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  1. Like
    wsnydes reacted to alexthegreat for a blog entry, Through 19 games, what are the strengths and weaknesses of this team?   
    Our Minnesota Twins start the 2022 MLB Season at 11-8 and are 1st Place in the American League Central Division.

    It’s a Small Sample Size, but the Twins have shown both areas of strength and areas of weakness in their first 19 games. Today, we’re going to analyze the following four items and label each as either a strength or a weakness:
    • Starting Pitching
    • Relief Pitching
    • Offense
    • Defense

    Starting Pitching: Strength
    One of the biggest surprises for the Twins thus far in 2022 has been the starting pitching. The Twins’ starting rotation was predicted by many to be an average to slightly above group. However, the numbers say this group has greatly exceeded expectations in the first 19 games. A few stats for you:
    Team SP ERA: 2.39 (2nd)
    Team SP Opp BA: .205 (5th)
    Team SP WAR: 1.9 (5th)
    Team SP WHIP: 1.01 (3rd)
    Team SP HR/9: 0.80 (8th)
    Team SP BB%: 6.1% (4th)
    Team SP K%: 22.5% (14th)
    Team SP WPA: 1.31 (4th)
    Team SP LOB%: 81.9% (2nd)

    It’s fair to say this group has greatly exceeded expectations through the first 19 games. Dylan Bundy, Chris Paddack, and rookie Joe Ryan have led the rotation, combining for 53.0 IP and 1.8 WAR (0.6 WAR each).

    Relief Pitching: Weakness
    The Twins’ relief staff was one of the main contributors the the team’s early collapse in 2021 (Mostly due to a reliever who shall not be named blowing several saves). While it hasn’t been as much of a burden on the team so far in 2022 as it was in 2021, it has been a problem and the numbers reflect that:
    Team RP ERA: 3.94 (21st)
    Team RP Opp BA: .241 (27th)
    Team RP WAR: -0.3 (28th)
    Team RP WHIP: 1.38 (27th)
    Team RP HR/9: 1.39 (28th)
    Team RP K%: 23.8% (16th)
    Team RP BB%: 10.8% (25th)
    Team RP WPA: 0.15 (18th)
    Team RP LOB%: 80% (5th)

    One of the main reasons that this group has struggled is that Tyler Duffey and Caleb Thielbar have struggled, despite being effective for the Twins in the past. Tyler Duffey has a team worst -0.76 WPA, and Caleb Thielbar has a -0.35 WPA. If this group is going to be league average, those two are going to need to figure it out.

    Offense: Middle of the Road
    This Twins offense had potential to be one of baseball’s most explosive units. In some ways it has. In other ways it hasn’t.
    Team Batting RS: 75 (17th)
    Team Batting BA: .225 (20th)
    Team Batting OBP: .314 (13th)
    Team Batting SLG: .369 (16th)
    Team Batting OPS: .683 (17th)
    Team Batting: wRC+: 107 (15th)
    Team Batting K%: 24.6% (25th)
    Team Batting BB%: 10.6% (4th)
    Team Batting HR: 20 (9th)
    Team Batting WAR: 2.1 (17th)
    Obviously this group has its strengths and weaknesses. It’s fair to say that it was expected that this offense would rank high in HRs. But what really sticks out to me about this group so far is the BB%. They ranked in the 15-20 range every year from 2019-2021, but they’ve jumped all the way to 4th in 2022. I don’t know what caused this large leap, but I do know that more walks lead to a better offense.
    And in case you didn’t hear, Byron Buxton is good at baseball.
    The biggest problem with this group by far has been the K%. They rank 25th in the MLB with a 24.6 K%.

    If you add all of the stats up, the Twins’ offense has been middle of the road. If the Twins want their offense to be Top 10 in MLB, they’ll need to lower the Team K% and increase the Team BA. As the weather gets warmer, that may very well happen. We’ll see.

    Defense: Middle of the Road
    From Jorge Polanco’s terrible defense at SS to Luis Arraez’s terrible defense at 3B, defense has been a problem for the Twins over the last couple of years. In theory, this defense should be pretty good. A speedy Buxton in CF combined with Carlos Correa at SS and Max Kepler in RF sounds awesome.
    So far in 2022, the Twins’ defense has a FP of 98.8% (11th) and has committed 4 Errors (12th). There isn’t a lot to say here. The Twins’ defense has been about average and hasn’t made any game-losing blunders thus far.

    To recap, the Twins’ starting rotation is the main reason for their winning streak. Their relief staff has coughed up multiple leads. Their offense and defense have been up and down. If the Twins want to be a contender in 2022, they will need to shore up their relief staff and lower their strikeout numbers. Their starting staff will also need to continue to perform well.
  2. Like
    wsnydes reacted to Brock Beauchamp for a blog entry, The Community Awards are approaching their first anniversary and you want this prize   
    While we try to keep the cost of our prizes reasonable, for the first anniversary of the awards, I had an idea and I was going to spend as much as it required to find this gem of a prize.
    After quite some time searching - I'd rather not say how long - I've found the ultimate prize for the top mid-season Community Award.

    A signed baseball bat.
    A signed Kyle Lohse baseball bat.
    A signed Kyle Lohse baseball bat with his Twins jersey number on it.
    What's astounding about this find is that Lohse played a significant portion of his career in the National League... a league where he never wore the number 49.
    Why is a Kyle Lohse baseball bat significant? He was a pitcher, after all... well, this is why. 
    Is this the bat Kyle Lohse used to smash ol' Ronnie's door? I mean, probably not... but if Pete Rose can sell his #4192 bat over and over again for profit, we can all pretend that this bat first (only?) saw action against an office door in the Metrodome on that random night in September of 2005. Who's to say otherwise, really?
    So, dear Twins Daily community member, if you want this prize, start typing, for it will only be available to the user who writes the most popular post on the Twins Daily forums in the first half of the 2022 campaign.
    PS. I've scoured eBay for months but have yet to find an auction for the accompanying Ron Gardenhire office door but should you come across one - legally or otherwise - you know where to find me and I'm willing to pay big for it.
  3. Like
    wsnydes reacted to Brock Beauchamp for a blog entry, Introducing active and 40-man rosters!   
    New to the site, we've added both the active roster and the 40-man roster pages!
    These pages will update nightly so they'll always be up-to-date with the current state of the big league club, adding yet another long-term feature I've wanted to see on our baseball sites basically forever. There isn't a lot to say about these pages other than they feature the standard set of player info: name, position, handedness, DoB, etc.
    To find these pages, use the hamburger menu at the top right of every page (the three horizontal lines), click "Twins Resources", and then you'll be presented the options for both the roster pages and the team schedule for the season.
    As always, if you have suggestions for new features you'd like to see added or improvements to current features, please comment below!
  4. Like
    wsnydes reacted to stringer bell for a blog entry, Where We Stack Up   
    As I occasionally do, I checked MLB statistics today. I wanted to see how the team stacked up to the rest of Major League Baseball. Most teams have played about 10 games, so we have an idea of trends, although some things are out of whack. Baltimore has good pitching? Cleveland has the top team BA in the American League? Nah, those things won't last. What about the Twins? Well, with a 4-6 record and and -6 run differential, I figured the Twins would profile poorly on offense and middle of the road on the run prevention side, Here's what I found.
    Pitching. Far from a disaster, but not league average. The Twins are 20th (of 30) in team ERA and 15th in runs per game. That difference is explained by only allowing three unearned runs despite 8 errors in 10 games. They haven't played any extra inning games and unearned runs really happen there due to the "ghost runner". Other stats--23rd in walks per nine innings, 21st in strikeouts per nine innings, 15th in Opponents Batting Average and 20th in WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched). The starting staff has been better than expected, but the bullpen ERA is over 4.50. This looks like pretty good luck to this point--they're allowing more balls than average to be put in play, walking more than league average and still at the median for allowing base runners and runs.
    Hitting. The only stat where the Twins are significantly better than league average is home runs. They are sixth in the league in homers per plate appearance. Other key stats--third in strikeouts per plate appearance, 25th in team OPS, 22nd in runs per game. Hitters are more predictable and projectable that pitchers. The Twins have been projected to be a good offensive team, probably enough to make up for their pitching deficiencies and hang around .500, so far that isn't the case. 
    To summarize, it is early. The offense has been a major disappointment, but will improve. Pitching has been better than expected, but there are some number that predict a downturn. After playing three straight 90-win teams (from 2021), the Twins will face a less daunting schedule in the upcoming weeks. Hopefully, the record and stats improve over that time.
  5. Like
    wsnydes reacted to BaseballGenius123 for a blog entry, Why Am I a Twins Fan, And a Little About Myself   
    This post will be about why I am a Twins fan and some memories of the Twins, and a little about me. My name is Levi Hansen, I am 24 years old and I am from Rochester, Minnesota. I went to high school at Mayo High School and graduated in 2016. When I was in high school I knew that after I graduated I wanted to go to college and major in something that involved sports, but I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to go for. My senior year I decided I wanted to go to school and major in Athletic Training, after a couple years of doing this I found out that this wasn’t right for me, so I switched my major to Mass Communications, I graduated from Rochester Community and Technical College for my Associates Degree this last Spring Semester after I was done with my internship. For my internship I did play-by-play for the Yellowjackets at Rochester Community and Technical College men’s and women’s basketball team’s. At first I was really scared to do play-by-play because I am not a huge basketball fan in general, but halfway through the season the Athletic Director at school stopped me in the hallway after one of the games and told me that an assistant coach from one of the team’s really enjoyed listening to my play-by-play announcing, but the one thing I could change is to say the player’s names more instead of saying the jersey number. At the end of season I was really mad because I think I improved a lot throughout the season and I didn’t want the season to end.
    I think I got the love of sports, mostly baseball and football from my father, both my parents are from Trempealeau, Wisconsin, my dad grew up a huge Vikings fan, and when my mom was pregnant with me my dad would read the sports section of the newspaper to my mom’s growing stomach. I like to thank my dad for doing that because I love my Minnesota Twins no matter if they are one of the best teams in the regular season and sadly 0-18 in the last 18 playoff games, or if they are having a disappointing season like they are having this season. Ever since I was in Kindergarten my dad would ask myself, along with my younger brother and sister if we wanted to play youth sports, I played baseball, football, from Kindergarten thru my freshman year of high school and I wrestled from Kindergarten thru my 8th grade year, I truly miss playing all these sports. I also did Boy Scouts for a couple years and they would do a fun night at the Metrodome watching the Twins game and have some fun activities and at the end of the night the Boy Scouts could sleep on the turf. Those times were very fun.
    All good things come to an end. I decided I didn’t want to play football anymore after my freshman year, and I wasn’t good enough to make the high school team my freshman year, the players wanted me to stay and be the student manager my Sophomore year, I knew this was an easy choice I ended up managing the baseball team my sophomore year through my senior year for the baseball team and I ended up managing the football team my senior year both of them were so much fun being around a good group of guys and some good coaches. A little story. The Twins drafted Bradley Mathiowetz in the 2014 draft in one of the later rounds. Bradley was a couple years older than me in high school. I thought that was pretty cool that I went to high school and knew a Twins draftee either  though he ended up not signing. Bradley ended up being Mr. Baseball for Minnesota in 2014, Bradley was a treat to watch it seemed he hit a home run every at bat and he was a pretty great defensive catcher as well.
    Over my 24 years of being a Twins fan, there have been several good players, however my favorite Twins fan of all time is power hitting, gods defensive first basemen Justin Morneau. I think Justin could’ve been in the Hall Of Fame if it wasn’t for all the concussions he suffered while playing the game tough. Justin ended his playing career with 1,545 games played, 5,699 at- bats, 247 Home Runs with a .281 Batting Average, those are pretty good career numbers if you ask me. There was a time I got to meet Justin Morneau at the Metrodome. Years ago there was a reading contest through Cub Foods and people had to read a certain number of minutes to meet Justin, I completed the assignment not because I love to read (I only like to read sports books.) It was because I wanted to meet my favorite player. I remember going through the line as a little kid telling him he was my favorite player it was very fun meeting my favorite player. 
    The year 2020 was a very sad year with COVID making the world a not so very fun place to live. Spring Training was cut short because of it. When I heard there might not be baseball played last year I felt sick to my stomach and didn’t know what to do in my free time. When there wasn’t any baseball I found some fun baseball podcasts to listen to, I really enjoy Nash Walker’s podcasts and really like Aaron Gleeman and John Bonnes’s podcasts both podcasts are a treat to listen to, another podcast I love listening to are Twins Daily offseason podcasts. If there is ever a time that I could join a Twins Daily offseason podcast it would be so fun. I like listening to the podcasts because I just really like listening to people’s takes on my favorite sports team, most of their takes I agree with but, some I don’t. I wanted to pick up my blog I took a break off from writing on Twins Daily, but a couple months ago I stated blogging again. I love to blog on Twins Daily because I can write whatever comes to mind about the Twins, and people can comment on posts. When I found out there was going to be baseball, but only 60 games, without any fans I was really happy that ”America’s Favorite Pastime” was coming back. Other Twins fans can follow me on Twitter my handle is LeviHansen11
    Hopefully you guys like this post. My next post will be about the trades the Twins made at the trade deadline and if I like them or not. 
  6. Like
    wsnydes reacted to Ted Schwerzler for a blog entry, Rocco’s Next Act May Define Him   
    The 2021 Minnesota Twins have been terrible, there’s no denying that. Where blame lies is debatable, but the manager is dealing with a deck missing plenty of cards. He’s no absolved from any wrongdoing, but a “Fire Rocco” campaign is also shortsighted. Instead, 2022 is shaping up to be a defining act.
    Through his first two seasons as the Twins skipper, Baldelli posted a 147-85 record. He led the club to back-to-back AL Central Division titles, and he took a team underperforming to new heights. After navigating a pandemic stricken season that included plenty of uncertainty, the only thing certain is that 2021 requires a reset.
    In April, this club seemed to be dealt a good amount of bad luck. They were 9-15 despite a plus-two run differential. From there injuries and ineffectiveness took over, rendering most managerial decisions a moot point. This club wasn’t supposed to be bad, and they don’t have to be in the year ahead, but how their leader directs them could be somewhat of a career defining turning point.
    Rocco is young, just 39-years-old, but was he a beneficiary of a team that blasted a boatload of homers and played a shortened season? Maybe he was snakebit by a team that couldn’t stay healthy and get out of its own way. No matter what the Twins have been with their new manager, 2022 has the opportunity to allow him runway for a new mark to be made.
    I’d argue the Twins would be silly to rebuild. Plenty of this core was seen as impact players coming into the season. Unless that evaluation by the front office was completely misguided, shuffling in new parts makes a lot of sense. Allowing youth to get their feet wet in 2021 should benefit them in more substantial roles going forward. Even in a rebuild though, there’s opportunity to shine.
    The Detroit Tigers were abysmal out of the gate and have since played a much stronger brand of baseball. A.J. Hinch was brought in as a replacement for Ron Gardenhire with the hope of leading a young roster back to relevance. He’s not going to do that this season, but they’re trending in the right direction, and it seems as though the Astros former skipper wasn’t just a by-product of a talented environment.
    Rocco Baldelli doesn’t need to be defined by a record or banners in his first few seasons, but what he’ll have to prove in the year ahead is that process is driving results. We can throw away the present season and provide a pass given the circumstances, from there, a need to see more impact and growth resonating from the man in charge is a must.
    Derek Falvey and Thad Levine will do plenty to outline the future’s course over the next week prior to the trade deadline. From there, Baldelli will have a clearer directive on what in front of him and showing an ability to navigate the path forward is his next challenge.
    For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  7. Like
    wsnydes reacted to Teflon for a blog entry, Who Owned Whom? Notable Opposing Players Versus Twins Greats   
    Over a 7-year career ending in 1979, Twins DH Craig Kusick came to the plate 1461 times, compiling an unremarkable slash line of .235/.342/.392. Kusick may have had a briefer stay in the bigs, however,  if it was not for his uncanny ability to hit Frank Tanana of the California Angels  who was the most intimidating strikeout pitcher in the American League not named Nolan Ryan or Vida Blue. 
    Kusick ended up facing Tanana more than any other pitcher over his career – 59 times - which was about 4% of all his plate appearances. In those at-bats, Kusick went  16 for 42 (.381) drawing a Bonds-like 16 walks for a .542 on-base percentage. He also took Tanana deep 4 times in those 42 at-bats and drove in 11 runs.  Three of those home runs came in consecutive games against Tanana in 1976, after which Tanana walked Kusick 7 times in the next 5 times they met – twice intentionally.
    While Kusick was certainly not a Twins great, his inextricable linking to Tanana suggests an interesting related topic. Thanks to the Batter-vs-Pitcher data on Baseball Reference we can now ask and answer who were the opposing players Twins greats faced the most and who owned whom?
    * * * * * * * * * 
    For the first "Who Owned Whom?" we look at a recent Twins great, Joe Mauer.
    Over his 15-year career, Mauer played in 1858 games and had 7960 plate appearances. He batted .306, had an on-base average of .388, slugged .439 with 143 home runs, scored 1018 runs and drove in 939. His most frequent opposing pitcher over his career was none other than Detroit’s Justin Verlander who faced off against Joe in 97 plate appearances. Verlander, who has a career .228 batting average-against and OPS-against of .652, was definitely "owned" by Mauer as Joe finished with a slash line of .317/.423/.537 on 26 for 82 hitting with 15 walks. The 26 hits are the most by Mauer against any pitcher and the first one came in his first at-bat against Verlander in the second game of a Saturday double header versus Detroit on July 23rd, 2005 as Joe hit an 0-2 pitch deep to left field in Detroit for an RBI double.
    The other pitchers Joe faced frequently were Rick Porcello –who fared better than his Tigers teammate - (75 plate appearances, .243/.293/.329) and the unfortunate John Danks of the White Sox.  (71 plate appearances, .381/.451/.476) Coincidentally (or not), Danks is the only pitcher to have beaned Mauer more than once. CC Sabathia is the pitcher that struck Joe out the most   -17 Ks in 52 plate appearances - and, along with another lefty, Mark Buehrle,  most “owned” Joe.  Joe only managed  .196/.269/.239 against Sabathia and .197/209/.303 against Buehrle.
    Sabathia was also the first pitcher Mauer faced in the big leagues in his debut versus Cleveland in the Season Opener at the Metrodome on April 5th, 2004. Mauer, batting 8th, walked on 4 pitches against Sabathia in the 3rd and struck out swinging on a full count in the 5th. Sabathia pitched through the 7th and left with a 4-0 lead. The Twins rallied to tie the game, 4-4, in the 8th inning and Mauer's first big league hit would come on a single to center off Rafael Betancourt leading off the 9th. The game went to extra innings and Mauer got his second hit on a one-out, one-on single to right in the 11th off Chad Durbin, moving Nick Punto (running for Matt LeCroy who had walked) to third. After a Christian Guzman strikeout, Shannon Stewart lifted a Durbin fly ball deep to LF for a game-winning 3-run homer, bringing in Mauer and Punto and blowing 49,584 Metrodome fans from the exits hoarse and happy. What a memorable game to start a career!
    Watch for another installment of "Who Owned Whom" coming soon.
  8. Like
    wsnydes reacted to Ted Schwerzler for a blog entry, Molitor Out. Falvine In.   
    Today the Minnesota Twins announced that Paul Molitor will not be brought back as Manager in 2019. With two years remaining on his freshly signed three year deal, it may come as a surprise to some, but it really shouldn't. While it hasn't been a certainty that the Twins front office would make a change, the signs have been there for some time. Now with the opportunity to hire their guy, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine prepare for a pivotal offseason.
    Molitor was offered a three-year extension following the 2017 season. Despite looking like he would be let go last season, Molitor's Twins got into the playoffs and he earned a Manager of the Year award because of it. With the Manager of the Year award being loosely tied to surprise performances, it's not a huge shock he was the one voters selected. Had he missed the postseason however, the award likely lands elsewhere, and the three-year deal never gets done.
    Being brought back this season, it appeared that Minnesota's front office thought long and hard about the decision. He was not immediately re-upped last winter, and there was never any glowing indications of support from the top during the 2018 slate. While he was offered a three-year contract, a two-year deal after such a close decision for change likely would've looked like little more than a placeholder.
    Certainly there will be some Twins fans that can't wrap their head around guys like Brian Dozier and Eduardo Escobar being gone in the same season. Adding St. Paul native Paul Molitor to that list isn't going to do management any favors with that crowd. However, give the front office credit for not concerning themselves with those opinions. Making baseball decisions based on feelings or how an individual relates to an organization is a good way to quickly venture down a wrong road. At the end of the day, fans clamor for winning more than anything else, and being solely focused on that purpose is of the utmost importance.
    Embarking upon one of the most important offseasons in recent memory, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine will now begin with a managerial search. They are able to bring in someone of their choosing, and internal candidates such as Derek Shelton and Jeff Pickler could be waiting in the wings. The ties to Texas and Cleveland still reside in both, so Sandy Alomar or Jeff Bannister may be of some intrigue as well. I'm not sure where they turn, but I'm of the opinion that it will be a good source regardless.
    While there's been some in-season roster decisions I've found myself in disagreement with the front office, the vast majority of trades, acquisitions, and moves have been well executed. Although it's easy to mock a process that seems new or uncertain, it's also hard to really dig in and not see positive ripples reflecting throughout the system.
    Managers don't make an incredible impact during a Major League Baseball season, but Paul Molitor generally did less with more during games. He left opportunity on the table, and neither Byron Buxton or Miguel Sano truly developed under his tutelage. The organization wanting to get someone on staff that can take the big league club to new heights is a worthy ask. Now that Molitor is out, Falvine is in and it's on them to find who's next in charge.
    For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  9. Like
    wsnydes reacted to Brandon Warne for a blog entry, WARNE: Twins Unequivocally Did the Right Thing at the Trade Deadline   
    It’s not often that I allow someone in my mentions to get me so wound up that I devote an entire, stand-alone article to a single person, but here we are.
    The tweet in question — feel free to click and read the mind-bending thread in all its glory — appears as follows:
    NOTE: This person has since blocked me for reasons that don’t entirely make sense. He has also deleted the tweets, so I have saved this screenshot to remember his weird rant, which also included alluding to the Twins not going after Shohei Otani because of how poorly ByungHo Park and Tsuyoshi Nishioka panned out. Bad takes all around!
    It’s not often that baseball provides irrefutable evidence in a discussion. Nobody can rationally debate that the Houston Astros won the World Series or who won the Gold Glove awards which were handed out on Tuesday night. Those are set in stone.
    But in debates, there can always be varying levels of certainty, different angles being pursued by those involved and a number of other situations at play. In this case, the general debate is that the Twins front office messed up at the trade deadline.
    And quite frankly, there is no evidence to back that up.
    The back story to the debate centers around the Twins having the second-most available in their July 2 pool to sign international free agents. This looms especially large this offseason with Japanese phenom Shohei Otani petitioning to come over.
    Part of the reason the Twins have that much money is that they received some back from the Washington Nationals in the Brandon Kintzler trade.
    This is where that debate begins, as the party in question says the Twins “had no business trading legitimate major-league pitching at the deadline last year.”
    The simplest — and possibly laziest — form of logical fallacy is revisionism. In other words, looking at a situation and how it plays out, then saying “Well I wouldn’t have done THAT” without offering anything in the way of a solution.
    Even that isn’t in Mr. Papas’ favor. Why?
    Please click through to Zone Coverage here to read this story in its entirety.
  10. Like
    wsnydes reacted to Ted Schwerzler for a blog entry, A Change Coming In The Twins Dugout?   
    Now into the final third of the 2017 Major League Baseball season, the Minnesota Twins have somewhat mapped out their destiny. Selling off short term assets, they will be positioning themselves to make a playoff run in 2018. In the first year under Derek Falvey and Thad Levine, the club was in somewhat of a feeling out period. Over the offseason, the biggest change could come in who heads up the dugout.
    Paul Molitor was given a one-year grace period by owner Jim Pohlad. Despite mixed results his first two seasons, Molitor was saved as Pohlad mandated that whoever take over for Terry Ryan, keep the current manager in place. Now in the last of a three-year deal, Molitor has nothing to fall back on, and management could go a different direction.
    When hired, Molitor was up against a group that included names such as Doug Mientkiewicz and Torey Lovullo. The other names in consideration were significantly younger than he was, and had a bit more going for them in terms of managerial experience. Molitor was a guy I backed, and thought made sense, but as we've seen, it's been a bumpy road. It's hard to go backwards and consider what could've been at this point, but the past three years lay a blueprint for Minnesota to avoid.
    Chief among the issues that plague Molitor are in game decision making, and his relatability to younger players, which is currently the lifeblood of the Twins future. Regarding in game decisions, Minnesota's skipper has done everything from pinch running in odd situations, to making head scratching bullpen moves. In relief, Molitor has latched onto a few guys each year, and ridden them into the ground. For 2017, that name has definitely been Taylor Rogers. Despite running an overflowing bullpen for the bulk of 2017, the same select arms have been used.
    There's been select games that one could point to in illustrating bad in game managing or bullpen usage, and there's also been a concerning trend of the same mistakes being made. For Molitor, it seems to boil down to a lack of experience, or an inability to best position the Twins for success. Being paired with help like Jeff Pickler this year, it's probably not something that has gone unnoticed by the men in charge.
    Outside of the in game decision making, there's been a confusing inability to develop youth. While not in the clubhouse or involved in any conversations, it appears from the outside that Molitor struggles with relating to the backbone of Minnesota's core. Whether it be Jorge Polanco, Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, or some other name, Molitor has dropped the ball at times over the past three seasons. Young players have either gone underutilized or put in odd situations at times, and knowing they represent the organization's future, that's more than a little concerning.
    In reality, managers in baseball come in somewhere along the middle of the spectrum as far as coaches go. They maybe don't make as many impactful decisions as coaches of other sports do, but the few opportunities they get each night, can have a big influence. Employing an average or mediocre manager may not matter in the standings, but an above average or good choice can absolutely steal you a game or two. Conversely, someone below average as I would argue Molitor has been, can cost a few games over the course of a season. That hasn't mattered in recent memory for Minnesota, but a team with playoff aspirations as soon as next year should want more.
    As things stand right now, I'm not sure where Derek Falvey and Thad Levine may turn. I do believe they'll go elsewhere to manage the 2018 Twins, and I don't think they can be faulted for that practice. Molitor is finishing out his contract, and I can't see a scenario in which Minnesota or another organization is lined up to give him more run. Paul Molitor the player was a great one, but as a manager, the Twins will need something more a year from now.
    For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  11. Like
    wsnydes reacted to Thrylos for a blog entry, 2017 Twins Off-Season top 60 Prospect List: 41-45   
    Originally published at The Tenth Inning Stretch
    You can find the introductory segment in this series, including my criteria for eligibility to be a prospect and the list of the 2016 top 40 players who graduated as prospects or are not in the system, here. Here is my 2016 Twins off-season top 40 prospects list (summary of 1-40) for reference.
    This is the countdown for players ranked 51-55th in the system. You can find players 56-60 here, players 51-55 here, 46-50 here, and all segments in the series here.
    45. Pedro Garcia (--)
    DOB: 7/21/1995; Age: 21
    Positions: RHP
    Bats: R, Throws: R
    Height: 6'2", Weight: 180 lbs
    Acquired: International free Agent Signing
    Professional Experience: 1; Highest level: Rookie/DSL (2016)
    ETA: 2020+
    The Twins signed Pedro Garcia as an international free agent from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on October 11, 2015. Garcia had his first professional season in the Dominican Summer Rookie League in 2016 and he was the ace of that team, starting 14 games (62-1/3 IP), striking out 69 (10.0 K/9, 28.2 K%), and walking 24 (3.5 BB/9, 18.4 K-BB%). He finished the season with a 5-1 record, 2.17 ERA, 2.50 FIP, 1.01 WHIP (.260 BABIP). Oponents had a very hard time making contanct (.181 OBA), especially when hiting from the right side (.155 OBA) Garcia has 3 pitches, a low to mid 90s fastball with good command, a workable changeup and an above average breaking ball. There is some wildness there (he also hit 5 batters and had 2 wild pitches) but he really improved in August (4 GS, 21 IP, 5 BB, 30 K, 4-0, 1.29 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, .123 OBA) which suggests that there is huge room of improvement and he is already on his way. If that 12.9 K/9, 1.5 BB/9 of August as a starting pitcher is sign of what it is to come from Garcia, expect him to move really fast in the organization.
    Likely 2017 path: Extended Spring Training in the United States, then GCL or Elizabethton, depending his adjustment and the Twins 2017 draft.
    44. Humberto Maldonado (--)
    DOB: 12/30/1997; Age: 19
    Positions: CF
    Bats: S, Throws: R
    Height: 6'3", Weight: 202 lbs
    Acquired: International free Agent Signing
    Professional Experience: 1; Highest level: Rookie/DSL (2016)
    ETA: 2020+
    The Twins signed Humberto Maldonado as an international free agent from San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic on November 15, 2015. Maldonado had a good first professional season, hitting .283/.363/.404 as the starting centerfielder of the DSL Twins, in a league dominated by pitchers. He flashed a bit of power (15 xBH / 47 H) and speed (stole 14 bases in 24 tries.) He is a switch hitter and equally well from both sides of the plate. His glove is adequate at CF at this point. He also played 17 games at LF and finished a game at 1B. He is strong athletic type (6'3 - 202 lbs) who can develop into a five tool talent and stick at centerfield. Think of a bit taller and stronger version of Joe Benson, as a prospect. Tons of potential, but he has a long ways to go, and Joe Benson did not go very far for the Twins.
    Likely 2017 path: Extended Spring Training in the United States, then GCL, depending his adjustment and the Twins 2017 draft.
    43. Zach Granite (--)
    DOB: 9/17/1992; Age: 24
    Positions: CF
    Bats: L, Throws: L
    Height: 6'1", Weight: 175 lbs
    Acquired: Drafted in the 14th round in 2013
    Professional Experience: 1; Highest level: Rookie/DSL (2016)
    ETA: 2017
    Zach Granite was drafted by the Twins in the 14th round of the 2013 draft from Seton Hall University. The Staten Island, NY native as a collegiate hit .299/.391/.367 with 91 BB and 75 K in 156 games (633 AB). He also stole 67/78 bases. After he was drafted in 2013 he started his pro career in Elizabethton where he hit .285/.362/.343 with 29 BB, 25 K, and 14/21 SB in 61 games (278 PA.) He was promoted to Cedar Rapids in 2014 but was a lost season for him going to the disabled list multiple times with leg ailments. He only managed to play 21 games (85 PA) and had decent success (.291/.321/.367, 4 BB, 8 K, 1/5 SB.) He started the 2015 season also in Cedar Rapids where he his the cover off the ball (.358/.463/.463, 12 BB, 6 K, 7/8 SB) and after 19 games was propoted to Fort Myers were he landed hard, having the worst season of his career: In 105 games (441 PA) he hit .249/.328/.304 with 41 BB and 63 K and was 21/33 in stolen bases. He was promoted to AA Chattanooga last season where he rebounded as a 23 year old, hitting .295/.347/.382 with 42 BB and 43 K, stealing 56 of 70 bases and had 8 triples in 127 games (584 PA.) His glove at centerfield is above average and his splits as LHB were equally good in AA against both LHP (.291/.345/.339) and RHP (.296/.348/.396) for the first time in his career, having reverse splits previously.
    There have been some comparisons to Ben Revere after his season in Chattanooga, but Granite is a very poor man's Ben Revere. Their tool sets are the same, hit for average, speed, and defense; however Revere's tools were much better at the same points of their career, not to mention that Revere was in the majors by age 22 where Granite just finished his age 24 season. Revere owned a career .325/.382/.402 minor league line and a .353 career BABIP in the minors where Granite's are .282/.349/.354 and .321 respectively. For someone whose game is to get on base and use his speed to move ahead that difference of 43 points on the battling average, 33 on the on-base percentage and 32 on the batting average of the balls in play are huge. In the modern game those skills are much more devalued than they were 2 decades ago. Granite's ceiling is more of an Eric Yelding vs. a Juan Pierre type of player, which is that of a AAAA of that might spend some time in a mediocre or worse MLB team's bench. The Twins added him on their 40 man roster this season and he might be afforded that opportunity. A potential trade piece to a National League team that might value his skills as a PR and a PH and a defensive glove at the end of a game more that the Twins.
    Likely 2017 path: Starting CF at Rochester and potentially part time with the Twins based on needs and injuries.
    42. Brandon Peterson (29)
    DOB: 9/23/1991; Age: 25
    Positions: RHP
    Bats: R, Throws: R
    Height: 6'1", Weight: 190 lbs
    Acquired: 13th Round Draft Pick 2013
    Professional Experience: 5; Highest level: AA (2015, 2016)
    ETA: 2017
    Brandon Peterson was drafted in the 13th round of the 2013 draft from Wichita State University. The Savage, MN native moved pretty fast in the Twins organization, reaching the high A Fort Myers Miracle squad in the second half of his second pro season, but ended up being caught in the numbers games, having to start each of the last two seasons at that level before being promoted to AA Chattanooga the second half of the last two seasons. His 2015 and 2016 seasons both split between A+ and AA were almost identical in peripheral numbers, but not in effectiveness. Here are his numbers in both organizations for the last 2 seasons:
    2015-A+: 21 G, 31-2/3 IP, 44 K (12.5 K/9, 36.1 K%), 17 BB (4.3 BB/9, 23.8 K-BB%), 0.85 ERA, 1.81 FIP, 0.92 WHIP (.222 BABIP)
    2016-A+: 22 G, 34 IP, 44 K (11.7 K/9, 33.3 K%), 14 BB (3.7 BB/9, 22.7 K-BB%), 2.65 ERA, 2.37 FIP, 1.00 WHIP (.264 BABIP)
    2015-AA: 20 G, 29-1/3 IP, 33 K (10.1 K/9, 25.4 K%), 13 BB (4.0 BB/9, 15.4 K-BB%), 3.38 ERA, 2.93 FIP, 1.47 WHIP (.354 BABIP)
    2016-AA: 16 G, 26 IP, 31 K (10.7 K/9, 27.2 K%), 15 BB (5.2 BB/9, 14 K-BB%), 4.15 ERA, 3.28 FIP, 1.35 WHIP (.288 BABIP)
    Peterson has a fastball that sits at 95 mph and a slider that is a hair below a plus pitch. I think that the 2017 season is a make or break season for the 25 year old. After last season, I thought that it might be that he needs to adjust his approach to be successful against better competition rather than his stuff not playing against better competition, based on his results in AA compared to A+, especially with that high AA BABIP. Having pretty much the similar results between the two leagues in 2016, reduces my confidence in Peterson. While in A+ he looks like a borderline elite reliever, albeit with some wildness, in AA he looks like a mediocre reliever, and the Twins are full of young promising RHRP who are ahead of him both in the high minors and majors.
    Likely 2016 path: Sharing closer duties in AA, a promotion to AAA is probably depending his success and promotions to the MLB bullpen of AAA pitchers allowing him a path there.
    41. Brandon Lopez (SS)
    DOB: 9/9/1993; Age: 23
    Positions: SS
    Bats: R, Throws: R
    Height: 6'1", Weight: 190 lbs
    Acquired: 10th Round Draft Pick 2016
    Professional Experience: 1; Highest level: A (2016)
    ETA: 2019
    Brandon Lopez was drafted in the 10th round of the 2016 draft from the University of Miami as a senior. The Miramar, FL native Sports Administration major was the Hurricanes' starting SS all 4 seasons with the team and was previously drafted out of High School by the Blue Jays in the 34th round of the 2012 draft. He struggled somewhat his first two seasons as a collegiate with the bat, keeping the starting SS position because of his glove, he improved in his junior season and had a stellar senior season in 2016. He hit .376/.449/.469 with 23 BB and 34 K, stealing 5 out of 7 bases and having 14 doubles and 2 home runs, in 58 games (214 AB). He started his professional season in Elizabethton where he continue hitting well despite the transition to the wooden bat. He hit .337/.474/.413 with 21 BB and 19 K, was 4/4 in stolen bases and had 5 doubles and 1 HR in 27 games (92 AB). He was promoted to Cedar Rapids at the end of the season where he played 18 games (70 AB) and hit .286/.398/.329 with 11 BB and 16 K and 3 doubles. His BABIP numbers this season were .433 with Miami, .425 with Elizabethton and .370 with Cedar Rapids. His junior season, his BABIP was .357, which suggests that there is potential to sustain a BABIP at the .375 level as a professional player. Very limited power, but some potential and average speed, but above average pitch selectivity and glove at SS; a bit older for both of his leagues at 23, but much better than average performance. He hits Left and Right hand pitchers equally well.
    Lopez has the potential to be a good glove shortstop that can hit and take a walk. Because his performance requires that he maintains a high BABIP, which is not beyond Lopez, it is interesting to see how he will do against better pitching competition, especially at the A+ and AA levels. Potentially blocked by Nick Gordon at this point, if Gordon stays at SS, Lopez might be a valuable trade chip for the Twins down the road. But there is long way to go. Lopez in a pretty high ceiling but high risk player, thus the reason he missed a top 40 inclussion. This will change with sustained success, esp. keeping his BABIP high.
    Likely 2017 path: Starting SS at Cedar Rapids with a potential move to Miracle mid-season
  12. Like
    wsnydes reacted to Ted Schwerzler for a blog entry, Terry Ryan Is Bad, and Worse Than You'd Think   
    There's not much hiding from the fact that the 2016 Minnesota Twins aren't good. Currently just 24-51 through their first 75 games, Paul Molitor and Terry Ryan have put a stinker on the field night after night. While there's plenty of blame to be handed to the players under-performing, there's a true scapegoat in all of this.
    At the end of the day, the criticism for Terry Ryan hasn't been loud enough.
    Sure, it's maybe not fair to pile on a 62 year old that's in well over his head. That being said, he's currently the General Manager of a Major League Baseball team, and his ineptitude suggests we probably haven't dissected just how bad it is, often enough. Forget the fact he asked his best young player to play out of position, or the reality that he's made countless of boneheaded roster moves in 2016 alone. Honestly, you can forget that fact that the debacle known as 2016 has even happened, none of it matters, and none of it absolves Ryan from what he's done.
    What is it that he has done you ask? Now in his 20th season as the General Manager of the Minnesota Twins, Ryan has compiled losing records in 13 of those seasons (including 2016). He's orchestrated two separate four-year stretches of 90 plus losses, and his teams have won just 47% of the 3,083 games he's presided over.
    After handpicking his replacement in Bill Smith following the 2017 season, he's come back to be even worse. Since his return in 2011, the Twins have won only 42% of their games, and have had just one winning season. Ryan has never sniffed anything close to a World Series berth, and the playoffs have been made just four times.
    In short, no sane franchise gives any comparable run to a General Manager that has failed at the level Ryan has for the Twins.
    Not only has Minnesota given Terry Ryan 20 years of employment, but they have also entrusted him with one of the most critical situations in recent Twins history. Following the second four-year 90 loss stretch under his watch, Ryan was tasked to rebuild. He had a talented farm system that was supposed to be the biggest piece of the puzzle, and in turn, make Minnesota relevant at the highest level.
    Instead, Ryan has decided to put bandaids on a bullet wound, and turned his nose at a rebuild. He's committed significant money or years of employment to players like Phil Hughes, Ricky Nolasco, and Kurt Suzuki, He moved his star third basemen to right field and got him injured. He's failed to make trades when they appeared obvious, and instead has sold at a player's lowest possible value, or cut bait all together (see Arcia, Oswaldo). Seemingly lacking understanding of player options, he's misused his young talent (see Tonkin, Michael or Polanco, Jorge), and he's committed to veteran retreads.
    Ryan most recently can be pitted against franchise gurus such as Theo Epstein or Jeff Lunhow. With both the Cubs and Astros finding themselves in similar positions to the Twins during recent memory, both have turned their respective franchises around and are in significantly better places than that of the hapless Twins. While both Chicago and Houston were looking to turn things around and sustain a high level of play into the future, Ryan was worried about toeing the line of mediocrity for the here and now.
    To summarize, nothing the Twins do in 2016 matters. Poor trades, poor roster management, poor decisions, all of it together doesn't matter. Sure, the more decisions that Terry Ryan has a hand in, the further the franchise will be set back for the long run. Really though, the only thing that matters is that the Twins realize and do something about their 20 year long mistake.
    Terry Ryan is not a good General Manager, and he's never been a good General Manager. A brief period of relevance is a distant memory, and far from worthy to hang the franchise's hat on still today. It's not an enviable situation to make a change at the top, but until the Minnesota Twins rid themselves of the man who has brought them 20 seasons of losing, nothing matters.
    For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  13. Like
    wsnydes reacted to Tom Froemming for a blog entry, Should Be More Scrutiny Over Twins Playing Time, Not Payroll   
    If you've been a fan of the Minnesota Twins for a while, you're probably sick of hearing about payroll. It's a topic that's beaten to death, and the criticisms are often contradictory.
    People will rip the ownership for not spending more out of one side of their mouth and ridicule them for overpaying Joe Mauer out the other. You can't have it both ways.
    In no way am I trying to suggest ownership or the front office shouldn't be questioned. I'm just saying those are tired and lazy arguments and it's time to point frustrations in a new direction.
    The most important positive step the organization could take would be to stop taking into account how much money it has invested in a player when making roster decisions. They need to stop being so cheap, and accept the fact when they've made a poor investment.
    As much as I would have loved to see the Twins sign an ace or dump a bunch of money into the bullpen, the team's decision not to is entirely defensible. Big, long-term contracts almost never work out and relievers are pretty unreliable from one year to the next.
    It wasn't long ago all these multi-year contracts to relievers would have been met with pretty much universal disdain. But, of course, the Royals have changed all that. It's a copycat league.
    What is indefensible is to refuse to give up on guys like Mauer or Ricky Nolasco in an attempt to save face despite having numerous better options.
    As a big Mauer apologist, I'll always hold out hope that he'll get back to being an on-base machine. Maybe the farther Mauer gets from his concussion the more likely it gets he'll regain his hand-eye skills. And I don't think we've ever seen Nolasco healthy in a Twins uniform. There's some reason to hold out hope for him, too.
    But if it starts to look like more of the same from either Mauer or Nolasco the club must move them into lower profile roles. The goal has to be winning games, not protecting egos.
    The Twins don't necessary need to spend a bunch of money to build a playoff team. All they need to do is put the best 25 guys on the roster and set roles based on skills and performance rather than service time and contract status.
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