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jorgenswest

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  1. Like
    jorgenswest got a reaction from Dman for a blog entry, Two Wild Cards: Luis Gil and Dakota Chalmers   
    In the spring of 2018 the Twins traded Luis Gil for Jake Cave. At the time of the trade Luis Gil had been in the Twin organization since 2015. He had thrown 65 innings over those three years with 73 strike outs and 46 walks. He did not pitch due to a shoulder injury in 2016 and had yet to pitch in rookie ball. He did not make Seth Stoh's 2018 prospect handbook. He did have a big fastball.
     
    In July of that season the Twins traded Fernando Rodney for Dakota Chalmers. Chalmers was injured at the time of the trade. He had been in the Yankee organization since 2015. He had thrown 121 innings over those years with 137 strikeouts and 91 walks. He would not pitch due to Tommy John surgery in 2018 and had yet to pitch above Low A.
     
    They have some similarities.
    They both had injuries that caused them to lose a season.
    They both had big strike out and walk numbers early on.
    They both needed to be put on the 40 man roster this off season and start their options clock.

    Keith Law ranked Luis Gil as the Yankees 14th prospect writing...
     
    He was ranked 5th in the MLB pipeline and 10th by Fangraphs.
     
    Keith Law ranked Dakota Chalmers as the 19th best prospect writing...
     
    He was ranked 23rd in the MLB pipeline and unranked by Fangraphs.
     
    Here is a recent article on Chalmers from Baseball America following his successful AFL season.
     
    Both have significant command issues as shown. Both look to be relievers. Luis Gil will be 22 this year and likely needs to start in High A where he has only three games of experience. He has three options to figure out the strike zone and gain experience at the higher levels. Dakota Chalmers is 23. He will likely start in AA. He also has three options to gain command of his pitches.
     
    The Twins acquired Jake Cave for Luis Gil. He has given the 2.3 fWAR as their 4th outfielder in two seasons. The Twins have 4 more seasons of control.
     
    The Twins traded Fernando Rodney to acquire Dakota Chalmers. They gave up control through 2019. Rodney netted -0.1 fWAR for the A's before he was released and then part of the Nationals World Series team (0.5 fWAR).
     
    Would you trade Chalmers for Gil today?
     
    Chalmers is closer. He might help in the pen this year if the Twins went that direction with him. Gil will likely start the year in high A and still be given the chance to be a starter. His value to the Yankees would be to show better control in the first half as a starter and then moving him at the deadline. Gil is further away with a history of shoulder trouble. Any injury set back and it is hard to imagine that he will be ready before his options run out. I will be interested in where they both start and whether Chalmers is in the pen or rotation.
     
    I would probably trade Chalmers for Gil. I like the upside of that arm and the possibility of having that trade piece at the deadline. Chalmers may be ready to help this year though. I see them both in a similar place as pitchers with a history of arm trouble, swing and miss stuff and command issues. They both need spots on the 40. In the moments when I regret the trade of Gil for Cave I need to remember appreciating the acquiring Chalmers for Rodney.
  2. Like
    jorgenswest got a reaction from birdwatcher for a blog entry, Two Wild Cards: Luis Gil and Dakota Chalmers   
    In the spring of 2018 the Twins traded Luis Gil for Jake Cave. At the time of the trade Luis Gil had been in the Twin organization since 2015. He had thrown 65 innings over those three years with 73 strike outs and 46 walks. He did not pitch due to a shoulder injury in 2016 and had yet to pitch in rookie ball. He did not make Seth Stoh's 2018 prospect handbook. He did have a big fastball.
     
    In July of that season the Twins traded Fernando Rodney for Dakota Chalmers. Chalmers was injured at the time of the trade. He had been in the Yankee organization since 2015. He had thrown 121 innings over those years with 137 strikeouts and 91 walks. He would not pitch due to Tommy John surgery in 2018 and had yet to pitch above Low A.
     
    They have some similarities.
    They both had injuries that caused them to lose a season.
    They both had big strike out and walk numbers early on.
    They both needed to be put on the 40 man roster this off season and start their options clock.

    Keith Law ranked Luis Gil as the Yankees 14th prospect writing...
     
    He was ranked 5th in the MLB pipeline and 10th by Fangraphs.
     
    Keith Law ranked Dakota Chalmers as the 19th best prospect writing...
     
    He was ranked 23rd in the MLB pipeline and unranked by Fangraphs.
     
    Here is a recent article on Chalmers from Baseball America following his successful AFL season.
     
    Both have significant command issues as shown. Both look to be relievers. Luis Gil will be 22 this year and likely needs to start in High A where he has only three games of experience. He has three options to figure out the strike zone and gain experience at the higher levels. Dakota Chalmers is 23. He will likely start in AA. He also has three options to gain command of his pitches.
     
    The Twins acquired Jake Cave for Luis Gil. He has given the 2.3 fWAR as their 4th outfielder in two seasons. The Twins have 4 more seasons of control.
     
    The Twins traded Fernando Rodney to acquire Dakota Chalmers. They gave up control through 2019. Rodney netted -0.1 fWAR for the A's before he was released and then part of the Nationals World Series team (0.5 fWAR).
     
    Would you trade Chalmers for Gil today?
     
    Chalmers is closer. He might help in the pen this year if the Twins went that direction with him. Gil will likely start the year in high A and still be given the chance to be a starter. His value to the Yankees would be to show better control in the first half as a starter and then moving him at the deadline. Gil is further away with a history of shoulder trouble. Any injury set back and it is hard to imagine that he will be ready before his options run out. I will be interested in where they both start and whether Chalmers is in the pen or rotation.
     
    I would probably trade Chalmers for Gil. I like the upside of that arm and the possibility of having that trade piece at the deadline. Chalmers may be ready to help this year though. I see them both in a similar place as pitchers with a history of arm trouble, swing and miss stuff and command issues. They both need spots on the 40. In the moments when I regret the trade of Gil for Cave I need to remember appreciating the acquiring Chalmers for Rodney.
  3. Like
    jorgenswest got a reaction from nclahammer for a blog entry, Two Wild Cards: Luis Gil and Dakota Chalmers   
    In the spring of 2018 the Twins traded Luis Gil for Jake Cave. At the time of the trade Luis Gil had been in the Twin organization since 2015. He had thrown 65 innings over those three years with 73 strike outs and 46 walks. He did not pitch due to a shoulder injury in 2016 and had yet to pitch in rookie ball. He did not make Seth Stoh's 2018 prospect handbook. He did have a big fastball.
     
    In July of that season the Twins traded Fernando Rodney for Dakota Chalmers. Chalmers was injured at the time of the trade. He had been in the Yankee organization since 2015. He had thrown 121 innings over those years with 137 strikeouts and 91 walks. He would not pitch due to Tommy John surgery in 2018 and had yet to pitch above Low A.
     
    They have some similarities.
    They both had injuries that caused them to lose a season.
    They both had big strike out and walk numbers early on.
    They both needed to be put on the 40 man roster this off season and start their options clock.

    Keith Law ranked Luis Gil as the Yankees 14th prospect writing...
     
    He was ranked 5th in the MLB pipeline and 10th by Fangraphs.
     
    Keith Law ranked Dakota Chalmers as the 19th best prospect writing...
     
    He was ranked 23rd in the MLB pipeline and unranked by Fangraphs.
     
    Here is a recent article on Chalmers from Baseball America following his successful AFL season.
     
    Both have significant command issues as shown. Both look to be relievers. Luis Gil will be 22 this year and likely needs to start in High A where he has only three games of experience. He has three options to figure out the strike zone and gain experience at the higher levels. Dakota Chalmers is 23. He will likely start in AA. He also has three options to gain command of his pitches.
     
    The Twins acquired Jake Cave for Luis Gil. He has given the 2.3 fWAR as their 4th outfielder in two seasons. The Twins have 4 more seasons of control.
     
    The Twins traded Fernando Rodney to acquire Dakota Chalmers. They gave up control through 2019. Rodney netted -0.1 fWAR for the A's before he was released and then part of the Nationals World Series team (0.5 fWAR).
     
    Would you trade Chalmers for Gil today?
     
    Chalmers is closer. He might help in the pen this year if the Twins went that direction with him. Gil will likely start the year in high A and still be given the chance to be a starter. His value to the Yankees would be to show better control in the first half as a starter and then moving him at the deadline. Gil is further away with a history of shoulder trouble. Any injury set back and it is hard to imagine that he will be ready before his options run out. I will be interested in where they both start and whether Chalmers is in the pen or rotation.
     
    I would probably trade Chalmers for Gil. I like the upside of that arm and the possibility of having that trade piece at the deadline. Chalmers may be ready to help this year though. I see them both in a similar place as pitchers with a history of arm trouble, swing and miss stuff and command issues. They both need spots on the 40. In the moments when I regret the trade of Gil for Cave I need to remember appreciating the acquiring Chalmers for Rodney.
  4. Like
    jorgenswest got a reaction from mikelink45 for a blog entry, Baldelli and Line Ups: Which Twin has faced the best pitching?   
    I became interested in the Astudillo discussion in the resting players topic and wondered about Astudillo's use. I have been thinking about this since his critical hit against Matt Barnes in the Red Sox series.
     
    Matt Barnes is a right handed pitcher with the highest k/9 rate in the AL and nearly the highest AL k-rate at 38%. The Twins are tied with the Red Sox 1-1 in the 7th inning. Miguel Sano is in scoring position with two outs. The Twins have 1 hit through 6 2/3. Jonathan Schoop is coming to the plate and in comes Matt Barnes. It is time to pinch hit with a left handed batter or so I thought. They have Polanco and Wade on the bench. They also have Astudillo. Astudillo? Why Astudillo? Kepler is up next. Let's get someone on base. Polanco or Wade must be a better choice. I was certain.
     
    Astudillo slaps a single to right field for the Twins second and last hit of the game. The Twins hold on to win 2-1. Lucky decision on Baldelli's part I muttered. The moment stuck with me though. I wondered... "When does Baldelli choose to use Astudillo?"
     
    With the help of Baseball Prospectus I looked to the quality of opposing pitcher for each Twin hitter with over 100 PAs. We have heard that the line ups are well thought out and planned. Maybe some hitters have faced a more difficult set of pitchers by design.
     
    Not surprisingly the typical pitcher faced profile for a Twin hitter is Polanco. He plays the most. The opposing pitchers he has faced have allowed a .770 OPS resulting in a 105 oppRPA+. More than half of the Twin hitters bunch in the interquartile range of 104-106. Only one Twin batter has faced better than league average opposing pitching this year with a 99 oppRPA+. Willians Astudillo. Astudillo's 746 oppOPS is two standard deviations away from the typical opposing pitcher faced. I don't think this happens by accident or randomly. Baldelli must either be choosing to play Astudillo against more difficult pitching or at least choosing to rest players against a more difficult pitcher.
     
    If you are still reading and curious the Twin closest to Astudillo is Arraez at .751 and the only other Twin more than a standard deviation away in this direction. There are two Twins on the opposite end though not near as far from center as Astudillo. Marwin Gonzalez (.779) and Byron Buxton (.781) have seen the pitchers who have given up the highest OPS to the hitters they have faced.
     
    Does this or should this give us a different impression on Astudillo's performance at the plate this year?
  5. Like
    jorgenswest got a reaction from ToddlerHarmon for a blog entry, Baldelli and Line Ups: Which Twin has faced the best pitching?   
    I became interested in the Astudillo discussion in the resting players topic and wondered about Astudillo's use. I have been thinking about this since his critical hit against Matt Barnes in the Red Sox series.
     
    Matt Barnes is a right handed pitcher with the highest k/9 rate in the AL and nearly the highest AL k-rate at 38%. The Twins are tied with the Red Sox 1-1 in the 7th inning. Miguel Sano is in scoring position with two outs. The Twins have 1 hit through 6 2/3. Jonathan Schoop is coming to the plate and in comes Matt Barnes. It is time to pinch hit with a left handed batter or so I thought. They have Polanco and Wade on the bench. They also have Astudillo. Astudillo? Why Astudillo? Kepler is up next. Let's get someone on base. Polanco or Wade must be a better choice. I was certain.
     
    Astudillo slaps a single to right field for the Twins second and last hit of the game. The Twins hold on to win 2-1. Lucky decision on Baldelli's part I muttered. The moment stuck with me though. I wondered... "When does Baldelli choose to use Astudillo?"
     
    With the help of Baseball Prospectus I looked to the quality of opposing pitcher for each Twin hitter with over 100 PAs. We have heard that the line ups are well thought out and planned. Maybe some hitters have faced a more difficult set of pitchers by design.
     
    Not surprisingly the typical pitcher faced profile for a Twin hitter is Polanco. He plays the most. The opposing pitchers he has faced have allowed a .770 OPS resulting in a 105 oppRPA+. More than half of the Twin hitters bunch in the interquartile range of 104-106. Only one Twin batter has faced better than league average opposing pitching this year with a 99 oppRPA+. Willians Astudillo. Astudillo's 746 oppOPS is two standard deviations away from the typical opposing pitcher faced. I don't think this happens by accident or randomly. Baldelli must either be choosing to play Astudillo against more difficult pitching or at least choosing to rest players against a more difficult pitcher.
     
    If you are still reading and curious the Twin closest to Astudillo is Arraez at .751 and the only other Twin more than a standard deviation away in this direction. There are two Twins on the opposite end though not near as far from center as Astudillo. Marwin Gonzalez (.779) and Byron Buxton (.781) have seen the pitchers who have given up the highest OPS to the hitters they have faced.
     
    Does this or should this give us a different impression on Astudillo's performance at the plate this year?
  6. Like
    jorgenswest got a reaction from Wizard11 for a blog entry, Baldelli and Line Ups: Which Twin has faced the best pitching?   
    I became interested in the Astudillo discussion in the resting players topic and wondered about Astudillo's use. I have been thinking about this since his critical hit against Matt Barnes in the Red Sox series.
     
    Matt Barnes is a right handed pitcher with the highest k/9 rate in the AL and nearly the highest AL k-rate at 38%. The Twins are tied with the Red Sox 1-1 in the 7th inning. Miguel Sano is in scoring position with two outs. The Twins have 1 hit through 6 2/3. Jonathan Schoop is coming to the plate and in comes Matt Barnes. It is time to pinch hit with a left handed batter or so I thought. They have Polanco and Wade on the bench. They also have Astudillo. Astudillo? Why Astudillo? Kepler is up next. Let's get someone on base. Polanco or Wade must be a better choice. I was certain.
     
    Astudillo slaps a single to right field for the Twins second and last hit of the game. The Twins hold on to win 2-1. Lucky decision on Baldelli's part I muttered. The moment stuck with me though. I wondered... "When does Baldelli choose to use Astudillo?"
     
    With the help of Baseball Prospectus I looked to the quality of opposing pitcher for each Twin hitter with over 100 PAs. We have heard that the line ups are well thought out and planned. Maybe some hitters have faced a more difficult set of pitchers by design.
     
    Not surprisingly the typical pitcher faced profile for a Twin hitter is Polanco. He plays the most. The opposing pitchers he has faced have allowed a .770 OPS resulting in a 105 oppRPA+. More than half of the Twin hitters bunch in the interquartile range of 104-106. Only one Twin batter has faced better than league average opposing pitching this year with a 99 oppRPA+. Willians Astudillo. Astudillo's 746 oppOPS is two standard deviations away from the typical opposing pitcher faced. I don't think this happens by accident or randomly. Baldelli must either be choosing to play Astudillo against more difficult pitching or at least choosing to rest players against a more difficult pitcher.
     
    If you are still reading and curious the Twin closest to Astudillo is Arraez at .751 and the only other Twin more than a standard deviation away in this direction. There are two Twins on the opposite end though not near as far from center as Astudillo. Marwin Gonzalez (.779) and Byron Buxton (.781) have seen the pitchers who have given up the highest OPS to the hitters they have faced.
     
    Does this or should this give us a different impression on Astudillo's performance at the plate this year?
  7. Like
    jorgenswest got a reaction from bighat for a blog entry, Baldelli and Line Ups: Which Twin has faced the best pitching?   
    I became interested in the Astudillo discussion in the resting players topic and wondered about Astudillo's use. I have been thinking about this since his critical hit against Matt Barnes in the Red Sox series.
     
    Matt Barnes is a right handed pitcher with the highest k/9 rate in the AL and nearly the highest AL k-rate at 38%. The Twins are tied with the Red Sox 1-1 in the 7th inning. Miguel Sano is in scoring position with two outs. The Twins have 1 hit through 6 2/3. Jonathan Schoop is coming to the plate and in comes Matt Barnes. It is time to pinch hit with a left handed batter or so I thought. They have Polanco and Wade on the bench. They also have Astudillo. Astudillo? Why Astudillo? Kepler is up next. Let's get someone on base. Polanco or Wade must be a better choice. I was certain.
     
    Astudillo slaps a single to right field for the Twins second and last hit of the game. The Twins hold on to win 2-1. Lucky decision on Baldelli's part I muttered. The moment stuck with me though. I wondered... "When does Baldelli choose to use Astudillo?"
     
    With the help of Baseball Prospectus I looked to the quality of opposing pitcher for each Twin hitter with over 100 PAs. We have heard that the line ups are well thought out and planned. Maybe some hitters have faced a more difficult set of pitchers by design.
     
    Not surprisingly the typical pitcher faced profile for a Twin hitter is Polanco. He plays the most. The opposing pitchers he has faced have allowed a .770 OPS resulting in a 105 oppRPA+. More than half of the Twin hitters bunch in the interquartile range of 104-106. Only one Twin batter has faced better than league average opposing pitching this year with a 99 oppRPA+. Willians Astudillo. Astudillo's 746 oppOPS is two standard deviations away from the typical opposing pitcher faced. I don't think this happens by accident or randomly. Baldelli must either be choosing to play Astudillo against more difficult pitching or at least choosing to rest players against a more difficult pitcher.
     
    If you are still reading and curious the Twin closest to Astudillo is Arraez at .751 and the only other Twin more than a standard deviation away in this direction. There are two Twins on the opposite end though not near as far from center as Astudillo. Marwin Gonzalez (.779) and Byron Buxton (.781) have seen the pitchers who have given up the highest OPS to the hitters they have faced.
     
    Does this or should this give us a different impression on Astudillo's performance at the plate this year?
  8. Like
    jorgenswest got a reaction from woolywoolhouse for a blog entry, Baldelli and Line Ups: Which Twin has faced the best pitching?   
    I became interested in the Astudillo discussion in the resting players topic and wondered about Astudillo's use. I have been thinking about this since his critical hit against Matt Barnes in the Red Sox series.
     
    Matt Barnes is a right handed pitcher with the highest k/9 rate in the AL and nearly the highest AL k-rate at 38%. The Twins are tied with the Red Sox 1-1 in the 7th inning. Miguel Sano is in scoring position with two outs. The Twins have 1 hit through 6 2/3. Jonathan Schoop is coming to the plate and in comes Matt Barnes. It is time to pinch hit with a left handed batter or so I thought. They have Polanco and Wade on the bench. They also have Astudillo. Astudillo? Why Astudillo? Kepler is up next. Let's get someone on base. Polanco or Wade must be a better choice. I was certain.
     
    Astudillo slaps a single to right field for the Twins second and last hit of the game. The Twins hold on to win 2-1. Lucky decision on Baldelli's part I muttered. The moment stuck with me though. I wondered... "When does Baldelli choose to use Astudillo?"
     
    With the help of Baseball Prospectus I looked to the quality of opposing pitcher for each Twin hitter with over 100 PAs. We have heard that the line ups are well thought out and planned. Maybe some hitters have faced a more difficult set of pitchers by design.
     
    Not surprisingly the typical pitcher faced profile for a Twin hitter is Polanco. He plays the most. The opposing pitchers he has faced have allowed a .770 OPS resulting in a 105 oppRPA+. More than half of the Twin hitters bunch in the interquartile range of 104-106. Only one Twin batter has faced better than league average opposing pitching this year with a 99 oppRPA+. Willians Astudillo. Astudillo's 746 oppOPS is two standard deviations away from the typical opposing pitcher faced. I don't think this happens by accident or randomly. Baldelli must either be choosing to play Astudillo against more difficult pitching or at least choosing to rest players against a more difficult pitcher.
     
    If you are still reading and curious the Twin closest to Astudillo is Arraez at .751 and the only other Twin more than a standard deviation away in this direction. There are two Twins on the opposite end though not near as far from center as Astudillo. Marwin Gonzalez (.779) and Byron Buxton (.781) have seen the pitchers who have given up the highest OPS to the hitters they have faced.
     
    Does this or should this give us a different impression on Astudillo's performance at the plate this year?
  9. Like
    jorgenswest got a reaction from Hosken Bombo Disco for a blog entry, Baldelli and Line Ups: Which Twin has faced the best pitching?   
    I became interested in the Astudillo discussion in the resting players topic and wondered about Astudillo's use. I have been thinking about this since his critical hit against Matt Barnes in the Red Sox series.
     
    Matt Barnes is a right handed pitcher with the highest k/9 rate in the AL and nearly the highest AL k-rate at 38%. The Twins are tied with the Red Sox 1-1 in the 7th inning. Miguel Sano is in scoring position with two outs. The Twins have 1 hit through 6 2/3. Jonathan Schoop is coming to the plate and in comes Matt Barnes. It is time to pinch hit with a left handed batter or so I thought. They have Polanco and Wade on the bench. They also have Astudillo. Astudillo? Why Astudillo? Kepler is up next. Let's get someone on base. Polanco or Wade must be a better choice. I was certain.
     
    Astudillo slaps a single to right field for the Twins second and last hit of the game. The Twins hold on to win 2-1. Lucky decision on Baldelli's part I muttered. The moment stuck with me though. I wondered... "When does Baldelli choose to use Astudillo?"
     
    With the help of Baseball Prospectus I looked to the quality of opposing pitcher for each Twin hitter with over 100 PAs. We have heard that the line ups are well thought out and planned. Maybe some hitters have faced a more difficult set of pitchers by design.
     
    Not surprisingly the typical pitcher faced profile for a Twin hitter is Polanco. He plays the most. The opposing pitchers he has faced have allowed a .770 OPS resulting in a 105 oppRPA+. More than half of the Twin hitters bunch in the interquartile range of 104-106. Only one Twin batter has faced better than league average opposing pitching this year with a 99 oppRPA+. Willians Astudillo. Astudillo's 746 oppOPS is two standard deviations away from the typical opposing pitcher faced. I don't think this happens by accident or randomly. Baldelli must either be choosing to play Astudillo against more difficult pitching or at least choosing to rest players against a more difficult pitcher.
     
    If you are still reading and curious the Twin closest to Astudillo is Arraez at .751 and the only other Twin more than a standard deviation away in this direction. There are two Twins on the opposite end though not near as far from center as Astudillo. Marwin Gonzalez (.779) and Byron Buxton (.781) have seen the pitchers who have given up the highest OPS to the hitters they have faced.
     
    Does this or should this give us a different impression on Astudillo's performance at the plate this year?
  10. Like
    jorgenswest reacted to Heezy1323 for a blog entry, Biceps Tendinitis Q&A   
    Biceps Tendinitis in Pitchers Q&A
    Heezy1323
     
     
    A request was made by a poster for me to write a blog covering biceps tendinitis. This is actually a fairly complicated topic with quite a bit of controversy, but I’ll do my best to share some basic info that hopefully TD peeps will find interesting. There are some technical parts, so apologies for that, but I do think a basic understanding of the anatomy is helpful.
     
    Question 1: What is the biceps, exactly?
     
    The biceps is a muscle that we are likely all familiar with, lying in the front of the upper arm and used to perform curls and similar exercises. The word ‘biceps’ has a Latin origin meaning ‘two heads’. This describes the upper (or proximal) end of the biceps where there are two tendon attachments.
     
    The first is the long head of the biceps which attaches to the labrum at the top of the socket in the shoulder. It then curves over the top of the ball (humeral head) where it exits the shoulder joint and begins its course down the front of the upper arm bone (humerus). At the front of the shoulder joint, it travels through what is called the ‘bicipital groove’ which is an area of the bone of the humerus between two bumps (called tuberosities). This groove is often the site of issues in pitchers (more on this below).
     


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


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


     
    Question 4: How does the player/medical staff separate this injury from other issues that can seem very similar?
     
    This can be VERY difficult. Often the player will have pain at the front of the shoulder (in cases of proximal biceps tendinitis) or just above the elbow (in distal cases). A thorough history and exam is performed in order to hone in on the likely problem area.
     
    An MRI is ordered in some cases. One of the challenges with this type of issue is that in many cases, an MRI of a pitcher already has some abnormalities on it which are likely adaptive and have been present for a long time (and are not the actual cause of pain). In addition, in many cases the inflammation around the bicep isn’t something that can be clearly seen on MRI. So interpreting imaging studies can be a significant challenge.
     
    Usually the exam is (in my experience) the most helpful thing in recognizing biceps tendinitis when it is present. The athlete is usually tender right in the area of the tendon, which is a helpful finding.
     
    Question 5: Once a pitcher is diagnosed with biceps tendinitis, how are they treated?
     
    Again, there are a lot of variables here. But presuming it is significant enough to affect the performance of the pitcher, they would typically be shut down for a period of time to prevent worsening of the condition. Anti-inflammatory medication may be used. In some cases, injections of cortisone are used to try and decrease the inflammation.
     
    With the recent increases in the use of technology, video may be consulted to see if there have been subtle mechanical changes which may have contributed to the issue. Muscle strength can also be tested in various areas around the shoulder to see if weakness is contributing.
     
    In essentially all cases, a rehab program will begin that is likely to include strength and flexibility components. When the pain has subsided, a return to throwing program is begun and once complete, the athlete can return to play.
    A group out of Mayo Clinic (led by Dr. Chris Camp) recently did a study of pro baseball players (minor and major league) and causes of injury over a several year period. Tendinitis of the proximal biceps was actually the #4 cause of injury with an average return to play time of about 22 days.
     
    Question 6: Is surgery ever needed?
     
    It is quite uncommon for surgery to be needed for this issue. In fact, in Dr. Camp’s study above surgery was only required in 3% of cases of proximal biceps tendinitis. So clearly most of these cases improve with non-surgical treatment. In addition, surgery for this particular issue has a fairly poor track record and is avoided if at all possible.
     
    Question 7: What can be done to prevent biceps tendinitis?
     
    Great question, reader. If I knew the answer, we could likely both be millionaires given how common this injury is and the dollar figures involved when a high-priced starter or reliever is on the shelf for this reason.
     
    Generally, I believe monitoring the workload of pitchers through the season, doing what you can to ensure they maintain a good off-season program and having a good line of communication with the players are all important. As video analysis and other analytic measures become more popular, my hope is that they can be incorporated into injury prevention as well.
     
    Thanks for humoring me on this complex topic. Please feel free to add a request for a future subject in the comments. GO TWINS!!
  11. Like
    jorgenswest reacted to Thrylos for a blog entry, Live from Fort Myers: Twins Spring Training Notes: 3/15/2019   
    Originally published at The Tenth Inning Stretch
    -----
    As always you can find all the entries in this series in reverse chronological order here.
     
    Here are my notes from the last couple days of Twins' Spring Training games:


    The home games yesterday and today could not be any dissimilar other than the attendance. It sucked both days with about 1/3 of the ballpark empty and about 6,000some tickets sold only. The abbreviated Spring Training and the pushing up of the opening day really made fans from all teams less reluctant to come down South because it effectively took a whole week away. I hope that MLB will reconsider that next season.

    Martin Perez and Michael Pineda yesterday and today were at different stages of readiness: Perez was all over the place with his command, even though his fastball hit 97 at the Hammond Stadium radar, whereas Pineda had pinpoint control and a no-hitter into 4 until Ehire Adrianza's unfortunately wide throw at first allowed a Pirate hitter today. Pineda's fastball was at 93/94 all day long.

    I think that the Twins' bench is done: Lucas Duda will opt out as soon as he can and Ehire Adrianza, Tyler Austin, and Willians Astrudillo will be the Twins' bench to start the season. They all homered today btw. Astrudillo played at LF and was more surehanded out there than several of other Twins I have seen play the position (Josh Willingham, Delmon Young, Oswaldo Arcia, etc) in the recent memory.

    Mark my words: Preston Guilmet is not making the Twins and will be hard pressed to make the Rochester team. Pretty horrible presence all over today.

    SS prospect Wander Javier (who left today's game with a hamstring tightness) started both home games at shortstop and showed why he is a top prospect with both his bat and glove. Same with Trevor Larnach who homered last night and Brent Rooker who held on his own today. Javier after missing all season with a non-throwing shoulder surgery looks like he is finally filling up and popped up a few inches. He looks a lot like Miguel Sano did that age (20)

    Addison Reed had yet another horrible appearance yesterday. I would have said that he is done before I saw Blake Parker pitch pretty awfully today. This pen is for sure concerning.

  12. Like
    jorgenswest reacted to dave_dw for a blog entry, Can Someone Please Wear #4 Now?   
    With the announcement that Marwin Gonzalez signed with the Minnesota Twins, there was optimism in the Twin Cities. Optimism that he could be the missing piece. Hope that he would fill in the gaps on the roster.
     
    But he failed.
     
    No, I’m not talking his fielding or his hitting. I’m not talking about a need to improve the pitching staff. Heck, I’m not talking about baseball performance at all. I am talking about numbers.
     
    No one is wearing the number 4.
     
    Gonzalez selected to wear the #9 that he has worn his whole career, bumping bench coach Derek Shelton into a numberless purgatory according to the team's official roster online.
     
    In the MLB, #4 is prime real estate. Not counting Jackie Robinson's #42, only two numbers have been retired more often than #4 which has been retired by eight different teams. The #20 has been retired 11 times (thanks largely to Frank Robinson being honored by three different teams), and the #14 has been retired nine times. So the #4 has plenty of legitimate baseball history attached to it in the form of Lou Gehrig, Luke Appling, Duke Snider, Mel Ott, Earl Weaver, and—likely the reason why the number is vacant—Paul Molitor.
     
    Molitor reclaimed his old number during his four years as Twins manager which came to an end last October. He also wore #4 throughout his three-year stint with Minnesota as a player from 1996 until his retirement in 1998.
     

    In the 20 years since 1998, the #4 has only been worn by one Twins player.


     
    Augie Ojeda, a glove-first utility infielder, donned #4 in 2004 during his 30-game stint with the club. He was often a defensive replacement or pinch hitter/runner, but he hit for a Molitorian .339 batting average with a .429 on-base percentage as he amassed an unfathomable 1.2 WAR over just 72 plate appearance for Minnesota. Not too shabby for a career .234 hitter in his age-29 season.
     
    But that was it. Before Molitor took the number in 1996, a Twins player had worn it in every of the previous 15 seasons. It was first worn in Minnesota by Bob Allison in 1961 after the team relocated from Washington, D.C. It is said that Allison was the motivation for Molitor (who grew up the Twin Cities) to take #4 in the first place since he emulated Allison in his youth. After Allison, the #4 was worn by Steve Braun (1971-1975), Steve Lombardozzi (1985-1988), Chip Hale (1990-1995) and four others before Molitor bumped Hale to #12 when he joined the club.
     
    Surely there was some decorum following Molitor’s retirement in 1998, similar to what we're seeing with Freddy Galvis and Jose Bautista's #19, and we’re probably seeing the same thing with Molitor now following his managerial stint. That said, the man played just three season for the Twins and managed for four uneventful years. If someone were to, say, write a book about the 50 most important men and moments in Twins history, Molitor may not even make the list (you'll have to buy it to find out)! Surely Molitor’s #4 won't be placed in the prestigious position below the Budweiser Roof Deck in the future.
     
    Who should take this number?
     
    Let's start with everyone who's wearing a terrible number. Jake Cave is wearing #60. Lay your claim to #4, young man! Tyler Austin, you’re not on the Yankees anymore, there are single-digit numbers in Minnesota that aren't retired yet! Willians Astudillo you can … actually #64 is a perfect number for you, keep on doing what you’re doing.
     
    And while it’s very unusual for pitchers to wear single-digit numbers—admittedly it looks a little weird—Matt Magill (#68) or Trevor May (#65), as well as any other reliever, should absolutely take the plunge. Think about how badass it would look for Rocco Baldelli to go to the mound, pat the pitcher on the keister, and hold up four fingers to the bullpen to call in his reliever (as long as they don’t get confused and walk the next batter).
     
    Perhaps as this season gives way to the inevitable cycle of major leaguers through the clubhouse, someone will squat on this valuable piece of numerical property. Or maybe a year-long, Molitor-honoring grace period will leave the number vacant for 2019. Either way, by this time next year, someone better be wearing #4 for the Minnesota Twins again.
  13. Like
    jorgenswest reacted to Thrylos for a blog entry, Live from Fort Myers: Twins Spring Training Notes: 3/13/2019   
    Originally published at The Tenth Inning Stretch
     
    ---
     
    As always you can find all the entries in this series in reverse chronological order here.
     
    Today was my first full day at Fort Myers and I did not make the trip across the highway to see the Twins play the Red Sox, but instead I went to the back fields where the Twins' high A and A squads faced the equivalent Rays' teams. Here are my notes from the day:
     

    Zack Littell started the high A game for the Twins and pitched for an inning. Before the game he was working on the pen with the Twins' assistant pitching coach Jeremy Hefner and the Twins' minor league catching coordinator Tanner Swanson on two things: Tweaking his delivery so he uses more of his hips than his shoulders and targeting the lower part of the zone (Swanson emphatically was pointing that the target should be the groin area.) His catcher, 20 year old Kidany Salva, was working on framing the low pitches as strikes, as is the direction throughout the organization. The approach worked in the game, since he got 3 ground ball outs, but let's not forget the competition level.
    In the game for the Twins there were high rated prospects, shortstops Royce Lewis and Wander Javier; however one prospect who is not a household name, had an eye opening performance: RHP Edwar (Eddie) Colina. The 21 year old Venezuelan who was signed as an 18 year old International Free Agent, put himself on the radar last season after pitching a no-hitter at Cedar Rapids. This spring, he ticked it up a few notches: His fastball that was plus, is now plus plus with a 97-99 mph velocity and wicked movement. His 84-85 mph changeup is a plus pitch and his 88-90 mph slider is average but flashes higher. All of his pitches have swing and miss potential and at this point he has two major league quality pitches. He made it as high as Fort Myers for two starts last season and he will likely start 2019 there as well, but keep an eye on him, he might finish the season in the majors. He was groomed as a starter and the Twins will keep him starting for as long as they can; however I believe that his future is at the end of the pen. He got a bit tired the 3rd inning of pitching (he pitched innings 2,3 and 4), loosing a couple of notches of his FB (down to 95-97) and some command. Have to remember that this was the first minor league game of Spring Training.
    The aforementioned Lewis and Javier, both coming from ailments of different severity squared at the ball well, and the looked pretty healthy. Lewis had a double and took a violent cut at a swing and miss without flinching, which makes me think that the oblique is healed.
    There were several interesting pitchers in the game: Undrafted free agent from 2017 big (6-7/245) 24-year old lefty Kevin Marnon showed some promise, but has to tighten his delivery. He is pretty deceptive and can be effective, especially against lefties. RHP Jared Finkel, the Twins' 17th round pick in 2017, is a side thrower with a 84-87 mph fastball, a 77-80 mph changeup and severe command issues. RHP Calvin Foucher, the 10th round pick in the same draft, throws overead and has a close to plus 77-81 mph hammer curve, but his fastball is flat one at 90-91 mph, and he has command issues, which is not a good combination. From the other field, which I did not pay much attention, RHP Andrew Cabezas, the 18th round pick of last year's draft, has a plus changeup that I absolutely have to see again, and LHP Zach Neff, the Twins' 31st round pick last season has a very deceptive delivery. A couple names that made my notebook.
    As far as position players went, in addition to the aforementioned, Lewis and Javier, there were a few other top ranked prospects: Yunior Severino has a really free swing and a couple of times lost the bat, once over the "dugout" cage. The 19 year old looks like an athlete, but is very raw and lacks discipline. Andrew Bechtold looks more like the tentative one from 2018 and not like the very good hitter of 2017. Tentativeness is the issue here. He just needs to be more aggressive. Not sure what to think of Trey Cabbage anymore. He is a first baseman now and has a hard time making contact. He will be 22 in two months and had an average season finally last year when he repeated Cedar Rapids, but I am afraid that the road is uphill for him. Trevor Casanova, the Twins 13th round pick last year had a very good presence as a catcher, but he made 2 bad throws at second base that should have been easy outs. First baseman Chris Williams, 8th round pick last season, was all business with the bat, hitting a bases clearing double. One to watch.
    In other news C Ben Rortvedt and another player I did not recognize in civvies, were carrying their equipment to the minor league locker rooms. They seem to be the next cuts from the big camp.
    Tomorrow I will be watching the Twins against the Nationals and will have additional insight on the major league club

  14. Like
    jorgenswest reacted to Sabir Aden for a blog entry, Rapid Fire Hot Takes on the Kepler-Polanco Extensions, and Stagnant Relief Pitcher Market   
    My Theoretical Mindset during the week;
    The status quo surrounding the Twins all offseason was their stubbornness and inability to commit to any outside assets (in free agency or on the trade block), yet until recently did the Twins finally break that narrative. But… they were in-house pieces. By committing to two sprightly and talented yet unproven stars, have they overplayed their hand on their future plans?
     
    The Twins right now are waltzing into what I would define as, a free-agency sweet spot. Where every added contributor would stabilize a liability, and boost their win total, which are at such a premium. The roster right now looks to be somewhere around the ballpark (lame pun not intended), to a potential spot in the postseason. Granted if nothing goes wrong (i.e injuries, supensions, curses) we could be staring towards a roster destined to secure a playoff, and readily prepared to be supplemented during the trade deadline. The added emphasis on a win or two or in the Twins case, blown-save-catastrophes-galore might end up sinking the ship when it comes to contention. If last year's bullpen collapses weren’t enough for you, I would say by far the Twins weakest position group lies in the most erratic, fragile and frail baseball clusters in all of baseball; the relievers.
     
    I spoke about this briefly in my last article, but what Keuchel or more importantly in Kimbrel possess is a semblance of stability so unprecedented that the last guy to be a stabilizer for us, is being inducted into our hall of fame. If we focus on Kimbrel in depth, the guy is as rare of a breed your ever going to find in the relief pitching industry. I’m not going to speak about Kimbrel in depth, but what really matters is that they both (Kimbrel and Keuchel) have walked the walks, and might play that kickstarter-trailblazer kinda player to get this steam boat sailing. Somehow the Twins front office has managed to finagle towards a somewhat competitive roster, and despite not committing to any external assets, keeping the books dry of anything, and keeping the payroll at or equal to ≈ 100 million is a remarkable feat, no doubt about it. But is it time for the Twins front office to relent and issue a blockbuster contract? That’s very debatable.
     
    Into the Nitty Gritty with Kepler and Polanco
    Here’s a basic 101 on how rookie contracts work:
    This rookie contract system is a focal point of the Collective Bargaining agreement and is tweaked and polished constantly, but it goes as follows;
     
    Typically ameuteur hitters agree to a contract with major league clubs coming out of school, or out of the states globally and major league clubs are given a 5 year window on either promoting the player, or releasing him. That promotion would then start the ticking on his 6-7 year free agency departure clock, and would stay with his team through his prime and peak years on a cheap deal, until he would reach free agency (expectedly after he would be years past his best seasons*). During his 3-4 year seasons, the players earns close to nothing on a athletic player scale (I say this because 500k seems like money heaven to me). If the team elects to let the player stick around, when the player hits his 5-7 year season he can contest for a slight raise, provided if both sides agree to a compromise. Until his 7th or 8th year does the player final get his rights to a free departure, and test the market for his free agency rights.
    *there are exception to this (Nelson Cruz etc).
     
    We’ve seen this philosophy catch some steam in the present, with several clubs purchasing the rights of players who aren’t “seasoned or proven”, and maybe haven’t even made it to the league in some cases. What this leaves fans to savor is team friendly-contracts sculpted to buyout years of arbitration, for a couple years of free agency. Theoretically, this consumes the prime or peak years from a player, but is it really worth it. Let’s take a look.
     
    *Tabulated according to Spotrac


    For Kepler and Polanco, we’re seeing a hike in annual pay, over the arbitration years that somewhat amount to as what the players would earn in full amount in free agency. Both Kepler and Polanco have received somewhat mildly-risky contracts. Both have underachieved in their time on the major league spectrum, and in Polanco's case been busted for doping with PEDS. These contracts (5yr, 35 mill & 5yr, 25 mill) aren’t going to hinder or cripple the Twins in the future. What I find to be quite interesting is that the Twins have a healthy and expanding prospect pipeline coursing with talent, and yet they still inclined to purchase the underwhelming services of Kepler and Polanco. According to my fortune predictor (oh boy I’m talented fellow, yeet) these are the scenarios I see turning out. When the Twins finally open the window to a championship pursuit, either…
    Polanco and Kepler are shrewd bargains
    Or they both continue to lag Twins lineup, and logjam the outfield rotation (with prospects + Cave)
    I decided to input Scott Kingery, because I thought his situation with the Phillies is an excellent example of when jumping the gun isn’t as picture perfect as it might seem. His contract is nearly identical in terms with Polanco and Kepler, mainly because they have the same backfire caveats and loopholes in dispatching Kingery once he gets old. Kingery hasn’t developed as rapidly as one would expect his minor league numbers would indicate, and played to the tune of a NEGATIVE W.A.R!!! (-1.5). The Phils thought he would form a dynamite paring with Hoskins and the future skeleton of that team. Instead, Manager Gabe Kapler is juggling at-bats between Maikel Franco and Kingery, who are competing to “win or earn” third base. This just hits me clear in the head as when this doesn’t work as anticipated. Just some added insight….
     
    Both of these scenarios have their pros and cons. You might have to shuffle playing time between the chain of prospects and the fitful likes of Kepler, and/or Polanco. In this case you unload Kepler and/or Polanco for equitable return values, and propel prospects to replace them. Or both Kepler and Polanco emerge as building blocks and thrive, and you yield for a established major league chip, and supplement for an immediate push (hopefully sooner rather than later). The time tables are rough and tweakable, but both the former and latter are good problems to have.
     
    In my mind the extinction of the concept for paying someone for what they’re worth is truly baffling me. It strikes me as that teams are playing with fire and lottery tickets, and trying to pull a quick on the player/(s). The truth to the matter is they aren’t premising the agreement toward constructive proof but rather on whim, Lady Luck, and canniness. Even with the comprehensive and elaborate analytics (which I’m all for, frankly) I don’t think it’s plausible in the right shape of mind to predict someone future who hasn’t set a baseline for what their ascension might be. For all I know, Kepler could go and revert into a complete shell of himself and morph into the eternal spirit of Nick Punto. That might be a little far-fetched, but the guy hasn’t established himself as any kind of consistent regular. He isn’t a ‘proven’ left handed vs left handed hitter (granted he improved from his abysmal marks from a year ago, but there’s a lot more left to be desired). He could turn into a complete sponge against lefty’s, and be relegated to an exclusive platoon role against righties. He’s an admirable right-fielder whose play is fairly consistent, but nothing out-worldly ala The Buck. Could he be in line for a regression? I guess that’s up to him.
     
    Typically young players similar to Kepler and Polanco both experiences growing pains, and excruciatingly painful rough patches, but what usually leaves with people is that semblance of promise and hope that a player instills into a fanbase. Kepler and Polanco are by no means generational cornerstone players, but what Kepler and Polanco possess is that consistency a team as inconsistent as the Twins desperately needs. Every position has been a constantly rotating carousel of prospects, and the Twins decided to shore this up, by agreeing to terms with Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco each on intriguing multi year contract that speak to the mindset of the Falvine Front Office. I guess I’m playing Devil’s Advocate right now, because I’m sputtering trying to unravel their rationale.
     


     
    There aren’t many other motives for Kepler &co and Polanco &co not to reject these deal like this. This is guaranteed money your dealing with, and the signals and indicators in this suppressed markets wouldn’t sway them that they would command much more (or any offers at all) in the open market. I wanted to take a closer examination at Kepler’s logic in this, because I find much more faith in Polanco, RF is a much more vital to Target Field, and granted he got the more lucrative contract.
     
    In Kepler’s case, in some ways your betting with yourself; do you believe that Kepler would turn into a monster player and demand a lucrative contract, or do you settle with what in turn is an appealing and secure the offered multi year deal. It’s as playing with fire in the Twins perspective, and in light of him settling you could deconstruct this in either two way:
     
    1. I’m concerned that Kepler would settle with a buy-low contract like this and is satisfied with staying average
    2. Or the Twins got an absolute steal of a player.
     
    The downsides and upsides are obviously staring us in the eyes. The guys looks he’s a got plenty of a Major League regular’s tools, but the intangibles are worrisome to me. He looks flustered, and stoic at the plate. His demeanor is “I’m under radar, so don’t notice me”. But he’s got those flashes of phenom and potential like he could rake, on an at bat to at bat basis. He got a great, pretty left handed stroke (if that’s worth anything). During 2018, we saw, provided if he hunkers down and locks in that he could hit lefties and for power. 2018 was the year he exorcised those demons and the knocks of his same handed ineptness, and not to mention he’s an above average right fielder. That’s what scares me locking into a promising yet unproven commodity.
     
    I have hunch that Kepler’s in for a breakout, quasi- bounceback campaign. I conjured up 7 imperative objectives, if Kepler wants to exponentially improve, and turns his contrast into a bargain.
    Don’t regress
    Don’t becomes injured (is that harsh?)
    Rake and Clobber
    Don’t flail to back-foot breaking ball
    Keep Smoking the Ball (Guy is getting better over career)
    Keep hitting lefties,
    Let development take its course (don’t rush it)
    - I literally had this stray though, but what if players get mad at their annual salary and if they’re not getting due compensation, play below their abilities. In this case, does Kepler play to the boundary of his abilities?
     
    Just on a side tangent, I stumbled on something interesting when looking through Kepler’s Numbers…..
     




     
    I recall times last year that Kepler had his extreme cold spells and fits at the plate, and I wanted to see how much of this was a byproduct of bad luck. wOBA is simply a synthesized linear statistic where singles/walks are considered as a the primary building block, and incrementally scales a hit as for it’s due result. Expected wOBA is as self-explanatory as it sounds, and just express the quality of contact and how it yields to on field results. Their are some flaws to this that might apply to Kepler (for being left handed), but if a player scorches a frozen rope and persists to label it INTO THE SHIFT, xwOBA would flag that as an unlucky hit, even though the entire left side of the infield is just begging for a bunt down the left field line. This is what hinders the stat, and I haven’t found a way to quantify how much this action has tainted Kepler’s stat value. But other than that, the stat has enlightened me with some tell-tale suspicions that Kepler slumps have accentuated because of the fact he is inducing himself into slumps. I added Trout’s statistic because quite honestly, the guy is the poster boy of hitting and is a golden standard benchmark stat. The reason why we don’t see the traditional pronounced periodical slumps in Trout, (IMO) is because Trout has found a way to amplify his stretches of success, and mask the monstrosities of his slumps and skids, which help maintain sparkling wOBA’s. (Or maybe he’s just too good to be bad????)
     
    This is an excellent inherent trait to have, because...
    It’s a great sign of a confidence booster
    It reinforces & enhances your overall stat...➡️ (Solid+Amazing=Really Good)
    This all might be baloney, but I find it interesting that Kepler’s more distinct patches of droughts tend to follow the Expected wOBA. The thing is, events like this are very common young hitters, (Heck, in real life too). Kepler rides the Hot-Hand like a wave, but when he hits his lows he virtually touches rock bottom. I just find it intriguing that this kinda-gives us a view to Kepler’s psyche during this plate appearances, to my understanding. Is it that Kepler’s gloom and doom approach at the plate is making that his Expected wOBA mimics and dampens his wOBA? That’s the real question…...
     
    I bet my theory will get invalidated, but I think this hints toward some better and consistent productions from Kepler in this upcoming season. Maybe just a little forward thought, the vote of confidence upstairs, in this new contract, encouragement from the staff, and some years under the belt will aid Max in carving-it-up in the Bigs.
     
    But if Kepler gets better (which I’m all inclined to believe), and if his performance does ride along an expected course, Kepler’s 8th and 7th year salaries are at complete bargain bottom prices. I also believe to some minuscule or macroscopic level (or really anything in between), that this instills some motivation into players. Disregarding why people rip players who pale in comparison near nothing to the owners, it’s a vote of confidence from the Front Office. It’s not like them handing contracts is routine kinda thing, and it issues sort of closure or something close after all summer people were calling for their collective heads. I do like these contracts, if that’s what you came to read this for, but still believe (no matter how much the PR department iterates it), where Buxton and Sano go, so do the Twins. I do hope success for all these player because they will take the fall if everything crashes and burns. Both Sano and Buxton in my mind aren’t ever going to have a year of this magnitude to prove doubters and/or the FO they were destined for stardom. To make the postseason I think the Journey runs right square through Buxton and Sano cascades, and to qualify to the playoffs I think it’s unequivocally contingent if Sano and Buxton rise to the occasion.
     
    This all surmises to probably befuddling you more prior to reading my tyrade/spiel but let’s simplify into simpler terms; if Kepler plays at or near a 4-5 WAR per year,(which is roughly fringe all-star level) this contract is a boon for the Twins. It's a bust if Kepler plays to a 1-3 WAR level (because the Twins have plenty of role players to insert). This also applies to some degree with Polanco.
  15. Like
    jorgenswest reacted to mikelink45 for a blog entry, Cuba, the Twins, the wall, and the baseball connection   
    Today we have turned to the Dominican Republic like we used to look to Cuba. Nelson Cruz, Miguel Sano, Alaberto Mejia, Michael Pineda, Jorge Polanco, Fernando Romero, and Ervin Santana. We also have three from Venezuela. Perhaps the best way to get past the border wall is to hit a ball over it. In the past it was Cuba that was the birthplace of ballplayers.
     
    In the 1930s, Cuba like the rest of the world was trying to fight the depression and Cuban baseball, a main stay of their nation and a feeder system for baseball elsewhere was hurting. President Gerardo was overthrown and the dictator Bautista came in to power. The Cuban League was hurting but this winter league had talent - Cuban native Martín Dihigo and Negro League stars Ray Brown, Ray Dandridge, Josh Gibson and Willie Wells. Then after a 1947 agreement with the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues American clubs sent their top prospects across the Gulf of Mexico for more seasoning in winter ball.
     
    Minnie Miñoso, Camilo Pascual and Zoilo Versailes, Negro League stars like Monte Irvin and Don Newcombe and fresh-faced American prospects Jim Bunning, Tommy Lasorda and Brooks Robinson created one of the most stacked collections of baseball talent anywhere in the world. This was Cuban baseball and to Cuba, it was not the winter league, it was the major league with four teams all playing in the same stadium and competing for the national championship.
     
    But, of course, history and politics intervened, and a different dynamic took place. Our most important Cuban connections were probably in our very first years as a Twins team when Camilo Pascual, Pedro Ramos, Zoilo Versalles and Tony Oliva made our Cuban Connection. They were lucky to get out of Cuba before the two countries became such enemies that a player could not sign and leave. Lucky for the Twins or the 1965 World Series would not have happened.
     
    Tony's father was a cigar roller in Cuba who promoted his sons movement to the US to play ball. On his immigration papers he was listed as his 18 year old bother Pedro instead of the 21 year old Tony. He came over and changed his middle name to Pedro. He came to the US during 1961 spring training and had 7 hits in 10 at bats in the final three games of the spring, but the Twins decided their rosters were full and let him go. Luckily he went to Charlotte to train with a friend and the Charlotte GM, Phil Howser, called and convinced the Twins to sign him. He led the league with a 410 average.
     
    Versalles was signed in 1958 – before the Cuban revolution. Camilo Pascual was in US Professional Baseball in 1951 and Ramos by 1955. All of them missed our hatred of Cuba and the communist government.
     
    Cuba has also contributed to the HOF with Cepeda and Perez, but has great stars like Canseco, Pascual, Campenaris, Palmeiro, Luque, Cuellar, Minoso, and Tiant ( a Twin in 1969).
     
    In 2014 a Twins Daily post looked at all the Minnesota Twins Cuban players –
    ”Once upon a time, when I was young, the Twins were a team that had a lot of Cuban players. In 1961, six Cuban natives saw time on the Twins' roster, including All-Star Camilo Pascual and future MVP Zoilo Versalles. In 1962, two more Cubanos played for the Twins, one of them being Twins Hall-of-Famer Tony Oliva. All of these players left Cuba before Cuba was closed off to the US by Castro.
    In recent years, the Twins have had only one Cuban-born player, Livan Hernandez, who lasted less than a year as a member of the Twins' rotation.
    Here is a list of all Cuban-born (169) major league ballplayers:\
    http://www.baseball-...ce.php?loc=Cuba
    Here is my unofficial list of Cuban-born Twins: Julio Becquer, Leo Cardenas, Bert Cueto, Livan Hernandez, Hank Izquierdo, Marty Martinez, Tony Oliva, Camilo Pascual, Pedro Ramos, Jose Valdivielso, Sandy Valdespino, and Zoilo Versalles.
    All of this brings us to the Twins' newest acquisition, Kendrys Morales. He had been in the US long enough that I had forgotten that he was a Cuban defector. He would be the first position player from Cuba to play for the Twins in almost 40 years.” By stringer bell

    The revolution was understandable – Bautista was a terrible man and a terrible dictator and Castro was an unknown. “We heard bombs going off and we knew (Fidel) Castro was in the mountains, and Bautista was there,” said Brooks Robinson, a member of Cienfuegos in the winter of 1957, in an interview with the Hall of Fame, “but we would have a bomb go off in the city and then one went off behind the ballpark one time, so we knew there were some things happening.” https://baseballhall.org/discover/hall-of-famers-played-in-cuban-winter-league
     
    The Hall of Fame website recounts an part of Lasorta’s memoirs – THE ARTFUL DODGER, “When Castro took over the city on the first of January, me, Art Fowler and Bob Allison came out of a New Year's party with our wives, and it was 3:30 in the morning and I look up and three planes were flying overhead,” said Lasorda. “I said ‘Geez who in the world is flying at this time at night?’”
     
    The planes were carrying Batista and his cabinet as they fled the country. Then, Lasorda ended up having his own brush with Castro, when the new leader – a noted baseball aficionado – asked for a meeting with Almendares' star pitcher.
     
    “Howie Haak, the scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates, was with me at the time,” Lasorda recalled in a 2008 interview with Newsday, “So I said, ‘Come on Howie, you come with me.’ When we went into the Havana Hilton into his suite, Howie couldn't believe it. Castro was waiting to talk to me. We talked baseball. And Howie enjoyed that, as I did too. Everybody thought that he was the savior of the country.
     
    “When Castro came in, the people were celebrating because they thought he would be good for the country, and so did I,” Lasorda continued. “I found out I was wrong. I wanted to get out of there, but we continued playing baseball after the strike was over. It was a gorgeous country, until Castro took over.”
     
     
    Yes,, that was our Bob Allison, the muscular and talented outfielder of the Minnesota Twins.
     
    Following the revolution we found out that we could support a terrible dictator – Bautista, but not a communist – Castro, and so we entered a time when good players in Cuba had to turn to shady characters to get out of one country and into another.
     
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_baseball_players_who_defected_from_Cuba - many of them are still active and thankfully may be the last to have to go through this political nightmare.
     
    The Twins have not had as many defectors as other teams, but Livan Hernandez and Kendry Morales both had a brief time with the team.
     
    Now MLB has a new accord with Cuban baseball and hopefully the flow of great players can escape the wall and politics and we can again enjoy the best in the world in our own leagues.
  16. Like
    jorgenswest reacted to mikelink45 for a blog entry, Our managers - the Twins through history   
    Who were the Twins managers and were they any good? There is something strange about the manager position in baseball. It is not like we grow up hoping to be a manager. There seems to be no particular qualification, it is at the whim of the team.
     
     
    "In his essay "From Little Napoleons to Tall Tacticians", Thomas Boswell identifies four main personality types among baseball managers, corresponding to archetypes based on the nicknames of their earliest representatives in Major League Baseball, all of whom are in the Hall of Fame:
    The Little Napoleons, modeled on John McGraw, intense, emotional and competitive, embodying passionate leadership.
    The Peerless Leaders, modeled on Frank Chance, disciplined, courageous and dignified, embodying leadership by character.
    The Tall Tacticians, after Connie Mack, savvy, intelligent and trusting in their judgment, embodying intellectual leadership; and
    The Uncle Robbies, after Wilbert Robinson, compassionate, humorous and understanding, embodying leadership by wisdom." https://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Manager

     
    Did they deserve to be in the Hall of Fame? Does any manager belong in the Hall of Fame? Casey Stengel led the Yankees to 10 World series wins in 12 years - surely he deserves his HOF plaque, right? He managed the Braves and Dodgers for nine years before that and had a high finish in nine years of 5th place. He managed the Mets for 4 years after the Yankees and finished 10th four times. So if we put all 25 years together is in a HOF manager for the Boston Bees/Braves or the Mets or the Dodgers? Probably not.
     
     
    Joe Torre managed 30 years and became HOF because of the years he had the Yankees 12 years and his worst finish was 2! But what about the other 18 years? Five years with the Mets and he average a finish below 5th place. Three years with the Braves and an average finish of second place. Six years with the Cardinals and an average finish of 3.5 and finally three years with the Dodgers, two first, one fourth. So was he HOF with the Mets, Braves, and Cardinals?
     
     
    Sometimes managers are brought in when the team dumps talent and then dumps the manager when the talent arrives. How do you judge his performance? Even the worse managers do well when their team is loaded with all-stars. So who are the worst managers and how are they judged? Ted Williams was a bust in four years with the Senator/Rangers according to baseball historians, but he was MOY in his first year - just like our HOF manager - Paul Molitor, but Ted was just irascible and irritating everyone because he wanted perfection.
     
     
    Ned Yost is often sited as one of the worst managers, but his KC Royals won a series and changed the way MLB looked at the bullpen. And finally the manager that Bleacher Reports puts number one on the all time worst manager list is Buddy Bell who had been a really fine player. Just to note that ball clubs can't really judge managers any better than the rest of us - Bell was hired three times by three different clubs, the Tigers, Rockies and Royals. He had a 418 percent for his nine years. Ace Wilson actually had a worse percentage - 401 with the Cubs and Phillies in nine seasons. Note how these terrible managers get nine seasons to show how bad they are?
     
     
    in 2016 Fangraphs tried to evaluate managers https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/how-should-we-evaluate-a-manager/ and Paul Molitor was rated below average. Eno Sarris wrote this article and based his scores on four areas of managing - 1.When he uses his best relievers. 2.How rigid his approach to the bullpen is. 3. Where he puts his best hitters in the lineup. 4.How often he bunts with non-pitchers. Those four items seem too arbitrary to me. How about Morale, responding to injuries, use of young players and old players...
     
     
    In 2009 Hardball times ranked the 25 HOF managers and made a case that Billy Martin - one of our managers actually belongs for his managing ability. https://www.fangraphs.com/tht/evaluating-managers/ I would agree. Billy Martin burned out his pitchers, but if you wanted to win - Billy won. Billy might beat up his best player and the teams press secretary, but he won. His record was better than his predecessor and the next in line. He managed to win, but could not manage himself. How do you evaluate that? He was 240 wins above 500 in his managing career.
     
     
    So who have the Twins had? The first manager was Cookie Lavagetto who had managed the Washington Senators to 8,8,8,5 out of 8 and then came with the Twins to Minnesota where he was fired half way through the year and replaced with Sam Mele. We finished 7 of 10 in 1961. He had a 414 winning percentage. He was a third baseman when he played 10 years with four years in the service and is best known for the Cookie game when he broke up Bill Bevan's no-hitter with a pinch hit double. He played for Pittsburgh and Brooklyn.
     
    He was replaced by Sam Mele, a former RF who played 10 years for six teams including the Senators twice. He managed the Twins for seven years and took the Twins to the 1965 World Series with perhaps the best roster in team history. After the World Series he finished second the following years, but no playoffs in those days. He finished with a career 546 percentage. During his term, his coach Billy Martin had a fight with his pitching coach Johnny Sain giving a preview of coming attractions. He was fired in 1967 after 50 games because the team was 500 and replaced - not with Martin as expected - but with Calvin Coolidge Ermer.
     
     
    Cal finished that year and managed one more. His record was 589 for the remainder of his first year and then only 488 his first full year. His playing career was one game for the 1947 Senators. He was with the organization 60 years and was minor league manager of the year in 1958.
     
     
    In 1969 Billy Martin got his chance and we were first in the west division but lost 3 - 0 in the ALCS. Alfred Manuel Martin, Jr (Billy) was the Twins second baseman in 1961, he then became our scout, managed the Denver Bears and became our manager. He was fired after winning. As a scout he tried to get Griffith to sign pitcher Jim Palmer but skinflint Griffith refused, of course. In 1966 Martin got into a fight with traveling secretary Howard Fox on a charter flight ruining his chance for that years managerial promotion. Fox had demanded that Martin get his former Yankee teammates to quiet down on the flight and he refused. Fox then refused to give Martin his key, eventually throwing it at Martin. Martin hit Fox in the face! Martin ended up with the Denver Bears, where he took a poor team and made it a winner. Craig Nettles from the team said Martin made them afraid to lose. Martin was then given the Twins job and Griffith said, "I feel like I am sitting on a powder keg."
     
     
    Griffith insisted on a daily meeting with Martin, so Martin showed up when it was time for Griffith's daily nap. Then when Dave Boswell (20 game winner) got in a fight with Bob Allison Martin joined in and punched Boswell. Griffith wanted to fire Martin but he was winning and so was Boswell. His relationship with the Twins was also damaged when he kicked Hubert Humphrey out of the locker room. Fox and others prevailed and Martin was fired, the fans were angry.
     
     
    Bill Rigney, a big name at the time, replaced Martin. They had to have a famous name to try to calm fandom. Bill Rigney had an 8 year career as an infielder with the Giants. Then he went on to be the manager of the Minneapolis Millers and 18 years as a mlb manager starting with the Giants. Then three years with the Twins where his team finished 1, 5, 3 in the AL west. Rigney was fired during his third year and replaced by Frank Quilici.
     
     
    Quilici, who passed away last year, played for the Twins for five years as a second baseman. Including the partial first year he managed for four years with a 494 winning pct. finishing 3,3,3,4 in the AL west. He was beloved and went into the radio booth after his career. He was replaced by legendary Gene Mauch another former 2B who was a manager for 27 years.
     
     
    As I said, how do you judge a manager. He was beloved by management and got a job for 27 years despite being the manager for the Philadelphia Phillies in one of the most famous collapses of all time. His team was ahead by 6 1/2 games with 12 to go. He decided to pitch Jim Bunning and Chris Short in 7 of the last 10 games - burning them out (maybe) and the lead disappeared. The team 'pholded' and yet Mauch kept managing. In 1985 with the Angels his team lost in the last game of season and finished second to the Royals. In 1961 his Angels team established the record for a losing streak - 23 games. In 1969 his Expos team lost 20 in a row. From 1976 - 1980 he managed the Twins and his nephew Roy Smalley. His teams finished 3,4,4,4,3. 378 - 394 490.
     
     
    With all the luck they had with 2B they chose Johnny Goryl in 1981. After going 11 - 25 he was replaced by Billy Gardner another 2B, infielder who had 10 years in the majors. He managed six years with the Twins and one with KC. His Twins had a 432 pct. and he was fired in 1985 and replaced by Ray Miller.
     
     
    Miller finished the season and was fired half way through the next season. He is in the Orioles HOF as a pitching coach, but his magic did not extend to Minnesota. Johnny Podres our pitching coach quit in protest of the Miller hire. Miller was universally disliked in twinkie land.
     
     
    The man who replaced him is Minnesota legend Tom Kelly who lasted 16 years. Kelly had two world series teams and three second place finishes in 16 years with an overall pct of 478 which leads me back to the beginning of this blog - great because of two WS or lousy because he had less than 500 record? MN thinks of him as our greatest manager, but there is no quantifiable way to determine or prove this.
     
     
    Ron Gardenhire another 2B player - we really do hire a lot of second basemen to manage - was next in line. He managed us for 13 years with a 507 pct which surpasses Kelly by a lot. He had six first place finishes, one second and two thirds. Then the Twins players stunk and we tired of our old friend and decided he was no longer a good manager. I hope he succeeds in Detroit.
     
     
    Paul Molitor continued our love affair with second base managers and after a HOF career became manager for four years and became the target for criticism that I believe is erroneous and unfair. He finished 2,2,5,2 in his four years. Those are misleading finishes since we are in the worst division, but he was also MOY so good for him. Why was he bad? I know - BP - which was filled with such great arms as Matt Belisle...
     
     
    And now Rocco Baldelli a seven year pro who was damaged by injury and is supposed to lead us to the promised land like all the other managers. I hope he does.
  17. Like
    jorgenswest reacted to mikelink45 for a blog entry, Happy New Year. How does 2019 fit in history?   
    The team that would become the Twins – the Washington Senators set the pace that the Twins would follow, with lots of mediocrity and last place teams with occasional flourishes of quality. “First in War, Last in the American League.” Since it is a new year, I thought it would be fun to look back at our legacy and see what happened in 1919 and each decade after:
     
    1919 The team was 56 – 84 and seventh place out of eight teams. Walter Johnson had a 10.8 WAR for this collection and a record of 20 – 14. Clark Griffith was the manager. They had three outstanding players on their roster – Bucky Harris (his rookie year, only a few appearances), Sam Rice (10th in batting average – 321) and Joe Judge (288/386/406). It was not enough. They were last in Batting and last in Pitching, but still managed to finish ahead of the Philadelphia As.
     
    1929 The year that the Great Depression hit the nation the team was 71 -81 and up to fifth place! Firpo Marberry (19 – 12 and 9 saves) had 7.1 WAR and Walter Johnson was the manager. They were 34 games behind and there were no playoffs or other options to hope for in those years. Marberry was one of the first really great relief pitchers with four years of double figure saves when that was not a stat nor did anyone care much about it. Yet he was by far the most valuable player on the team. Sam Rice was now 39 but had a line that read 323/382/424. Goose Goslin was .288/366/.461, Joe Judge was .315/.397/.442, Buddy Myers at 2B was .300/.373/.403 and Joe Cronin was .281/.388/.421 which proves again that pitching is what wins games!
     
    1939 World War II begins, but not much changes for the Senators. There record is 65 – 87 and they are in 6th place 41 ½ games out. Bucky Harris is now the manager and will be for 8 seasons. Buddy Lewis is their WAR leader with 5.7. A third baseman and outfielder his line was 319/.402/.478. The attendance for the year was just over 329,000. Amazingly Dutch Leonard was 20 – 8 – winning 31% of the team total! Their only other star was right fielder Taffy Wright .309/.359/.435. Of note was September call up Early Wynn who was 0 – 2 in his debut but would go on to win 300 games.
     
    In 1949 when I was 3 ½ the Senators really stunk. 50 – 104 and 47 games out of contention. Of course they were in 8th place. J Kuhel was in second and last year as manager and Eddie Robinson lead the team with 2.5 WAR as a first baseman with .294/.381/.459. and the attendance for the year was up to 774,000! A familiar name for Twins history was on this roster – Sam Mele 242/.288/.337. He started out the year in RF for the Red Sox and then came to the Senators in the season and played RF/CF/1B. Another familiar name is Eddie Yost who became famous for fouling off pitches, his line was .253/.383/.391. Member of the Twins front office Sherry Robertson was on the team and played 2B/3B/RF/LF.
     
    1959. Two years from coming to Minnesota the team was 63 – 91 and in 8th place again. Cookie Lavagetto was manager and would be for the Twins in 1961 before giving way to Sam Mele. Camilo Pascual had 8.6 WAR. Always my favorite pitcher in the early Twins years Pascual was 17 – 10 that year giving him 27% of the team wins. In September Jim Kaat came to the team – 21 years old, 0 – 2 record! Jack Kralick and Pedro Ramos were also in the rotation and would becomes Twins staples! Both underrated in Twins history. At 23 Harmon Killebrew was finally given a full time position after rotting on the bench due to the bonus baby rule (another stupid rule from baseball’s hierarchy). With 42 HRs the Killer had a line of 242/.354/.516. Familiar names on the roster included Bob Allison, Jim Lemon, Lenny Green, Zoilo Versalles, Roy Seivers, and Reno Bertoia. Bad team with some great players.
     
    1969 In the playoff era, one of our greatest teams finished first – 97 – 65 and then lost 3 – 0 in the ALCS. What a shame. Jim Perry with 6.5 was tops in WAR and 20 – 6! He was amazing that year. Dave Boswell was 20 – 12, Jim Kaat was 14 – 13, Tom Hall (who physically resembles Jose Berrios) was 8 – 7 and Dean Chance was 5 – 4. What a rotation! Ron Perranoski and Al Worthington were the top relief tandem. Then there were the bats – 36 year old John Roseboro at Catcher, Reese at 1B, Carew 2B - .332/.386/.467, Cardenas SS, Killebrew (49 HRs) at 3B, Allison (24 HR), Uhlander, and Oliva (.309/.355/.496) in the OF. The manager was a story in himself – Billy Martin!
     
     
    1979 82 – 80 and fourth in the West. Gene Mauch was the manager (Roy Smalley’s uncle) and Jerry Koosman led in WAR (7.2). The Twins drew just over one million fans. In 1974 when Blyleven led the way they drew only 660,000. Koosman was 20 – 13, Dave Goltz was 14 – 13, and Geoff Zahn, Roger Erickson and Paul Hartzell rounded out a ½ good rotation. Mike Marshall was the pen – 90 appearances, 32 saves, 142 innings pitched. The Batting order did not match the sixties. Roy Smalley was probably the best, Kenny Landreaux was good and Butch Wynegar was Calvin Griffith favorite. We also had the great name – Bombo Rivera!
     
    1989 80 – 82. Two years from our world series in – we only won five more regular season games that year and the year before we were 91 – 71 and better than any of the other teams in this time frame, but we finished second. This year had a similar record to ten years earlier, but we were below 500 and finished 5th. Kirby Puckett led in WAR (4.9) 339/.379/.465 and it was Tom Kelly’s third season as manager. We drew 2,200,000 fans! The rotation was led by Allen Anderson 17 – 10, Frank Viola 8 – 12, and Roy Smith 10 – 6 and Jeff Reardon was in the pen with Juan Berenguer. The big bats were Puckett, Harper, Hrbek, Gagne, Gaetti, and Gladden. It was also the year of Wally Backman at second base and that was some mistake.
     
    1999 63 – 97 and in fifth place out of 5. Kelly was still the manager and Brad Radtke led in WAR – 6.5 and was 12 – 14. Terry Steinbeck was the catcher – nice to have the Minnesotan come home. He had a line of .242/.310/.410. A guy by the name of David Ortiz played 1B .277/.371/.446, but of course we did not like the way he swung the bat! Ron Coomer and Matt Lawton were regulars and a guy named Molitor was DH .281/.335/.382 – we liked that, we didn’t like Ortiz. In the rotation Radtke was joined by LaTroy Hawkins 7 – 14, Eric Milton 8 – 14 and Bob Tewksbury 7 – 13. Rick Aguilera and Eddie Guardado held the pen.
     
    2009 – Current history. 87 – 67 and first place in the Central, then a 3 – 0 loss in the LDS. Joe Mauer led in WAR with 7.8 (28 HRs, .365/.444/.587 and Ron Gardenhire managed. Blackburn and Baker each won 12, Slowey and Perkins each won 11, and Livan Hernandez won 10. Joe Nathan was joined by Boof Bonser – another of the best names in Twins history – Matt Guerrier, Jesse Crain, and Dennys Reyes. Mauer, Morneau, Span and Kubel led the lineup with Carlos Gomez in CF and Nick Punto all over the field. 3B Buscher, 2b Casilla, and the famous Delmon Young in LF!
     
    2019?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
    That’s the decade review. When we were senators we finished 7/5/6/8/8 – very consistent. The Twins in the years that ended with 9 were 1/4/5/5/1 – somewhat erratic but some fun teams. What can we expect this year? There are so many questions – Happy New Year.
  18. Like
    jorgenswest got a reaction from markos for a blog entry, Third Time Through The Order: Established Knowledge or Statistical Illusion?   
    Everyone knows that pitchers have much more difficulty the third time through the lineup. Right? Isn't this established baseball knowledge?
     
    Data does back it up. Anecdotally we hear stats on almost every baseball broadcast about how much poorer a pitcher performs his third time through the order. League wide there is data to support this claim. According to OPS+ here is how starting pitchers have performed the first, second and third time through the order this season.
     
    PA#1: 91 OPS+
    PA#2: 101 OPS+
    PA#3: 117 OPS+
     
    Wow! There is a huge difference between a 91 OPS+ batter and a 117 OPS+ batter.
     
    We can see it in the ERA also.
     
    PA#1: 4.08
    PA#2: 4.20
    PA#3: 4.57
     
    Teams may be making significant decisions based on this data.
     
    I am skeptical. I think the data is very skewed by the group. A pitcher facing a team the third time through is guaranteed to face the better hitters on the team and unlikely to face the weaker hitters on a team the third time through. We can see it in the data.
     
    PAs 1st time through: 37803
    PAs 3rd time through: 22470
     
    The majority of those missing 15333 plate appearances come from players who would have been batting at or near the bottom of the order. The top 6 position is the batting order have an OPS+ of 110. The bottom 3 (excluding pitchers) have an OPS+ of 87. I don't have data including pitchers for the group but the 9th place hitters have an OPS+ of 56 with pitchers so that 87 would certainly be lower.
     
    That OPS+ range of 23 between the early part of the order and the bottom of the order nearly matches the OPS+ range of 26 between the first time through the order and the third time through the order.
     
    Maybe this shouldn't be established baseball knowledge. Maybe a pitcher's performance really hasn't dropped significantly the third time through. Maybe it is the statistical illusion created by the group. The majority of the hitters in the third time through group are simply the better hitters.
     
    I wondered if there might be a different angle to attack the question of whether a pitcher's skill level really drops the third time he sees a hitter.
     
    I used baseball reference play index and looked at the group of batters instead. Using the season 2015-2017 and selecting a minimum of 570 plate appearances in those seasons I created a group of 294 batting seasons. I wondered if those batters as a group performed significantly better the third time they saw a pitcher.
     
    Here is the median OPS+ of the group according to time through the order.
     
    PA#1: 101 OPS+
    PA#2: 102 OPS+
    PA#3: 105.5 OPS+
     
    The third plate appearance was better the third time through. The range as we often hear when reported in terms of pitchers is not nearly as vast. In fact it might not be worthy of comment on a broadcast.
     
    Of the 294 seasons for a batter in 2015-2017, 113 of those seasons the batter had their best OPS in their third at bat.
     
    PA#1 - Best OPS 31% of batters
    PA#2 - Best OPS 31% of batters
    PA#3 - Best OPS 38% of batters
     
    More batters had their best OPS+ the third time they saw a pitcher. I wouldn't describe it as many more though. I am not sure that a pitcher's ability drops that significantly the third time through the order. I think much of the reported difference is simply the group of batters who they happen to see the third time through.
     
    Batters do seem to perform slightly better the third time they see a pitcher over the last three seasons. Is that difference enough to drive decisions about a pitching staff? Is the opener a solution to this problem? Does a real problem exist? Those better hitters at the top of the order are likely to get an extra at bat against someone every game. If the solution is using an opener, that opener is going to have to be a really good pitcher to get through a team's best hitters.
     
    Note: Baseball Reference Play Index was used to gather the data.
  19. Like
    jorgenswest got a reaction from Blake for a blog entry, Third Time Through The Order: Established Knowledge or Statistical Illusion?   
    Everyone knows that pitchers have much more difficulty the third time through the lineup. Right? Isn't this established baseball knowledge?
     
    Data does back it up. Anecdotally we hear stats on almost every baseball broadcast about how much poorer a pitcher performs his third time through the order. League wide there is data to support this claim. According to OPS+ here is how starting pitchers have performed the first, second and third time through the order this season.
     
    PA#1: 91 OPS+
    PA#2: 101 OPS+
    PA#3: 117 OPS+
     
    Wow! There is a huge difference between a 91 OPS+ batter and a 117 OPS+ batter.
     
    We can see it in the ERA also.
     
    PA#1: 4.08
    PA#2: 4.20
    PA#3: 4.57
     
    Teams may be making significant decisions based on this data.
     
    I am skeptical. I think the data is very skewed by the group. A pitcher facing a team the third time through is guaranteed to face the better hitters on the team and unlikely to face the weaker hitters on a team the third time through. We can see it in the data.
     
    PAs 1st time through: 37803
    PAs 3rd time through: 22470
     
    The majority of those missing 15333 plate appearances come from players who would have been batting at or near the bottom of the order. The top 6 position is the batting order have an OPS+ of 110. The bottom 3 (excluding pitchers) have an OPS+ of 87. I don't have data including pitchers for the group but the 9th place hitters have an OPS+ of 56 with pitchers so that 87 would certainly be lower.
     
    That OPS+ range of 23 between the early part of the order and the bottom of the order nearly matches the OPS+ range of 26 between the first time through the order and the third time through the order.
     
    Maybe this shouldn't be established baseball knowledge. Maybe a pitcher's performance really hasn't dropped significantly the third time through. Maybe it is the statistical illusion created by the group. The majority of the hitters in the third time through group are simply the better hitters.
     
    I wondered if there might be a different angle to attack the question of whether a pitcher's skill level really drops the third time he sees a hitter.
     
    I used baseball reference play index and looked at the group of batters instead. Using the season 2015-2017 and selecting a minimum of 570 plate appearances in those seasons I created a group of 294 batting seasons. I wondered if those batters as a group performed significantly better the third time they saw a pitcher.
     
    Here is the median OPS+ of the group according to time through the order.
     
    PA#1: 101 OPS+
    PA#2: 102 OPS+
    PA#3: 105.5 OPS+
     
    The third plate appearance was better the third time through. The range as we often hear when reported in terms of pitchers is not nearly as vast. In fact it might not be worthy of comment on a broadcast.
     
    Of the 294 seasons for a batter in 2015-2017, 113 of those seasons the batter had their best OPS in their third at bat.
     
    PA#1 - Best OPS 31% of batters
    PA#2 - Best OPS 31% of batters
    PA#3 - Best OPS 38% of batters
     
    More batters had their best OPS+ the third time they saw a pitcher. I wouldn't describe it as many more though. I am not sure that a pitcher's ability drops that significantly the third time through the order. I think much of the reported difference is simply the group of batters who they happen to see the third time through.
     
    Batters do seem to perform slightly better the third time they see a pitcher over the last three seasons. Is that difference enough to drive decisions about a pitching staff? Is the opener a solution to this problem? Does a real problem exist? Those better hitters at the top of the order are likely to get an extra at bat against someone every game. If the solution is using an opener, that opener is going to have to be a really good pitcher to get through a team's best hitters.
     
    Note: Baseball Reference Play Index was used to gather the data.
  20. Like
    jorgenswest got a reaction from nclahammer for a blog entry, Third Time Through The Order: Established Knowledge or Statistical Illusion?   
    Everyone knows that pitchers have much more difficulty the third time through the lineup. Right? Isn't this established baseball knowledge?
     
    Data does back it up. Anecdotally we hear stats on almost every baseball broadcast about how much poorer a pitcher performs his third time through the order. League wide there is data to support this claim. According to OPS+ here is how starting pitchers have performed the first, second and third time through the order this season.
     
    PA#1: 91 OPS+
    PA#2: 101 OPS+
    PA#3: 117 OPS+
     
    Wow! There is a huge difference between a 91 OPS+ batter and a 117 OPS+ batter.
     
    We can see it in the ERA also.
     
    PA#1: 4.08
    PA#2: 4.20
    PA#3: 4.57
     
    Teams may be making significant decisions based on this data.
     
    I am skeptical. I think the data is very skewed by the group. A pitcher facing a team the third time through is guaranteed to face the better hitters on the team and unlikely to face the weaker hitters on a team the third time through. We can see it in the data.
     
    PAs 1st time through: 37803
    PAs 3rd time through: 22470
     
    The majority of those missing 15333 plate appearances come from players who would have been batting at or near the bottom of the order. The top 6 position is the batting order have an OPS+ of 110. The bottom 3 (excluding pitchers) have an OPS+ of 87. I don't have data including pitchers for the group but the 9th place hitters have an OPS+ of 56 with pitchers so that 87 would certainly be lower.
     
    That OPS+ range of 23 between the early part of the order and the bottom of the order nearly matches the OPS+ range of 26 between the first time through the order and the third time through the order.
     
    Maybe this shouldn't be established baseball knowledge. Maybe a pitcher's performance really hasn't dropped significantly the third time through. Maybe it is the statistical illusion created by the group. The majority of the hitters in the third time through group are simply the better hitters.
     
    I wondered if there might be a different angle to attack the question of whether a pitcher's skill level really drops the third time he sees a hitter.
     
    I used baseball reference play index and looked at the group of batters instead. Using the season 2015-2017 and selecting a minimum of 570 plate appearances in those seasons I created a group of 294 batting seasons. I wondered if those batters as a group performed significantly better the third time they saw a pitcher.
     
    Here is the median OPS+ of the group according to time through the order.
     
    PA#1: 101 OPS+
    PA#2: 102 OPS+
    PA#3: 105.5 OPS+
     
    The third plate appearance was better the third time through. The range as we often hear when reported in terms of pitchers is not nearly as vast. In fact it might not be worthy of comment on a broadcast.
     
    Of the 294 seasons for a batter in 2015-2017, 113 of those seasons the batter had their best OPS in their third at bat.
     
    PA#1 - Best OPS 31% of batters
    PA#2 - Best OPS 31% of batters
    PA#3 - Best OPS 38% of batters
     
    More batters had their best OPS+ the third time they saw a pitcher. I wouldn't describe it as many more though. I am not sure that a pitcher's ability drops that significantly the third time through the order. I think much of the reported difference is simply the group of batters who they happen to see the third time through.
     
    Batters do seem to perform slightly better the third time they see a pitcher over the last three seasons. Is that difference enough to drive decisions about a pitching staff? Is the opener a solution to this problem? Does a real problem exist? Those better hitters at the top of the order are likely to get an extra at bat against someone every game. If the solution is using an opener, that opener is going to have to be a really good pitcher to get through a team's best hitters.
     
    Note: Baseball Reference Play Index was used to gather the data.
  21. Like
    jorgenswest reacted to ashbury for a blog entry, Pawtucket Red Sox game - Sunday July 8   
    Red Sox relief prospect Ty Buttrey came up in one of the discussions about trade talks. As luck would have it, I could drop Mrs Ash at Logan Airport today and head down I-95 in time for the last game in Pawtucket before their All-Star Break. So I did. The pretext is scouting a trade candidate, but of course I am not a scout. I'll tell you what I saw, and offer some opinions, and hopefully keep the two straight, one from another.
     
    Even better luck: the Yankees AAA affiliate in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre was the opponent, and their #2 prospect, Justus Sheffield, was the starting pitcher. And a ranked prospect also closed the game for them. So there's more to tell.
     
    The PawSox starter, Fernando Rodriguez, doesn't show up in MLB.com's top-30 for the Red Sox. The righthander's fastball touches 92, but his out-pitch seems to be offspeed. My seat was not located anywhere I can even pretend to tell you whether any of the pitchers use a curve, slider, straight change, or something exotic. From my angle down the first-base line, I could pretty easily tell when something off-speed was being delivered by Rodriguez (with the radar display to confirm or disprove my guess), but of course the batter has a tougher challenge. It was my impression he was getting away with deception, which possibly stops working so well at the major league level. If someone were to tell me we were thinking of using one of our trade chips to acquire him, I'd be disappointed. Then again, perhaps I wasn't seeing him at his best: he seemed to be working annoyingly slowly, and then had to come out of the game barely into the third inning. I haven't looked for an announced reason, but a blister would be my guess. Anyway he gave up a run in the second inning on a homer. He struck out 5 in just 2.1 innings, which sounds nice, but as I said, I'm skeptical.
     
    Sheffield, by contrast, was solidly in command for the first four innings or so. His fastball sat consistently at 94 and it was his out pitch, something good to see. If this lefty's rapid pace was any indication, he pitched with confidence. I was less able to guess his pitches quickly as they came out of his hand. The first hit he gave up, in the fourth, was just a squibber toward the third baseman who didn't even bother to attempt a throw. However, Sheffield weakened in the fifth, but managed to wriggle out of two-baserunner trouble with some apparently nasty stuff to get the last two batters out. But it got worse for him in the sixth - I noticed his fastball was around 91 - and a visit to the mound didn't seem to do any wonders, although the fastball ticked back up to 93. He was gone after another batter or two reached base and a run scored. His pitch count by that point had ballooned to 89, whereas it had stood at only 42 after 3 full innings. His pitching line was a fairly pedestrian 5.1 innings with 5 hits plus two walks and one run, earned. But he struck out 7 in that time, and I'm here to tell you, he looks like the real deal to me. Those first 4 or 5 innings indicate to me that there's something to work with if he's called up. He's high ranked, and there's no way I would expect to pry him loose from the Yankees with any conceivable deadline deal, which someone on the forums here floated recently.
     
    Back to the PawSox. 26th ranked Williams Jerez came on in relief of Rodriguez. He's a multi-innings left-handed reliever this season and served in that long-relief capacity of necessity today. He finished that third inning and went two more, surrendering a two-run blast in the top of the fifth. His fastball sits at 96 and he struck out five, so he's got a live arm and overall I was impressed enough to believe the ranking (which is a matter of taste, when it comes to relievers). He's 26 years old so his time is now, if ever.
     
    Righty Kyle Martin pitched the next two innings for Pawtucket. His 94-MPH fastball helped account for 4 Ks to surround a hit and a walk. He's not ranked, where I looked, although I thought he had good swing-and-miss stuff. But he's 27 and got his cup of coffee last July - apparently he's organizational depth at this point.
     
    Robby Scott, 28 years old, pitched the eighth. He was with the big club all last year, but I don't know his story in 2018 and he is at AAA. With only a 90 MPH heater, he's a sidearming lefty junkballer in today's world. He did more than OK today, striking out all three of the batters he faced, twice swinging, once looking, but my impression today before looking him up was smoke and mirrors in that inning.
     
    Ty Buttrey took over in the ninth, to keep the deficit to only 1 run, and I thought he lived up to his billing. His fastball clocked 97. The right-hander's got a somewhat high leg kick, which worried me that it might indicate control trouble, but he likewise retired all three batters faced - although only one was a strikeout, neither ball put in play was much trouble - requiring merely an efficient 8 pitches.
     
    OK, I'm out of chronological order now, because the Yankees RailRiders were offering up relievers too, today. 28-year old righty Tommy Kahnle took over from Sheffield in the sixth, and retired the two batters he faced to escape further damage. I didn't think to mark down his fastball speed - he's Tommy Kahnle.
     
    They brought in another portsider in Stephen Tarpley to pitch the seventh and eighth. He had a 93 MPH fastball and his off-speed stuff seemed to be effective. He did give up a run, which he might be kicking himself over - after a leadoff double, followed by a sac bunt (questionable strategy to me, behind by 2 runs, but it worked out), Tarpley seemingly foiled the strategy by striking out the next batter. But then while working toward the eventual third out, he uncorked a wild pitch, and then failed to hustle to the plate to receive any throw that the catcher, who had retrieved the ball, might have wanted to make. Don't they go over this in spring training (said, every fan ever )?
     
    The ninth inning was handled by 15th-ranked Cody Carroll. Like his Sox counterpart, I felt he lived up to his billing, with a fastball in the 96-97 range. The righty started off the inning with a bit of chin-music to PawSox catcher Dan Butler, and as a consequence or not, the home team went down meekly, 1-2-3.
     
    As an aside, they play baseball differently in the minors. No pinch hitter by Pawtucket, for any of their number 7-8-9 batters coming up with a 3-2 deficit to overcome in the ninth. I have seen this annoying strategic non-feature and others, over the years. Minor league ball is strictly about developing prospects, not about winning individual games.
     
    So, you haven't heard me say much yet about the position players. Frankly, not much jumped out at me, for good or for ill. Ivan DeJesus Jr at second base for Pawtucket made a poor attempt at a grounder up the middle. It was scored a hit, and rightly so because even if he had come up with it, it would have required a stellar throw to nip the runner, if possible. But he flubbed it so that the question never came up. For Scranton/WB, right fielder Billy McKinney made a nice diving catch.
     
    The Yankees farmhands had only 5 hits in total, with Tyler Austin accounting for 2 of them. Six Sox batters shared the hit total evenly. As previously alluded to, homers accounted for all three Yankee runs, the two-run shot being by Austin and the solo job by Bruce Caldwell. Both of these guys are 26 and neither of them shows up in the MLB rankings for the Yanks.
     
    One last note. Lots of people criticize McCoy Stadium, but I like the place. It's an older park, and I suppose would be uncomfortable in the rare cases they sell out, but today's attendance of 5639 was hardly bursting at the seams and concession stands were convenient and spacious and well-staffed, and I enjoyed a craft brew and a good sausage-and-peppers-and-onions on a roll, and it was a beautiful sunny 84-degree day and the grandstand roof offered shade if you wanted it, so what's not to like? Well, too many Yankee fans, but that was just for this series. Oh, and I want to tell you, instead of the usual mascot race between innings, they had an eyeball race. It's sponsored by a local vision clinic, and you get to watch a green, blue, and brown eye race from first base to third. A wonderfully weird spin on a classic.
     
    So that was my afternoon. Was yours as good?
  22. Like
    jorgenswest got a reaction from nclahammer for a blog entry, Nick Gordon, Lamonte Wade and Infield Fly Balls   
    I am curious about the vast difference in infield fly ball percentage in Nick Gordon and Lamonte Wade and wonder how much it matters projecting their bats as major league hitters. I was able to find a few articles on IFFB% but those authors leave wondering also.
     
    One claim is that players with a lower IFFB rate tend to post higher BABIPs.
     
    Another claim is that minor league IFFB rates are greater than major league rates. A wonder is whether this is selection bias and those with greater IFFB rates don’t tend to make it in the majors.
     
    Here is what I noticed...
     
    Nick Gordon had a 2.3% IFFB rate this year in AA and AAA. He consistently is among the lowest in his league.
     
    Lamonte Wade has posted among the greater rates of 34.6% in AA and 28.6% in AAA.
     
    For context, Todd Frazier had the greatest IFFB% in 2017 at 18.9% and Freddie Freeman was 0%. Joey Votto is always low and last year he was at 0.5%.
     
    And I wonder...
     
    What does this mean projecting forward?
     
    I don’t have answers but it is something I want to study and blog further. I would appreciate any thoughts.
  23. Like
    jorgenswest got a reaction from Sconnie for a blog entry, Nick Gordon, Lamonte Wade and Infield Fly Balls   
    I am curious about the vast difference in infield fly ball percentage in Nick Gordon and Lamonte Wade and wonder how much it matters projecting their bats as major league hitters. I was able to find a few articles on IFFB% but those authors leave wondering also.
     
    One claim is that players with a lower IFFB rate tend to post higher BABIPs.
     
    Another claim is that minor league IFFB rates are greater than major league rates. A wonder is whether this is selection bias and those with greater IFFB rates don’t tend to make it in the majors.
     
    Here is what I noticed...
     
    Nick Gordon had a 2.3% IFFB rate this year in AA and AAA. He consistently is among the lowest in his league.
     
    Lamonte Wade has posted among the greater rates of 34.6% in AA and 28.6% in AAA.
     
    For context, Todd Frazier had the greatest IFFB% in 2017 at 18.9% and Freddie Freeman was 0%. Joey Votto is always low and last year he was at 0.5%.
     
    And I wonder...
     
    What does this mean projecting forward?
     
    I don’t have answers but it is something I want to study and blog further. I would appreciate any thoughts.
  24. Like
    jorgenswest got a reaction from nclahammer for a blog entry, A Brief History of the 20th Pick   
    The Twins have drafted more often that any other team in this slot. This will be the 7th time in 54 drafts.
     
    Three guys are among the top pick 20s according to WAR in Torii Hunter, Denard Span and Trevor Plouffe. One other pick was helpful though he never played in the majors. Johnny Ard twice made BA's top 100 and was traded to the Giants prior to the 1991 championship season for reliever Steve Bedrosian. Ard's career ended with arm injuries in the Giants system.
     
    Mike Mussina posts the best career from a pick 20 and Chris Parmelee's career is at about the median ranking 23rd in WAR of 48. The last five number 20 picks have not reached majors but I didn't include them in the median calculation as they have a chance.
     
    It is kind of sobering to know that our selection today may not hit the majors for several years. In taking a closer look at the last five pick 20s only 1 of 5 has ever been on a top 100 list. Baseball America had Casey Gillespie at 74 prior to the 2017 season. Sobering.
     
    The Twins have done very well with that pick relative to the league. I hope that continues today.
  25. Like
    jorgenswest got a reaction from DocBauer for a blog entry, A Brief History of the 20th Pick   
    The Twins have drafted more often that any other team in this slot. This will be the 7th time in 54 drafts.
     
    Three guys are among the top pick 20s according to WAR in Torii Hunter, Denard Span and Trevor Plouffe. One other pick was helpful though he never played in the majors. Johnny Ard twice made BA's top 100 and was traded to the Giants prior to the 1991 championship season for reliever Steve Bedrosian. Ard's career ended with arm injuries in the Giants system.
     
    Mike Mussina posts the best career from a pick 20 and Chris Parmelee's career is at about the median ranking 23rd in WAR of 48. The last five number 20 picks have not reached majors but I didn't include them in the median calculation as they have a chance.
     
    It is kind of sobering to know that our selection today may not hit the majors for several years. In taking a closer look at the last five pick 20s only 1 of 5 has ever been on a top 100 list. Baseball America had Casey Gillespie at 74 prior to the 2017 season. Sobering.
     
    The Twins have done very well with that pick relative to the league. I hope that continues today.
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