. Feel free to comment as additional news breaks. View full article
  2. D1 Baseball's Kendall Rogers broke news today that LSU has hired Twins pitching coach Wes Johnson as their new pitching coach, resulting in a midseason change of one of the Twins' most important coaches. Johnson was hired prior to the 2019 season from Arkansas, where he was the pitching coach, a trailblazing move for a MLB team. Now he will return to that same conference as a rival team's pitching coach. Losing Johnson during the offseason would be a story in and of itself. The Twins pitching staff ranked 22nd in ERA (4.50) in 2018, the year before Johnson replace Garvin Alston. In 2019, they improved to 8th in the league with a 4.18 ERA. This year, the team ERA is 3.79, ranking 11th in the majors, despite pitching being perceived as the team's Achilles heal heading into the season. At the very least, he's been seen as a cornerstone in the organization's renewed focus on pitching over the last several years. Having the move happen in the middle of the baseball season, especially when the team is in first place in the AL Central, makes it a major story. Per Dan Hayes, the Twins just found out about his talks with LSU on Saturday. He also reports that his talks with the Twins did not include a request for more money. With the news being so unexpected, it is not clear what factors played into this sudden decision. Hayes does add that LSU was very aggressive, so it may be that he is just interested in LSU. They just completed their first season with new coach Jay Johnson, who guided them to a 40-22 record in the SEC, good for third place in the West. Aaron Gleeman reports that Johnson's tenure will end after this week's 5-game series versus the Cleveland Guardians. At that time his role will be filled by bullpen coach Pete Maki, although fully replacing him will be a group effort. Maki has been with the coaching staff since 2020, and been in the organization since 2017 when he joined them as their minor league pitching coordinator. More to come. Feel free to comment as additional news breaks.
  3. Aaron and John discuss how the Twins can "Find a Reliever", Byron Buxton's knee injury, and more about the "drunken bar fight" series versus Cleveland. You can listen by downloading us from iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio or find it at GleemanAndTheGeek.com. Or just click this link. View full article
  4. Aaron and John talk about the Twins' eight upcoming games vs. the Guardians, Royce Lewis' torn ACL and the future at shortstop, when Alex Kirilloff will return from crushing Triple-A, the domino effect of the rotation getting healthier, and how ready the world is to see more of John Bonnes dancing. You can listen by downloading us from iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio or find it at GleemanAndTheGeek.com. Or just click this link. View full article
  5. Aaron and John talk about the Twins-Yankees series, Byron Buxton breaking out of his slump in a huge way, the state of the bullpen, how close the rotation is to getting healthy, why the lineup is showing good signs against high-end pitchers, and Josh Donaldson's return to Minnesota. You can listen by downloading us from iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio or find it at GleemanAndTheGeek.com. Or just click this link. View full article
  6. Aaron and John talk about the Twins' ugly series in Detroit, the unvaccinated players skipping the series in Toronto, Royce Lewis avoiding another worst-case scenario, and Jhoan Duran's role in the bullpen. You can listen by downloading us from iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio or find it at GleemanAndTheGeek.com. Or just click this link. View full article
  7. You’ve got plans this Sunday afternoon. The Twins are playing the Tigers, and Twins Daily’s writers are swarming around the Gray Duck Deck at Target Field, because John Bonnes is a guest bartender. We would love for you join us. What more is there to say exactly? Just get a ticket to the game on 5/29 and show up at the Gray Duck Deck near the left field foul pole. John will be guest bartending with Lindsay Guentzel. Anyone from Twins Daily’s writing crew will be hanging out to talk Twins and life, watch the game, and share a pint (or a Bomba Juice). The game starts at 1:10, and hopefully you have the Memorial Day off of work. We hope to see you there! View full article
  8. What more is there to say exactly? Just get a ticket to the game on 5/29 and show up at the Gray Duck Deck near the left field foul pole. John will be guest bartending with Lindsay Guentzel. Anyone from Twins Daily’s writing crew will be hanging out to talk Twins and life, watch the game, and share a pint (or a Bomba Juice). The game starts at 1:10, and hopefully you have the Memorial Day off of work. We hope to see you there!
  9. Aaron and John talk about Carlos Correa returning, Royce Lewis being sent back to Triple-A, Byron Buxton getting days off, Alex Kirilloff trying to get right in St. Paul, and Chris Paddack having elbow surgery. You can listen by downloading us from iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio or find it at GleemanAndTheGeek.com. Or just click this link. View full article
  10. 204 RBI. That’s the number of RBI Byron Buxton has had in his seven-year career. But this isn’t going to be a screed on what a stupid stat RBI is, nor is it going to be a tirade against modern players. Instead, it’s about how a guy who averages less than 30 RBI per year is worth $100M, or how to reconcile traditional counting stats with modern player evaluation First, since talking about RBI is like waving a red flag in front of a sabrmetrically inclined bull, let’s point out that it isn’t just RBI. Buxton’s injury history means that almost all of his “counting” stats are far lower than one would expect. Buxton has averaged 10 home runs over those seven years. He’s averaged 15 doubles. 11 stolen bases. Even defensively, where everyone admits he shines, he’s only saved, on average, about 5 runs per season. Counting stats aren’t great for predicting the future, but they are usually valuable for talking about past production. And Buxton’s inability to stay healthy means that he hasn’t been able to demonstrate much productivity using traditional counting stats. If you do a comparison between him and other MLB players, he looks more like a utility player than potential superstar. Check out the list of 10 players to whom he is most similar on Baseball Reference. It’s not exactly stocked with Hall of Famers. Domingo Santana? Wily Mo Pena? Pena didn’t make $7M over his entire career. So why is Buxton worth so much more? Baseball nerds will talk about Buxton’s WAR or Wins Above Replacement, which is not at all similar to that of Wily Mo Pena and Domingo Santana. But that statistic just moves the disconnect to another arena. Why is WAR so much different than traditional (and far more intuitive) counting stats? There are two fundamental differences between a player that puts up middling counting stats over 70 games (which is what Buxton has averaged over the last seven years) and a player that puts up middling counting stats over 162 games. The first is 92 games. The second is the last initial in WAR: Replacement. In those other 92 games, a replacement player is in center field, and the stats that player puts up also help out the team. So when Buxton is not available, the team gets slightly below-average productivity. But when he is available, he performs like a superstar. Average those out and you get a very good center fielder, even if Buxton continues to require frequent trips to the 10-day IL. How much is that worth? Figuring out the value of a single MLB Win Above Replacement is fairly simple math: just take the total amount paid to the last free-agent class and divide it by the total WAR they had. The answer lately has been around $8M. Buxton is making $9M this year and is guaranteed $15M over the next six years. So he needs to be post a WAR of 1 this year and a WAR around 2 for the next six years. He’s already at 1.6, and that’s through just 24 games played. Yeah, he’s worth it. This naturally leads to the question about how he and the Twins can keep him in the lineup even more. That’s the same question the Twins are attempting to answer by working a plan to keep him healthy for at least 100 games, a mark he has only reached one time in his career. It may not be the right plan, but you can see value in trying something, anything. He’s certainly worth the effort.
  11. Byron Buxton revealed that the Twins and he are working a plan to keep him healthy for at least 100 games, a mark he has only reached one time in his career. This has raised the question whether can he be worth his 7-year, $100M+ contract if he only plays that much? The answer is yes, but before we dive into why, let’s look at Buxton through a stat that traditionalists love: RBI. 204 RBI. That’s the number of RBI Byron Buxton has had in his seven-year career. But this isn’t going to be a screed on what a stupid stat RBI is, nor is it going to be a tirade against modern players. Instead, it’s about how a guy who averages less than 30 RBI per year is worth $100M, or how to reconcile traditional counting stats with modern player evaluation First, since talking about RBI is like waving a red flag in front of a sabrmetrically inclined bull, let’s point out that it isn’t just RBI. Buxton’s injury history means that almost all of his “counting” stats are far lower than one would expect. Buxton has averaged 10 home runs over those seven years. He’s averaged 15 doubles. 11 stolen bases. Even defensively, where everyone admits he shines, he’s only saved, on average, about 5 runs per season. Counting stats aren’t great for predicting the future, but they are usually valuable for talking about past production. And Buxton’s inability to stay healthy means that he hasn’t been able to demonstrate much productivity using traditional counting stats. If you do a comparison between him and other MLB players, he looks more like a utility player than potential superstar. Check out the list of 10 players to whom he is most similar on Baseball Reference. It’s not exactly stocked with Hall of Famers. Domingo Santana? Wily Mo Pena? Pena didn’t make $7M over his entire career. So why is Buxton worth so much more? Baseball nerds will talk about Buxton’s WAR or Wins Above Replacement, which is not at all similar to that of Wily Mo Pena and Domingo Santana. But that statistic just moves the disconnect to another arena. Why is WAR so much different than traditional (and far more intuitive) counting stats? There are two fundamental differences between a player that puts up middling counting stats over 70 games (which is what Buxton has averaged over the last seven years) and a player that puts up middling counting stats over 162 games. The first is 92 games. The second is the last initial in WAR: Replacement. In those other 92 games, a replacement player is in center field, and the stats that player puts up also help out the team. So when Buxton is not available, the team gets slightly below-average productivity. But when he is available, he performs like a superstar. Average those out and you get a very good center fielder, even if Buxton continues to require frequent trips to the 10-day IL. How much is that worth? Figuring out the value of a single MLB Win Above Replacement is fairly simple math: just take the total amount paid to the last free-agent class and divide it by the total WAR they had. The answer lately has been around $8M. Buxton is making $9M this year and is guaranteed $15M over the next six years. So he needs to be post a WAR of 1 this year and a WAR around 2 for the next six years. He’s already at 1.6, and that’s through just 24 games played. Yeah, he’s worth it. This naturally leads to the question about how he and the Twins can keep him in the lineup even more. That’s the same question the Twins are attempting to answer by working a plan to keep him healthy for at least 100 games, a mark he has only reached one time in his career. It may not be the right plan, but you can see value in trying something, anything. He’s certainly worth the effort. View full article
  12. I was SO GLAD to see you writing on TD again! Great post.
  13. Aaron and John talk about Chris Paddack's elbow problem, Yennier Cano's debut, the Twins getting swept by the Astros, the roster having a Triple-A feel because of so many injuries, the odds of Royce Lewis sticking around, and Alex Kirilloff's struggles. You can listen by downloading us from iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio or find it at GleemanAndTheGeek.com. Or just click this link. View full article
  14. The AL Champion Astros are in town, proving again that The Baseball Gods answer prayers. They've been fielding* the same invocation from Twins fans: are the first place Twins for real? Like for real, for real? This series should give a hint. (*Get it? Fielding? Little baseball pun there. It's well known that The Baseball Gods love baseball puns.) The team didn't look "for real" last night against the Astros and Justin Verlander, but Verlander clearly has some celestial blood running through his veins. He's 39, coming off Tommy John surgery, leads MLB in innings pitched, and has a 1.55 ERA. If that doesn't whisper "demigod," you deserve whatever wrath those Divine Deities of the Diamond throw your way. But despite last night, the Twins are for real. I won't suggest the path will be an easy one because I don't want to assume that the Twins players won't continue to drop like flies. (The Baseball Gods hate it when you assume your team's players won't drop like flies.) And because The Baseball Gods love stats (they work overtime devising new stats), let's look at a few. Twins run differential +35 Runs are the currency by which wins are purchased. I think Bill James wrote that, and if so, I'm sure it'll be referenced when The Baseball Gods consider him for Assumption. Runs tend to stay in sync with win-loss records. If they don't, one or the other is likely to adjust. But they're in lockstep for the Twins. Given how many 1-run games the Twins have recently won (seven in a row), they might feel like they're getting a little lucky. And they are. The crazy endings versus the White Sox and Tigers were undoubtedly The Baseball Gods entertaining themselves. But their run differential, which ranks third in the American League, suggests the team is also pretty good. Twins record vs teams better than .500 = 5-3 Doubters love to look at a team's record against winning teams, but the Twins are one of only three teams better than .500 versus winning teams. That can be a tricky stat. Some teams go back and forth over that line. For instance, the Twins are 3-0 versus the White Sox, who are precisely .500 when I'm writing this. If they win one more game, the Twins' record improves to 8-3, which is even better. AL Central's cumulative record = 12 games below .500 The Baseball God hate taking opponents for granted. But they also hate the hubris that can result from leading a bad division. So let's be clear: the AL Central is bad. The Twins need to take advantage of that. The Twins get to play 67 more games against the worst division in the American League. Finishing atop that division doesn't guarantee any postseason success (a fact that The Baseball Gods have emphasized mercilessly for the Twins' last 18 postseason games), but it still punches a postseason ticket. The news gets better. There are also three Wild Card teams in the postseason this year. While the Yankees, Rays, and Jays are scrapping, the Twins will be competing with the Guardians and White Sox for a high 80s win total. So put me in the "cautiously optimistic" category about the Twins' chances this year because that is as high a category as The Baseball Gods condone. It might even be too high. (After all, they were already merciful once in that category. Remember, we were "cautiously optimistic" about Buxton's knee.) But to be safe, let's sit and watch and enjoy the season. The Baseball Gods love that. View full article
  15. (*Get it? Fielding? Little baseball pun there. It's well known that The Baseball Gods love baseball puns.) The team didn't look "for real" last night against the Astros and Justin Verlander, but Verlander clearly has some celestial blood running through his veins. He's 39, coming off Tommy John surgery, leads MLB in innings pitched, and has a 1.55 ERA. If that doesn't whisper "demigod," you deserve whatever wrath those Divine Deities of the Diamond throw your way. But despite last night, the Twins are for real. I won't suggest the path will be an easy one because I don't want to assume that the Twins players won't continue to drop like flies. (The Baseball Gods hate it when you assume your team's players won't drop like flies.) And because The Baseball Gods love stats (they work overtime devising new stats), let's look at a few. Twins run differential +35 Runs are the currency by which wins are purchased. I think Bill James wrote that, and if so, I'm sure it'll be referenced when The Baseball Gods consider him for Assumption. Runs tend to stay in sync with win-loss records. If they don't, one or the other is likely to adjust. But they're in lockstep for the Twins. Given how many 1-run games the Twins have recently won (seven in a row), they might feel like they're getting a little lucky. And they are. The crazy endings versus the White Sox and Tigers were undoubtedly The Baseball Gods entertaining themselves. But their run differential, which ranks third in the American League, suggests the team is also pretty good. Twins record vs teams better than .500 = 5-3 Doubters love to look at a team's record against winning teams, but the Twins are one of only three teams better than .500 versus winning teams. That can be a tricky stat. Some teams go back and forth over that line. For instance, the Twins are 3-0 versus the White Sox, who are precisely .500 when I'm writing this. If they win one more game, the Twins' record improves to 8-3, which is even better. AL Central's cumulative record = 12 games below .500 The Baseball God hate taking opponents for granted. But they also hate the hubris that can result from leading a bad division. So let's be clear: the AL Central is bad. The Twins need to take advantage of that. The Twins get to play 67 more games against the worst division in the American League. Finishing atop that division doesn't guarantee any postseason success (a fact that The Baseball Gods have emphasized mercilessly for the Twins' last 18 postseason games), but it still punches a postseason ticket. The news gets better. There are also three Wild Card teams in the postseason this year. While the Yankees, Rays, and Jays are scrapping, the Twins will be competing with the Guardians and White Sox for a high 80s win total. So put me in the "cautiously optimistic" category about the Twins' chances this year because that is as high a category as The Baseball Gods condone. It might even be too high. (After all, they were already merciful once in that category. Remember, we were "cautiously optimistic" about Buxton's knee.) But to be safe, let's sit and watch and enjoy the season. The Baseball Gods love that.
  16. Aaron and John talk about the Twins' streak of one-run wins, Carlos Correa's injury and Royce Lewis' debut, Jose Miranda stepping in for Miguel Sano, Gilberto Celestino swimming instead of sinking, and Josh Winder and Jhoan Duran remaking the pitching staff on the fly. You can listen by downloading us from iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio or find it at GleemanAndTheGeek.com. Or just click this link. View full article
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