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Tom Froemming

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  1. Like
    Tom Froemming reacted to Allen Post for a blog entry, Happ Signing Means Bigger Things to Come...We Hope   
    The Twins signed veteran starter J.A. Happ to a one-year, $8 million deal this afternoon. Happ is 38 years old and pitched to a 3.47 ERA and a 1.054 WHIP in nine starts with the Yankees in 2020.
    At first glance, Happ’s addition feels like the kind of boring move that is necessary for contending teams to make. He’s not making national headlines, but he’ll slide right into the fourth spot in the rotation and he’ll get a lot of important outs throughout the year as long as he stays healthy. With the addition, the rotation looks as follows:
    Maeda/Berrios
    The other of Maeda/Berrios
    Pineda
    Happ
    Dobnak

    That’s all well and good. That’s a high-level American League rotation. The eight million feels a little steep and Happ wasn’t on many of our radars, but you can’t be too mad at a hole getting filled.
     


    Happ pitched well in 2020 and hopes to keep fans smiling in Minnesota 
    It’s certainly still possible that the Twins still spend on another starter to get closer to a 2011 Phillies-esque “Four Aces” roster construction, but I just don’t see it. The rotation is seemingly set and there are bigger holes elsewhere. While Trevor Bauer was probably always going to be too spendy, guys like Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton no longer seem like possibilities for the Twins. Of course, Jake Odorizzi could come back into the fold and push Pineda and Happ down to the four and five slots respectively. But I think Dobnak and a number of capable arms in the Twins system would hold down that five spot pretty well, so I would argue that there’s more upside in leaving Odo on the market and spending money elsewhere.
     
    So, now that starting pitching is no longer much of a target position, the Twins’ intentions for the rest of the free agency period become a little bit clearer. We’ve been hearing about and hoping for the possibility of big moves in the coming weeks and months, and now we know better where the money will be spent. Before today, the holes in the roster were primarily at shortstop (or utility), DH, the four spot in the rotation, and in the bullpen. Falvey and Levine just filled the hole in the rotation with a somewhat cheap one-year deal. This limited commitment to the starting rotation suggests that the front office is saving money for big moves elsewhere. And it seems that any big commitments from the Twins’ will be made at short, DH or in the bullpen.
     


    Happ's low-commitment deal allows the Twins flexibility to acquire top talent 
    At DH, the Twins are in position to bring back Nelson Cruz for one more ride or for a big multi-year investment in Marcell Ozuna. There are options at short too, such as Marcus Semien, Didi Gregorius, Andrelton Simmons, or blue-chip trade options Trevor Story or Javier Báez. They could also go out and get top relievers like Trevor Rosenthal and Brad Hand, but filling out the pen with cheap signings and homegrown talent is more Minnesota’s style. We could also see the club sprinkle money in a lot of places at once, signing a bunch of mid-level guys instead of one big-ticket player.
     
    There is, of course, a chance that the Twins remain pretty inactive, and rely on guys currently in the organization to make another playoff run. For most Twins fans, this would be a worst-case scenario and, as the days go on, our collective worries grow. For the most pessimistic fans, this signing will provide little comfort. J.A. Happ isn’t a big signing. But for me, he fills a hole that allows the Twins more flexibility to pursue the bigger fish in the free agency sea. And, they will make those big signings eventually…we hope.
  2. Like
    Tom Froemming reacted to Chris Spicer for a blog entry, A Movie That Stand’s On Its Own. Revisiting a Baseball Classic: A League Of Their Own   
    One of the greatest baseball movies of all time wasn’t played with men as the lead actors but was with women. In 1992, Penny Marshall directed A League Of Their Own. To this date it is one of the most highly regarded baseball movies of all-time and was set in a time in which there was a chance that baseball was put in the backburner to World War II. At this moment in time, while a lot of the men were out fighting the war there were a lot of the women home taking care of their families. Cub’s owner Walter Harvey (Gary Marshall) decides to talk other owners of the Major League Baseball to create a women’s baseball league to help fill the void. This movie helps capture this moment in time with a story of two competitive sisters, memorable supporting characters, and great acting.
    The heart of this film rests on sisters Dottie (Geena Davis) and Kit Hinson’s (Lori Petty) competitive nature and love for each other. The movie starts off with the two going back and forth about Kit’s batting while scout Ernie Capadino (Jon Lovitz) looks on and determines that Dottie is the player he wants on his team for this new big-league team. Dottie refuses but it’s Kit that insists this is her chance to get away. Ernie tells Kit that if she talks Dottie into playing than they both can play, and she does. Throughout the movie there is a glaring difference between the two’s talent level and Dottie is a star while Kit is too stuck in playing the game her own way and often does not rise to the challenge. Kit begins to become very resentful of Dottie’s success to the point that she is traded to a new team. The movie makes it apparently clear that if each sister could trade places, that they would, and that Dottie would be just as happy at home waiting on her husband to come back from the war. It’s this moment in the movie that you wish the two could have just made up and kept winning on the Peaches. But what would be the fun it that; there had to be a rivalry with a climax that pays off this rivalry. Both sisters meet up In the World Series and the rivalry is settled. Watching this the first time, I had wished it went the other way but after repeat viewing it is a very satisfying conclusion.
    The best movies have supporting characters that help carry a movie. Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks), the Peaches manager who is an alcoholic has some of the best moments of the movie. He starts off treating the whole thing as a joke and then begins to warm up to the team. Everything from taking an extended pee in front of the girls to yelling there’s no crying in baseball to one of the girls is some movie magic. There’s also the teammates of the Peaches that include Mae Mordabito (Madonna), Doris Murphy (Rosie O’ Donnell), and Marla Hooch (Megan Cavanagh) who also become the heart of the movie as well. Their all dealing with their own issues on the field and off the field that really help audiences want to rally around them. Mae helps a fellow player how to read, Doris keeps the team engaged, and Marla finally feels comfortable in her own skin and marries a man. The team becomes a sisterhood, and they all keep each other accountable.
    The acting in this movie is what make this film tick. Before the movie even started filming; all the actors had to spend eight hours a day, six days a week doing baseball drills so that the movie looks realistic. Penny Marshall wanted the film to look very authentic. Geena Davis was a perfect choice as Dottie because she does a good job of coming off as a talented baseball player and you feel like her character is genuine. Tom Hanks is a scene stealer who injects the movie with a sense of sarcasm and charm that it would be hard to imagine anyone else playing the part. Rosie O’Donnell also steals scenes with her comedic timing and her heartwarming scenes of reacting to the huge stage they were playing on. Madonna has some good moments too but at the time this came out may have been more of a distraction based off her popular music career. Even some of the smaller parts like Jon Lovitz and Garry Marshall all do a good job with what they are given. Davis has even said that a lot of the women playing baseball in scenes suffered ripped off skin from sliding home in continuous takes. All the hard work and research done in these characters really shown through the actor’s great work.
    In the end, this movie packs an emotional punch with the characters returning over 40 years later to open an All-American Girls Professional Baseball League exhibit at the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1988. We than see the characters reminiscing and we see the fates of these characters and they all sing their team’s song one last time together. It’s movie moments like this that we remember why we love the game of baseball and why we love playing baseball and that’s because we loved playing the game with our teammates. A league of their own does a good job of letting us remember the spirit of being young and making the game about our love with it by giving us a good story of two sisters, memorable supporting characters and great acting!
     
    Rating: Grand Slam! 5 out of 5 stars.
  3. Like
    Tom Froemming got a reaction from Doctor Gast for a blog entry, Twins Offseason Primer 2020-21 Video Series   
    The Minnesota Twins have some big decisions facing them as we prepare to enter the 2020-21 MLB offseason. I ran through a few topics in a series of videos over on my YouTube channel.
     
    Keeping Eddie Rosario | MN Twins Offseason Primer Ep. 1

     
    What To Do About Donaldson, Buxton? | MN Twins Offseason Primer Ep. 2

     
    Finding Time For Kirilloff, Lewis And Others | MN Twins Offseason Primer Ep. 3

     
    Have We Seen The Last Of Odorizzi And May? | MN Twins Offseason Primer Ep. 4

     
    Free Agent Targets: Trevor Bauer And George Springer? Why Not? | MN Twins Offseason Primer Ep. 5

     
    If you're interested in more Twins coverage over on YouTube, click this link to subscribe to my channel. While you're at it, check out Twins Daily's channel.
  4. Like
    Tom Froemming reacted to Chris Hanel for a blog entry, 69 Billion to One: The True Futility of the Twins Postseason   
    Yes, the number in the title is not an exaggeration. The true odds of the moment we find ourselves in at the close of the Twins 2020 postseason campaign, brief as it was, comes to one in 69 billion. Somewhere in the galaxy, Zaphod Beeblebrox fired up the Improbability drive and Minnesota got caught in the wake.
     
    Let's do some math, shall we?
     
    Setting a baseline
     
    Now, there's a very good chance you've seen the number 262,144 floating around Twins Twitter in the last day or two, and that's because if you were to flip a coin 18 times, the odds of each flip resulting in the same outcome are 262,144:1 against, or 218. Already, this feels bad. This feels unfair. We want to fight against this statistic. BASEBALL GAMES AREN'T COIN FLIPS, I hear you cry out. So many of those games were as underdogs against the almighty Yankees, surely the odds weren't THAT bad?
     
    And yeah, from that perspective, you'd be correct. @Awoodruff3 on Twitter looked at the problem from a gambling odds perspective:
     
    https://twitter.com/awoodruff3/status/1311415416456085510
     
    28,524:1 against! Already, this is 10 times as likely as the coin flip scenario, so the sting should only be a fraction of what we currently feel, right?
     
    Sadly, no. Here's how it really breaks down.
     
    The Methodology
     
    I have gone into the Fangraphs archives for each of the 18 games in the losing streak and made note of the moment in time where the Twins had the highest expected win probability. In 17 of the 18 games, the Twins were favored to win - and in a few cases, extremely favored - before eventually taking the L. With that information, we can look at the odds of losing from these moments where the Twins had the greatest amount of leverage to create a future other than the ones we find ourselves in now.
     

     
    October 6th, 2004: ALDS Game 2
     
    [table]
     
    Game State


    Bottom 12th, 1 out, Twins ahead by 1 at New York
     
    Twins Win Probability


    87.3%
     
    How'd things look?


    With Joe Nathan on the mound for his third inning of work, John Olerud strikes out and the Twins are 2 outs away from taking a 2-0 lead in the series.
     
    What happened?


    Nathan gives consecutive walks before A-Rod hits a ground rule double, followed by an intentional walk and a Matsui sac fly to win.
     
    Odds of a loss


    7.87:1 against[/table] 

     
    October 8th, 2004: ALDS Game 3
     
    [table]
     
    Game State


    Top 2nd, 2 outs, Twins ahead by 1 vs. New York
     
    Twins Win Probability


    64.5%
     
    How'd things look?


    Carlos Silva gets a ground ball out from Bernie Williams. It's still early, but teams in the lead tend to stay in the lead.
     
    What happened?


    Silva immediately gave up 5 consecutive singles and 3 runs before the 2nd inning was over, and the Twins never saw daylight again.
     
    Odds of a 2-game losing streak


    22:1 against[/table] 

     
    October 9th, 2004: ALDS Game 4
     
    [table]
     
    Game State


    Bottom 7, 0 outs, Twins ahead by 4 vs. New York
     
    Twins Win Probability


    97.0%(!)
     
    How'd things look?


    A-Rod concludes a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the 7th by fouling out to first base. The Twins have retired 9 straight batters.
     
    What happened?


    Yankees tie the game in the top of the 8th on an RBI single and a 3-run homer, game goes to extra innings, Yankees take the lead in the 11th, Twins fans begin to wonder if this is the start of something dire. (Narrator: It is.)
     
    Odds of a 3-game losing streak


    739:1 against[/table] 

     
    October 3rd, 2006: ALDS Game 1
     
    [table]
     
    Game State


    Bottom 1, 0 outs, tie game vs. Oakland
     
    Twins Win Probability


    58.3%
     
    How'd things look?


    Luis Castillo leads off for the Twins with a walk. This would be as good as it got.
     
    What happened?


    Frank Thomas homers to take the lead in the 2nd, and despite the Twins making things interesting in the bottom of the 8th, they would never be favored again.
     
    Odds of a 4-game losing streak


    1,773:1 against[/table] 

     
    October 4th, 2006: ALDS Game 2
     
    [table]
     
    Game State


    Bottom 6, 0 outs, tie game vs. Oakland
     
    Twins Win Probability


    57.6%
     
    How'd things look?


    Down 2, the Twins start the bottom of the 6th with consecutive homers by Cuddy and Morneau to tie the game, and Oakland goes to the bullpen.
     
    What happened?


    Oakland responds in the 7th with 2 runs off an inside the park home run.
     
    Odds of a 5-game losing streak


    4,181:1 against[/table] 

     
    October 6th, 2006: ALDS Game 3
     
    [table]
     
    Game State


    Top 2, 0 outs, tie game at Oakland
     
    Twins Win Probability


    56.3%
     
    How'd things look?


    Morneau opens the 2nd with a double, with Torii Hunter on deck.
     
    What happened?


    Morneau doesn't score, Oakland opens up a 4-0 lead, and eventually win 8-3.
     
    Odds of a 6-game losing streak


    9,569:1 against[/table] 

     
    October 7th, 2009: ALDS Game 1
     
    [table]
     
    Game State


    Top 3, 2 outs, Twins ahead by 2 at New York
     
    Twins Win Probability


    68.7%
     
    How'd things look?


    Twins take a 2-0 lead when Joe Mauer scores on a Jorge Posada passed ball
     
    What happened?


    Yankees immediately tie the game on a Derek Jeter home run, and the Twins never score again. Yankees win 7-2.
     
    Odds of a 7-game losing streak


    30,571:1 against[/table] 

     
    October 9th, 2009: ALDS Game 2
     
    [table]
     
    Game State


    Top 9, 0 outs, Twins ahead by 2 at New York
     
    Twins Win Probability


    91.7%
     
    How'd things look?


    After the Twins take a 2 run lead in the top of the 8th, the Yankees go down 1-2-3, and Joe Mauer comes to the plate to open the 9th.
     
    What happened?


    Yankees tie it up in the bottom of the 9th, Joe Mauer hits a double in the 11th that Phil Cuzzi incorrectly rules foul, and settles for a single- only to be followed by 2 consecutive singles that would have scored him had the double stood. Instead, Mauer doesn't score, Yankees walk it off on a Mark Teixeira homer, and just typing out this sentence makes me want to die inside.
     
    Odds of an 8-game losing streak


    368,333:1 against[/table] 

     
    October 11th, 2009: ALDS Game 3
     
    [table]
     
    Game State


    Top 7, 1 out, Twins ahead by 1 vs. New York
     
    Twins Win Probability


    72.6%
     
    How'd things look?


    The Twins have struck first on an RBI single by Mauer, and the Yankees have responded with a Mark Teixeira groundout.
     
    What happened?


    Yankees immediately take the lead with home runs by A-Rod and Posada. Twins threaten to tie in the 8th with a leadoff Punto double, but fail to capitalize. Yankees win 4-1.
     
    Odds of a 9-game losing streak


    1,344,281:1 against[/table] 

     
    October 6th, 2010: ALDS Game 1
     
    [table]
     
    Game State


    Top 6, 1 out, Twins ahead by 3 vs. New York
     
    Twins Win Probability


    87.7%
     
    How'd things look?


    Francisco Liriano has only given up 2 hits to the Yankees, who are down three and open the 6th with a Nick Swisher strikeout.
     
    What happened?


    The wheels come off moments later as Lirano gives up a double, a wild pitch, 2 singles, and a triple to give the Yankees a 4-3 lead. The Twins would later tie it, only to lose 6-4.
     
    Odds of a 10-game losing streak


    10,929,120:1 against[/table] 

     
    October 7th, 2010: ALDS Game 2
     
    [table]
     
    Game State


    Bottom 3, 0 outs, Twins ahead by 1 vs. New York
     
    Twins Win Probability


    66.5%
     
    How'd things look?


    Twins opened the scoring in the 2nd on a Danny Valencia sac fly, and the Yankees go down 1-2-3 in response.
     
    What happened?


    Yankees would later take a 2-1 lead before Orlando Hudson ties the game with a solo shot, but that tie doesn't last long. Yankees win 5-2.
     
    Odds of an 11-game losing streak


    32,624,240:1 against[/table] 

     
    October 9th, 2010: ALDS Game 3
     
    [table]
     
    Game State


    Top 2, 0 outs, Twins tied at New York
     
    Twins Win Probability


    50%
     
    How'd things look?


    This is the only game in the 18-game streak where the Twins were never favored. It remained 50/50 after both teams failed to accomplish anything in the first inning.
     
    What happened?


    Twins fall behind in the 2nd, and never get close, losing 6-1.
     
    Odds of a 12-game losing streak


    65,248,481:1 against[/table] 

     
    October 3th, 2017: AL Wild Card
     
    [table]
     
    Game State


    Top 1, 1 out, Twins ahead by 3 at New York
     
    Twins Win Probability


    81.8%
     
    How'd things look?


    You remember this inning, right? Twins go into Yankee Stadium and immediately knock Luis Severino out of the game with homers by Brian Dozier and Eddie Rosario, followed by an Escobar single and a Kepler double. 3 run lead, 2 men on, only 1 out. We've got this. Yankees don't have a CHANCE.
     
    What happened?


    Buxton and Castro strike out to end the inning, Ervin Santana gives up the lead on a 3-run homer, Yankees win 8-4, and everyone in my generation starts to develop serious anxiety complexes revolving around who the hell we hurt to cause this.
     
    Odds of a 13-game losing streak


    358,508,138:1 against[/table] 

     
    October 4th, 2019: ALDS Game 1
     
    [table]
     
    Game State


    Top 3, 2 out, Twins ahead by 2 at New York
     
    Twins Win Probability


    67.1%
     
    How'd things look?


    Twins were already leading 1-0 when Nelson Cruz comes up big with a solo home run against James Paxton.
     
    What happened?


    As per usual, Twins lose the lead immediately. They tie things up in the 5th, but that also doesn't last. Twins lose 10-4.
     
    Odds of a 14-game losing streak


    1,089,690,390:1 against[/table] 

     
    October 5th, 2019: ALDS Game 2
     
    [table]
     
    Game State


    Top 1, 1 out, Twins tied at New York
     
    Twins Win Probability


    53.6%
     
    How'd things look?


    Inexplicably known as the Randy Dobnak game, the Twins were statistically favored for the briefest of moments when a HBP and a single put 2 men on in the first inning with only one out.
     
    What happened?


    Those baserunners are stranded on a double play, Yankees score first and never look back. Twins lose 8-2.
     
    Odds of a 15-game losing streak


    2,348,470,670:1 against[/table] 

     
    October 7th, 2019: ALDS Game 3
     
    [table]
     
    Game State


    Bottom 2, 0 outs, Twins losing by 1 vs. New York
     
    Twins Win Probability


    62.6%
     
    How'd things look?


    The only entry on this series where the Twins were favored while losing. Why? The Twins opened the 2nd inning by loading the bases with no outs. This is a scenario where you are highly likely to score multiple runs.
     
    What happened?


    They didn't.
     
    Odds of a 16-game losing streak


    6,279,333,342:1 against[/table] 

     
    September 29th, 2020: AL Wild Card Round Game 1
     
    [table]
     
    Game State


    Bottom 5th, 0 outs, Twins ahead by 1 vs. Houston
     
    Twins Win Probability


    78.4%
     
    How'd things look?


    Twins open the 5th with consecutive walks while already leading.
     
    What happened?


    Strikeout, pop fly, groundout. Twins twitter immediately fears the worst due to the failure to capitalize, and their fears are proven valid.
     
    Odds of a 17-game losing streak


    29,070,987,697:1 against[/table] 

     
    September 30th, 2020: AL Wild Card Round Game 2
     
    [table]
     
    Game State


    Bottom 6th, 0 outs, Twins tied vs. Houston
     
    Twins Win Probability


    57.9%
     
    How'd things look?


    After loading the bases in the first inning and still failing to score, the Twins have done very litte. Still, it's a tie game, and the Twins are coming up to bat as slight favorites.
     
    What happened?


    The bats continued to stay silent, and couldn't overcome a 2-run deficit in the 9th. I cried, and then began writing this article as a coping mechanism.
     
    Odds of a 18-game losing streak


    69,052,227,309:1 against[/table] 

     
    Conclusions
     
    https://twitter.com/GoTwinkiesGo/status/1311406223019790336
  5. Like
    Tom Froemming got a reaction from woolywoolhouse for a blog entry, Off Day Video Dump   
    I've had a lot on my mind as we head into the 2020 MLB postseason, and have been sharing my thoughts over on my YouTube channel. This short season resulted in the playoffs sneaking up on me, but I found some time to get things off my chest. First up ...
     
    ATTN: Pissy Twins Fans

     
    Yes, I'm calling you out!!! This was recorded shortly after the White Sox series, and I was fed up with the way a lot of Twins fans were throwing shade at the White Sox while also dumping on the Twins at the same time.
     
    Twins vs. Yankees AGAIN!?!?!?

     
    Losing that series to the White Sox made it highly likely the Twins would face the Yankees in the playoffs. That, of course, created a sense of dread across Twins Territory. I'll admit that was also my first impression, but after thinking about it awhile my perspective changed.
     
    The Regular Season Doesn't Matter

     
    This is especially true in 2020, but the regular season doesn't really matter. It doesn't. It's all about October. How this Twins season will be remembered depends on how they perform in the playoffs.
     
    Bullpen Analysis Extravaganza!

     
    In this one, I just took about 20 minutes to share some statistics and opinions on the Twins' bullpen, which is one of the better units in all of baseball. Still, Taylor Rogers' turbulence has created a degree of uncertainty. How are things going to shake out heading into the postseason?
     
    If you're interested in more Twins coverage over on YouTube, click this link to subscribe to my channel. While you're at it, check out Twins Daily's channel, where you can find the Postgame Pint live stream after every Twins game.
  6. Like
    Tom Froemming reacted to Parker Hageman for a blog entry, Baseball Is Back. So Am I.   
    The question I’ve received the most the past few months is why was my original Twitter account suspended.
     
    On March 13 I was covering the Twins in Fort Myers on what would be the last normal day before everything in this world went goofy.
     
    I awoke at the Twins Daily-rented AirBnB, and immediately checked Twitter on my phone as I am wont to do in case I missed something earth shattering in the six hours since I last peeked in.
     

     
     
    Account suspended, it read.
     
    I couldn’t pull down the stream to get that satisfying no-clip-scissor-ride-through-wrapping-paper when refreshing a completely new set of tweets on my feed. I couldn’t get that dopamine rush of seeing that someone liked or retweeted some content I had created. I simply got nothing.
     
    I flipped over to my Gmail and found this.
     

     
    It was a DMCA takedown notice -- removal of video content in which the music was copyrighted, in this case, the song “Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now” by Starship and owned by Sony Entertainment Group.
     
    Jfc.
     
    I had just moved up my flight to make sure I wasn’t stranded on America’s sweaty jockstrap of an isthmus and now my main portal of information to the outside world was cut.
     
    How did this happen?
     
    I had started by making Vines --a defunct application that featured seven second video clips that loops-- with game highlights set to Starship’s 1987 hit song. It was a nod to the World Series winning team. The bit became somewhat of a localized hit. Soon, people would tweet at me after big victories, asking for their nightly montage.
     
    When the Twins fell flat on their face in 2016, I created a longer lowlight version and it took off. It was a blooper reel set to perfect music for the occasion. A surprising amount of people would thank me for posting them. People affiliated with the team would even reach out. It became an annual tradition.
     
    I didn’t get anything out of it other than smug, self-satisfaction that I had contributed just a little bit of joy to this awful, awful world. Now I was being accused of pirating Starship’s music (ok), using it inappropriately (whatever), and had violated Twitter’s rules (yap).
     
    While covering the Twins in Florida this spring, I read Stephen Witt’s illuminating book on the music industry, How Music Got Free. It documents the rise of mp3s, Napster, iTunes, and VEVO from the 1980s through today. It reads like the Moneyball of music. Highly recommended.
     
    It also helped me understand how we got to the point of suspending accounts like mine.
     
    Long ago, in the 1990s, a music executive named Doug Morris was printing money by selling CDs based on one or two hit songs surrounded by unlistenable garbage. Because we could not wait to listen to “Mmmbop” on the radio, we’d slap down $17 to listen to an entire album of dreck.
     
    But then Napster showed up and saved us. While illegal, it gave the world a better business model than what Morris was providing.
     
    When iTunes and the iPod finally killed CDs, Morris discovered the rising popularity of YouTube and how his grandkids were watching music videos on that site. He then created VEVO, bought a giant catalogue of the music, and in 2007 he sent his lawyers to takedown any videos created using VEVO-owned music.
     
    If you posted a video of yourself baking a cake set to 50 Cent's "In Da Club", it was ripped down. No more sampling the goods. If you wanted to hear a song, you either had to pay or listen on a revenue-generating platform.
     
    Morris is now the chairman of Sony Entertainment Group. The same outfit that owns the rights to Starship’s song. So you can see how that company would aggressively protect its property.
     
    Twitter does not want to run afoul of music’s law dogs like the RIAA or the IFPI -- the enforcement arms of the record companies -- and has a policy that prevents users from posting videos with non-licensed music in it. They even assist in the flagging of potential violators.
     
    But it is not always consistent.
     
    After The Last Dance aired, an account on Twitter was spawned that showed Michael Jordan rocking out to more contemporary tunes. That account has over 52,000 followers and no takedowns or suspensions.
     
    You’ve probably seen numerous videos showing crushing sports moments set to one of the worst songs of all time, Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On”.
     
    One account, @TitanicTD, who affixed the song on top of NFL and college football touchdown highlights, was suspended in early 2020. Perhaps not surprisingly, Celine’s ballad is also property of Sony Entertainment Group.
     
    While I understood the general rules and risks, I had considered my use of the song protected under the Fair Use guidelines on Twitter.
     
    I used a portion of the song, not reposted the entirety. There was no monetary gain for the video, it was non-commercial. I wasn’t attempting to claim ownership.
     
    In my mind I was giving life to a lifeless song that was over thirty years old. If I had the ability to access Spotify’s data, I would bet since I began posting the tribute videos, that song’s streaming numbers on the music app probably jumped by the tens. (THE TENS!)
     
    The Fair Use act is definitely something that is difficult to argue as it is almost completely subjective and open for interpretation. For some reason I figured Twitter would understand my position. At the very least, I figured they would ask me to delete the video, not suspend my account for months.
     
    And there is some legal context for it.
     
    In 2008 Universal Music Group, then headed by the aforementioned Morris, issued a DMCA takedown to YouTube for the video of a

    The 13-month-old’s mother and video’s creator, Stephanie Lenz, responded to YouTube citing Fair Use and YouTube reinstated the video. Lenz then sued Universal for misrepresentation under the DMCA, hoping to set a precedent against companies going after videos like hers. Ultimately the courts ruled in Lenz’s favor but as the case ascended to higher courts, the two parties eventually settled when the Supreme Court declined to hear the case.
     
    Lenz’s video remains posted on YouTube. But even now Twitter users regularly receive DMCA takedowns for videos where music is inadvertently captured in the background at events or weddings. Two months after my suspension, the Star Tribune’s Michael Rand had one of his tweets flagged.
     

    https://twitter.com/RandBall/status/1260942572572246016

     
    Twitter, however, is cowing to the International Federation of Phonographic Industry (IFPI) and has been aggressively botting users’ feeds to find anything that can be construed as stolen music. According to one article, Twitter’s system has failed to decipher between which music videos are Fair Use and which are actual copyright violations. And numerous users, like Randball above, in early 2020 received temporary suspensions over perceived violations.
     
    Over the next few weeks I sent multiple emails to the Twitter copyright department, Twitter itself, and even to Greame Grant, IFPI’s Director of Anti-Piracy. I explained myself, my motivations and said I would never do something so egregious as providing their client with free advertisement again. The only thing I didn’t do was drive to the nearest rural casino to catch Starship on tour and beg the band for forgiveness.
     
    I did not receive one response beside the form email Twitter sends out encouraging violators to reach out to the copyright submitter -- in this case IFPI -- in hopes of getting them to retract the takedown request.
     
    So that’s what happened to my Twitter account.
     
    I was frustrated at the platform. The lack of response. The lack of consistency in punishment. I didn’t want to come back, not until my original account was freed. I did not want to give Twitter the satisfaction of having to rebrand and regrow. Since joining that hot steaming mess in June 2009 I have built a good following, a good brand and even better contacts (one of the worst parts about being suspended is that you cannot access your DMs or followers lists).
     
    That’s why I didn’t start tweeting from a new account right away.
     
    Plus, you know…[gestures everywhere]...this.
     
    Truthfully, given the state of the country and the on-going battle with the coronavirus, I don’t have the utmost confidence that baseball will actually be played come the end of the month. That being said, since the game is moving forward for now and there is some honest-to-goodness baseball happening at Target Field, I’ve come out of the shadows from my other account.
     
    I’m ready to talk about baseball again.
  7. Like
    Tom Froemming reacted to BlakeAsk for a blog entry, Wheeler, Bumgarner, Ryu   
    Last night the Twins Daily Twitter account tweeted out a poll, asking which free agent pitcher people would want the Twins to sign.

    As I am typing this right now, 71% of people voted Wheeler, 15% voted Bumgarner, and 9% voted Ryu, with 5% saying they wouldn’t want any of the 3. I personally voted for Wheeler as well because I think he definitely has the stuff to take his game to another level, but it surprised me that an overwhelming majority of people want Wheeler, considering Bumgarner’s playoff history, and Ryu’s outstanding 2019 season.
     
    I decided to breakdown their stats from last season, as well as the past 3 seasons, using common metrics (ERA, WHIP, K/9, FIP), as well some metrics I have created myself. The metrics I have created myself are BIP, and BVIP. BIP (bases allowed per inning pitched) is like WHIP, except I use total bases instead of hits, and also added HBPs. BVIP (base value allowed per inning pitched) is like BIP except it weighs each outcome to the average amount of bases they get including the baserunners. I like these stats instead of WHIP, because I think WHIP is flawed due to a single being treated the same as a homerun. Similarly to how OPS is used to evaluate a hitter now more heavily than AVG.
     
    Here’s what the numbers look like:
    Wheeler 2019: 207.1 IP, 3.90 ERA, 3.68 FIP, 8.8 K/9, 1.13 WHIP, 1.85 BIP, 2.90 BVIP
    Bumgarner 2019: 195.1 IP, 3.96 ERA, 3.90 FIP, 9.0 K/9, 1.26 WHIP, 1.79 BIP, 2.86 BVIP
    Ryu 2019: 182.2 IP, 2.32 ERA, 3.10 FIP, 8.0 K/9, 1.01 WHIP, 1.51 BIP, 2.43 BVIP
    Wheeler 2017-2019: 476.1 IP, 3.90 ERA, 3.68 FIP, 8.7 K/9, 1.21 WHIP, 1.82 BIP, 2.86 BVIP
    Bumgarner 2017-2019: 436.0 IP, 3.59 ERA, 3.94 FIP, 8.4 K/9, 1.21 WHIP, 1.82 BIP, 2.88 BVIP
    Ryu 2017-2019: 391.2 IP, 2.71 ERA, 3.61 FIP, 8.5 K/9, 1.12 WHIP, 1.73 BIP, 2.73 BVIP
     
    Clearly Ryu had the better numbers in 2019, but he also was better in almost every category over the last 3 years. Despite being 3 years older than the other 2, I think Ryu would be a great 3-4 year investment. He put up a 1.97 ERA in 82.1 IP in 2018, so I don’t think this year was a fluke, and he’s a good bet to put up solid numbers the next few years if he stays healthy. I would be all for the Twins offering him say a 3 year, $70 million deal, although I feel like there’s a good shot he stays in LA.
     
    Between Wheeler and Bumgarner, their numbers are very similar from last season, the only number Wheeler has that’s clearly better than Bumgarner is WHIP. However, using my metrics you can see that Bumgarner’s BIP, and BVIP are actually better than Wheeler’s, showing that the types of hits he gives up are less dangerous than Wheeler (Bumgarner gave up 25 more singles, and 20 less extra base hits). Over the last 3 seasons their stats are almost identical, with Wheeler having the advantage in FIP, and Bumgarner having the advantage in ERA. I definitely think Wheeler can still take another step forward just based on the raw stuff that he has, but that obviously isn’t guaranteed, and that fact that Bumgarner is essentially a postseason legend is very enticing. If the Twins are able to sign either of them to a 4-5 year deal worth around $17-$20 million annually I think it would be a great investment to have another bonafied arm atop the rotation along side Berrios for years to come.
     
    Let me know in the comments who you want the Twins to sign, and why, as well as what you think of the stats that I have created!
  8. Like
    Tom Froemming reacted to Long Live La Tortuga for a blog entry, Yet Another 2020 Blueprint: Wheeler and Ray, Let's Play!   
    Throw another log on the off-season blueprint fire because here's one more opinion about how the Twins should approach the winter. I believe this game plan is realistic and it would make the 2020 Twins a more complete team than the 2019 Twins. This off-season is all about adding quality pitching (hopefully a lot of it!), and my blueprint does just that.
     
    Assume that I was named honorary GM for the winter and let's fast forward to March 2020 to look at what I did before handing the keys back to Falvey and Levine:
     
    Major transactions - offense:
    1. Non-tendered CJ Cron
    2. Signed Mitch Moreland to a 1 year/$7M contract with an option for 2021
    3. Signed Brock Holt to a 2 year/$12M contract
    4. Signed Alex Avila to a 1 year/$5M contract
     
    I gladly moved on from both Jonathan Schoop and Jason Castro. Non-tendering Cron was not an easy decision, but I liked adding Moreland for his defense and left-handed bat. A rotating platoon of Moreland, Marwin Gonzalez and Miguel Sano makes sense at first base. Holt is a versatile player who has played multiple infield and outfield positions and has a lot of winning experience from his days in Boston. I'm not entirely sure that he fits in 2020 but I've long liked him as a player and couldn't say no when he price tag was reasonable. Also, he will replace Gonzalez in 2021 as the Twins' super utility player. Avila is likely just a one-year fill-in at catcher, but his left-handed bat should form a solid offensive platoon with Mitch Garver.
     
    The Offense:
    C Mitch Garver 575,000
    1B Mitch Moreland 7,000,000
    2B Luis Arraez 575,000
    SS Jorge Polanco 3,830,000
    3B Miguel Sano 5,900,000
    OF Eddie Rosario 8,900,000
    OF Byron Buxton 2,900,000
    OF Max Kepler 6,250,000
    DH Nelson Cruz 12,000,000
    UTIL Marwin Gonzalez 9,000,000
    UTIL Brock Holt 6,000,000
    C Alex Avila 5,000,000
    OF Jake Cave 575,000
    IF Ehire Adrianza 1,900,000
    Total Position Players 70,405,000
     
    Major transactions - pitching:
    1. Jake Odorizzi accepted the qualifying offer and signed a 1 year/$17.8M contract
    2. Signed Zack Wheeler to a 5 year/$110M contract
    3. Traded Trevor Larnach and two minor leaguers to Arizona for Robbie Ray
    4. Traded two minor leaguers to Toronto for Ken Giles
     
    I watched in horror when Cody Stashak pitched in the sixth inning of a one-run playoff game, and when Randy Dobnak STARTED a playoff game, and vowed that such silliness would never happen again on my watch. The winter started with Odorizzi accepting his qualifying offer, which was a win for both sides in my opinion. I called Kyle Gibson's agent and said that I have no interest in a reunion no matter the contract. I moved quickly and signed Wheeler while other potential suitors were busy talking to Cole and Strasburg. I believe that the Wheeler contract could prove to be a good value to the Twins, as he is still fairly young and may have untapped potential.
     
    I read the rumors back in July 2019 and knew that the Twins had been in contact with both Arizona and Toronto about potential trades, so I picked up the phone and re-ignited those conversations. I reluctantly agreed to trade Larnach to Arizona, but I was happy to acquire Ray without giving up any major league players in the trade. I am in win-now mode, and believe that trading a player like Eddie Rosario may actually weaken the 2020 club more than it may strengthen it. The Toronto trade talks began a little frosty, as I chewed out their front office for never calling the Twins back last summer before trading Marcus Stroman to the Mets. But we got past it quickly, as the Blue Jays were eager to shed Giles' salary and receive two low-level minor league prospects in return.
     
    The Pitching:
    SP Zack Wheeler 22,000,000
    SP Jose Berrios 5,400,000
    SP Robbie Ray 10,800,000
    SP Jake Odorizzi 17,800,000
    SP Brusdar Graterol 575,000
    RP Ken Giles 8,400,000
    RP Taylor Rogers 3,900,000
    RP Trevor May 2,100,000
    RP Tyler Duffey 1,100,000
    RP Zack Littell 575,000
    RP Lewis Thorpe 575,000
    RP Cody Stashak 575,000
    Total Pitchers 73,800,000
     
    Other:
    Martin Perez buyout 500,000
     
    Total Team Payroll 144,705,000
     
    Jim Pohlad wasn't thrilled that I pushed the payroll to nearly $145M but I reminded him that the window for winning is wide open in 2020. If my roster meets expectations, the Twins will win the AL Central again and will be positioned for a deep playoff run.
  9. Like
    Tom Froemming reacted to Andrew Luedtke for a blog entry, Foot, Meet Throat: A 2020 Offseason Blueprint   
    In January 2019, Thad Levine answered a question at Twins Fest:
     
    "The best time to acquire players of that magnitude is when your window to win is wide open, not when you got your fingers underneath the window and you're trying to jam the window open. I want to do it when we're projected to win the Central and we're ready to put our foot on someone's throat".
     
     
    After a fantastic 2019 season ending in a disappointing fashion, Derek Falvey addressed the media and is quoted as saying "We're going to target impact pitching".
     
    Well, time to put up or shut up, Falvine.
     
    I put together what I believe should be a realistic outcome for the 2020 offseason based on the above statements from the front office.
     
    1. Leave the historic 2019 offense alone
     

     
    In this plan, I didn't change anything with the offense that set a MLB record for home runs. This includes picking up CJ Cron's option.
     
    As long as the team is healthy, they should have no problem scoring runs. Maybe the biggest move was the one not made - trading Eddie Rosario.
     
    I don't think the Twins (nor the fans) are going to like what the return for Rosario would be. Keeping the unofficial captain of this team intact will keep the offense rolling. Hopefully a healthy ankle will help him move around the outfield better improving on his down defensive metrics. I am hopeful Eddie might even take a step forward in 2020.
     


     
    2. Beef up the bullpen
     
    The one silver lining in the Sam Dyson injury is that the Twins were forced to use other arms in high leverage situations down the stretch. They discovered Tyler Duffey and Zack Littell could be solid pieces in late innings. Adding to an already promising mix with Will Harris (2/$16M contract) and Drew Pomeranz (2/$7mil contract) will give Rocco plenty of options in 2020.
     
    Will Harris quitely had a 2019 season with a 1.50 ERA and 9.30 K/9 in 60 innings. Oh, and he has appeared in 23 postseason games - 12 of which came this year during the Astros World Series run. His age (35 on opening day) could be one cause for concern. A two year deal feels right, here.
     
    Drew Pomeranz is an interesting one. An absolute disaster in 2018 and most of 2019 makes this signing questionable. However, 26 innings of lights out baseball in Milwaukee make it seem like there may be more potential here. He has increased his velocity after a permanent move to the bullpen, has always been lights out vs lefties, and now will be working with Wes Johnon. Sign. Me. Up.
     
    Pair him with Taylor Rogers and we could be looking at a bullpen that is a nightmare for opposing managers playing matchups. Pomeranz would come at a discount, of course.
     


     
    3. Sign a veteran backup catcher
     
    Martin Maldonado makes some sense here as a backup. Very poor offensively but a solid backstop. I would be open to other options here, such as Jason Castro on a one year deal, but am thinking he would want a chance to start somewhere else. I know Anaheim needs a catcher
     


     
    4. Go find an "ace" starter and keep Jake Odorizzi
     

     
    OK, it's put up time, Falvine. Sign Zack Wheeler.
     
    When you said "impact pitching" - this is what it means.
     
    Not Kevin Correia or Mike Pelfrey which is some people's opinion of impact (*cough* Terry Ryan).
     
    Go get us a guy that is equal to, or, with the potential to be better than Jose Berrios.
     
    This free agent market is flush with solid top of the rotation targets that do not grow on trees, for the Minnesota farm system at least. I think Wheeler makes a lot of sense. A 5/$125M contract would be by far the biggest free agent contract in Twins history but, the time is now.
     
    There is no excuse. Get. It. Done.
     
    Zack Wheeler 2018-2019:
     
    Innings: 377
    ERA: 3.65
    K/9: 8.9
     
    Yeah, I'd take that in this rotation.
     
    Other acceptable "ace" type pitchers - Gerrit Cole, Madison Bumgarner, Stephen Strasburg, or Hyun-jin Ryu
     
    Also, depending on the outcome of Odorizzi and his qualifying offer, the Twins have to find a way to bring him back. If he rejects, they have the upper hand compared to other teams. A three year deal sounds about right. Plus, Jake likes it here. His kids are Vikings fans now. I pray for them.
     
    5. Bring in a vet presence to stablize rotation
     
     
    MLB.com reported that Cole Hamels is open to a one-year deal on a win now club.
     
    Hey, Cole! Over here!
     
    Come on out to Minnesota.
     
    Bringing in a veteran like Cole with playoff experience (and a connection to Thad Levine, might I add) will stabalize the rotation and give a solid 4 starters to run train on the AL Central in the regular season, plus be ready for any October opposing matchup.
     
    Hamels put up soild numbers as a Cub. He was lights out in the first half of 2019 but an injury derailed the mid point of his season, and it never really seemed like he recovered.
     
    A 2020 rotation of:
     
    1. Wheeler
    2. Berrios
    3. Odorizzi
    4. Hamels
    5. Dobnak/Graterol
     
    Sounds like a winning recipe to me. A recipe that might not add up to 101 regular season wins again, but hey, it can't do worse in the playoffs!
     
    *This was not a dare, @BaseballGods*
     


     
    Total payroll: $141.5 million
     
    A Twins franchise record but very realistic. Anything lower than this, with the free agent pitching market as stacked as it is and a desperate need to fill the rotation, is an absolute insult to the fanbase.
     
    The improbable 2019 Twins magic season captured fan interest in Minnesota again. We got a taste of playoff baseball at Target Field for the first time in 9 years and we want more. The window is wide open. It's time for the Pohlad's and the front office to honor their promises and give us a team to dream on in 2020.
     
    Foot, meet throat.
     
    Time to stomp on the competition in the AL central and get back to the playoffs.
     
     


  10. Like
    Tom Froemming reacted to nmjohn4 for a blog entry, 2020 Offseason Blueprint   
    Introduction
     
    Coming off 101 wins in 2019, the Twins have put themselves in a position that GM’s could merely dream of. They only have around $70 million in guaranteed contracts and expected arbitration salaries on the books for 2020, making the possibilities almost endless. The window is open and it’s time to take full advantage of the roster and payroll situation the Twins' brass has put together over the last couple of years.
     
    Arbitration Decisions
     
    • C.J. Cron
    I chose to non-tender Cron. This was one of the more difficult decisions to make due to the fact that when healthy last year, Cron was a very effective bat in the lineup that could hold his own defensively at 1st base. However, he’s coming off surgery and is expected to make $7.7 million in his final year of arbitration. That’s an amount of money that I chose to allocate in different areas. Tough luck for Cron, who could definitely contribute on a different roster.
    • Sam Dyson
    Non-tendered. This was just a formality as the Twins have already announced that they have moved on from Sam Dyson.
     
    Trades
     
    • Minnesota Twins Receive: Jon Gray
    Colorado Rockies Receive: Trevor Larnach, Jhoan Duran, Wander Javier
    This trade really gets the Twins rolling towards their offseason desire to acquire “impact pitching”. Looking back at the processes to championship contention that teams like the Cubs and Astros took could be a precursor to what the Twins plan to do. Frankly, I think it’s what they HAVE to do. Trading prospects, especially highly coveted prospects, is never something that is easy to do and shouldn’t be done unless it’s for the right player. Getting someone like Jon Gray, however, is exactly what could be constituted as being worth a valuable prospect package. Gray just turned 28, and still has two years of reasonable team control left before he hits the free agent market. He’s not the sure-fire ace that this team could definitely use, but he’s a solid 3/4 option that Wes Johnson could potentially elevate to a level that we haven’t seen yet from Gray.
     
    • Minnesota Twins Receive: Kirby Yates
    San Diego Padres Receive: Eddie Rosario, Jordan Balazovic, and Jorge Alcala
    Another impact pitcher acquisition! Kirby Yates was a late bloomer, but he has been excellent in San Diego since arriving in 2017. Yates, who turns 33 in March, is in his last year of arbitration (MLBTR expects $6.5 million); so you avoid a long term commitment, even though you do give up a hefty package of Rosario, Balazovic, and Alcala. This may seem like an extremely high price to pay for some, but I don’t value Rosario and his expected $8.9 million arbitration very highly. Balazovic is the biggest asset being given up, but it’s justified for a reliever of Yates’ caliber. From the Padres perspective, they could look to replace Wil Myers with Rosario in the lineup even though he is owed $22.5 million for the next three years due to the fact that he posted a negative WAR last season. Myers’ contract might not be able to be moved, but I also don’t think they can afford to keep playing him if last year’s production continues.
     
    Free Agent Acquisitions
     
    • (Re-sign) Jake Odorizzi: 3 years/$36 million
    The Twins gained leverage when Jake Odorizzi was offered the qualifying offer at $17.8 million. Other teams may not look at Odorizzi as a viable option due to the draft pick compensation that would have to be surrendered in order to sign him. The Twins use this leverage to sign Jake Odorizzi to a multi-year deal at 3 years/$36 million.
     
    • Josh Donaldson: 2 years/$40 million
    How fun would this be?! I don’t think that the Twins will be able to sign multiple top tier starters from this free agent class, so I decided to go in a different direction. Josh Donaldson would be a major upgrade at the hot corner adding premium defense and another potent bat to the already powerful offense. If you can get him for this price, you have to jump on it. This would also mean moving Miguel Sano over to 1st base, which I feel could be of great benefit for team defense.
     
    • Zack Wheeler: 4 years/$72 million
    Zack Wheeler is somebody you can easily fall in love with if you spend just a little bit of time watching him on the mound. He’s flame thrower that has possibly not even hit his peak yet. Wheeler, who doesn’t turn 30 until the end of May, might be just the type of pitcher Wes Johnson could mold into becoming a true ace on a staff that desperately needs one. At $18 million/year, Wheeler is well worth the investment. Get it done!
     
    • Brandon Kintzler: 1 year/$5 million
    A reunion that could add a nice boost to a bullpen that already proved to be solid down the stretch of last season. Kintzler continues to have great ground ball numbers and has even increased his K/9 recently. If you’re not a huge fan of spending big on multi-year deals for relievers in their 30’s, this could be perfect value to add strength to the middle innings.
     
    • Drew Pomeranz: 2 years/$7 million
    To me, Pomeranz has one of the more interesting markets in the entire free agent class. Is he going to be pursued with caution due to his entire body of work as a mediocre starter? Or are teams going to go after him as a reliever who was lights out down the stretch for Milwaukee last season. Pomeranz added velocity after his move out of the rotation, which could be exactly what the Twins are looking for in a lefty reliever.
     
    • Alex Avila: 1 year/$3 million
    With Jason Castro entering free agency, it’s totally possible that he could get a deal to start somewhere on a multi-year deal. Also, Mitch Garver has entered the conversation for best catcher in the game, and you’re now looking for someone behind him who can contribute when called upon. Avila is a veteran, left-handed bat that Rocco could use frequently assuming rest remains a priority for Garver this season.
     
    2020 Opening Day Roster
     

     
    Roster Notes
     
    • The $500K Martin Perez buyout was accounted for in the $133.900 million payroll total.
    • I used Twins Daily’s contract estimations. I do think some of them were slightly low, especially Donaldson and Wheeler; but at just under $134 million in payroll, there is room to increase payroll should some salaries end up higher than expected.
    • Marwin Gonzalez was slotted in at LF in this plan. Jake Cave very easily could’ve been slotted in LF as well, but I decided against it in this version. I like Marwin to eventually revert back to the UTIL role, replacing Astudillo when Alex Kirilloff or Brent Rooker are ready for their promotions.
    • The final spot in the rotation has Randy Dobnak slotted in, however I think it could very easily be one of Lewis Thorpe, Brusdar Graterol, or Devin Smeltzer. I believe that the Twins will use this spot as the first part of a piggy back, so if they wanted to use Graterol (my heart wants this badly), this could be a solution to limit his 2020 innings.
    • In this scenario, I would look for them to pursue contract extensions with some of the players acquired, as well as current players rostered. I didn’t want to guess on extension numbers, as that can be very tricky. Nevertheless, the players that I would expect them to discuss extensions with would be Jon Gray, Jose Berrios, Miguel Sano, and Byron Buxton.
     
    Conclusion
     
    This is a team that I think could be even better than the 2019 Twins, with several improvements across the board. We’ll see how things actually shake out, but I would be ecstatic if Derek Falvey and Thad Levine did something even remotely close to this.
  11. Like
    Tom Froemming got a reaction from bighat for a blog entry, Twins Talk: Buxton's Jumps, Rosario Trades and More   
    Fellow Twins Daily contributor Matthew Lenz and I discussed a few topics related to the Twins outfield. He recently wrote a piece for the site on Byron Buxton's defensive impact. We discussed some of the interesting things he discovered, the potential of an Eddie Rosario trade and more.
     

  12. Like
    Tom Froemming got a reaction from Cory Engelhardt for a blog entry, 2020 Catching Tandem Discussion   
    Fellow Twins Daily contributor Cooper Carlson and I discussed a decision facing the Twins this offseason that I feel has flown a bit under the radar. Among the topics we covered were whether retaining Jason Castro is a priority, Willians Astudillo as the backup and which free agent catchers caught our interest.
     

  13. Like
    Tom Froemming reacted to Patrick Wozniak for a blog entry, End of the Rope for Schoop?   
    With the trade deadline quickly approaching Twins fans are rightly focused on adding pitching to the major league roster. The offensive is still on a record setting home run pace and has great major and minor league depth, so any offensive additions would be superfluous. However, the Twins may be able to add by subtraction.
     
    Jonathan Schoop may have been the least significant off season offense upgrade the Twins added due to the savvy additions of Nelson Cruz and Marwin Gonzales. However, the front office still had high hopes for Schoop who was signed on a one year deal. Schoop, of course was an all-star in 2017, when he had a career year with Baltimore slashing .293/.338/.503 for an OPS of .841. He mashed 32 long balls and 105 RBI in a 160 games. Schoop came crashing back down to earth in 2018 with and ugly .682 OPS between Baltimore and Milwaukee. While Falvey and company many have been dreaming of a return to 2017, it certainly wasn’t out of the question to expect something closer to Schoop's career averages.
     
    And to be fair to Schoop this is what he has done. He is currently slashing .256/.305/.458 for an OPS of .763 while playing slightly above average second base. This is even slightly better than Schoop’s career averages. He has been good for 1.5 Bref WAR and by all accounts is a beloved member in the clubhouse. However, while Schoop looked like his former 2017 self coming out of the gate (OPS of .819 through May 31), more recently he has looked like the Schoop of 2018 (OPS of .672 since June 1). More frustrating to fans, Schoop seems to excel in blowout games (how many garbage time HRs has he hit?) while consistently striking out in “clutch” situations. The numbers seem to back up the eye as Schoop is hitting .163/.230/.438 with RISP and .205/.279/.231 in late inning pressure situations. The problem is with a lineup full of power hitters, Schoop becomes a bit redundant, and more importantly the Twins have better options for second base. Plenty of them as it turns out. Let’s take a look.
     
    All Arraez
     
    Luis Arraez has been nothing short of amazing in his first big league stint. He is currently slashing .385/.444/.510 for an OPS of .955. In 29 games he has already accumulated 1.1 Bref WAR. Arraez is obviously playing a bit over his head right now, but he has been a good hitter throughout his minor league career and between AA-AAA this year he hit .344/.409/.401. He is not going to hit .400 or slug over .500 long term but his plate approach is very refreshing. On a team of free swingers and power hitters Arraez looks like a nice table setter and in his short time with the twins has come up with several “clutch” hits. His rather twitchy batting style is also extremely entertaining to watch. Arraez has played all over the field for the Twins, including third base, short stop, and left field, but he is clearly best suited for second base where he has spent the majority of his minor league career. Arraez is firmly implanted as the front runner for second base next year and it is also becoming increasingly apparent that he is the answer now.
     
    The Others
     
    Both Marwin Gonzales and Ehire Adrianza currently appear to be better options than Schoop at second base as well. A large part of the value in both of these players is their versatility, so sticking Arraez at second clearly makes the most sense. However, were something to happen to Arraez both of these players are more than capable of filling in. Both players started the year ice cold so their stats took a bit of a dip because of this (pretty much the opposite of Schoop). Gonzales currently has an OPS of .748 with a 1.9 Bref War and Adrianza has a .788 OPS with a 1.1 Bref War in only 148 plate appearances. If one of them were to fill in at second for Schoop (or Arraez) the other would still be available for the utility role.
     
    What to do with Schoop?
     
    Cutting Schoop is probably ill advised. Although it would give more at bats to the previously mention trio, Schoop has played well enough that cutting him wouldn’t really make sense. Could he be traded for pitching? This is very unlikely as he is on a one-year deal and the Twins will most likely be trading with non-contenders who are uninterested in a rental. There are, however, a couple of long-shot possibilities. One would be a three-way trade with Schoop going to another contender (presumably because of an injuring to the team’s second baseman) and a pitcher from the third non-contending club coming to the twins. Another possibility could be Schoop being a thrown-in to offshoot an incoming player’s salary (similar to the Twins acquiring Logan Forsythe from the Dodgers in the Dozier trade). Again, this is unlikely.
     
    The best course of action is probably just to keep Schoop and relegate him to a bench role with less and less playing time. He could occasionally fill in against lefties and seems like the ideal guy to have around the clubhouse (assuming he doesn’t become bitter about his decreased roll). He would also be a valuable depth piece as we have seen how hard injuries can hit.
     
    What do you think? Should Schoop be our starting second baseman, a role player, or be removed from the team all together?
  14. Like
    Tom Froemming reacted to TwerkTwonkTwins for a blog entry, ApPENding Reliever Pitch Selection - Taylor Rogers   
    The Minnesota Twins bullpen was the dominant topic yesterday for...various reasons. It looks like it will remain a dominant topic as we head toward the July trade deadline. This blog series will be all about the Twins bullpen, but won't be concerned with internal or external additions. I wanted to take a look at how the coaching staff is tweaking the pitch selection of the current Twins relievers, and how that compares to the usage across their careers. I won’t pretend to know the reasons why pitch selection is changing, but it’s interesting to see the trends with a third-ish of the season under the belt.
     
    Disclaimer: I am by no means a pitching analyst, and I have just started to dive into the world of Baseball Savant. I highly recommend you try it out, too. You'll probably find some things I am missing.
     
    Taylor Rogers
     
    No need to introduce this guy. Taylor Rogers has become a relief ace after years as a marginal starting pitching prospect, followed by some time as a lefty specialist. The pitch percentage by season chart shows a major clue to how his 2018 breakout began, and that is the usage of his slider.
     


     
    Slider – “The Rog”
    "The Rog" (the new nickname I have just bestowed for the slider) is the only pitch that Rogers has thrown at an increased rate in 2019. It jumped from 13.1% of his pitches thrown last year to 50.3% in 2019.It's a large key to his success against right-handed hitters, as he's able to paint both sides of the plate with superior break.
     


     
    The results have not been quite as dominant as it was in 2018, but "The Rog" still holds opposing batters to a .244 BA and a .333 SLG (last year was .122 BA with a .195 SLG). For some context, he's thrown the slider 315 times since debuting in 2018, and given up a total of 4 extra base hits.
    I’m confident the slider will continue to be filthy, as the spin has increased and exit velocity has decreased to 85.3 MPH from 87 MPH last season.
     
    Curveball
     
    The other obvious change in Rogers' repertoire is the decrease of his curveball. The fact that his curve has become a rarity is far more surprising to me than the increased use of his slider. Rogers threw a curve for 33.4% of his pitches in 2018, but only 1.8% so far in 2019. 1.8% translates to 7 whole pitches in 2019.
     


    I'm not quite sure why Rogers isn't throwing his curve, because it was wildly effective last year. Rogers threw curveballs 316 times in 2018, allowing just 1 extra base hit with a .121 BA and .195 SLG. The spin on his curve was in the 89th percentile in 2018, and the average exit velocity was a paltry 82.7 MPH.
     
    The spin has remained above 2700 in 7 tries this season. If he threw it more, it would warrant a nickname (a la “The Rog”). Jeremy Heffner and Wes Johnson must have their reasons. Maybe Statcast is classifying some sliders as curves. Maybe po-tay-to is po-tah-to?
    Sinker
     
    Statcast classifies Rogers’ fastball as a sinker. Sinkers averaging 94.2 MPH are usually quite filthy. It’s trending near his career average in terms of percentage of pitches thrown, but has been dethroned as his favorite pitch due the success of his slider. Regardless, the sinker is a key to establish his breaking balls and it’s going to appear in almost every plate appearance.
     


    Rogers’ sinker has been more effective in 2019, nearly matching the performance of his slider this season. It’s always nice when average velocity increases on non-breaking pitches, and Rogers’ sinker has increased by 0.7 MPH from 2018. That seems to be a common trend across Wes Johnson’s pupils.
    Four-Seamer
     
    Rogers has thrown a four-seam fastball once this season. It deserves one sentence.
    It nearly hit Gordon Beckham in 0-2 count with the bases loaded.
     
     
    Overall Takeaway
     
    Rogers has continued his dominance with breaking balls, but the pitch selection has shifted to favor his slider over his curveball. The slider hasn’t been quite as dominant as 2018, but improvements to the spin and exit velocity suggest that it’s a pitch worth throwing more than he did last year. That doesn’t quite explain the severe drop-off in curveballs thrown, maybe there’s an explanation that can’t be defined by Statcast. Regardless of this shift, he's still the ace of the bullpen.
  15. Like
    Tom Froemming reacted to Andrew Gebo for a blog entry, First Place Underdogs   
    Across all sports the term “underdog” is typically given to teams who lack elite talent but are good enough to be relevant. It is rare when a team leads their respective sport in most major statistical categories and fighting for the number one seed in the postseason to be given the “underdog” label. The 2019 Minnesota Twins are the exception to that rule.
     
    As a fan, it is very easy and understandable to be blinded by emotion when talking about your favorite team. We all think our favorite team is the best - unless you’re a Marlins or Orioles fan but then you wouldn't be reading this anyway. Fans also tend to overreact to minor mishaps or punch a hole in the wall when their team doesn’t commit $45million over three years to a 31 year old reliever with declining peripherals.
     
    This article will not be an emotionally driven rant about media biases and the Twins not getting respect because they’re a small market team. Rather, my goal is to present an objective analysis of how absurd it is that this team is already an “underdog” to make a deep postseason run.
     
    Let’s first look at the current playoff odds of AL division leaders, provided by FanGraphs.
     
    Houston Astros: (42-21), 99.9% chance of a postseason appearance, 20.1% chance of winning the World Series.
    Minnesota Twins: (40-20), 96.5% chance of a postseason appearance, 7.7% chance of winning the World Series.
    New York Yankees: (38-22), 95% chance of a postseason appearance, 12% chance of winning the World Series.
     
    Now let’s compare how these teams have performed so far in terms of offense and pitching, beginning with offense. It’s no secret the Twins have crushed the ball this year and you may not be surprised to see them at the top of the AL, but here it is anyway.
     
    Minnesota Twins: .272/.339/.510 .850 OPS, 114 HR, 14.7 WAR
    Houston Astros: .271/.344/.478 .822 OPS, 100 HR, 14.5 WAR
    New York Yankees: .257/.334/.448 .781 OPS, 97 HR, 8.7 WAR
     
    You probably didn’t need me to tell you how good their offense has been. If you follow this team then you should (hopefully) already know that. There you have it though, of the current AL division leaders, the Minnesota Twins are the best offensive team. Now let’s look at pitching, beginning with starting pitching.
     
    Minnesota Twins: 3.56 ERA, 1.28 HR/9, 1.16 WHIP
    Houston Astros: 3.68 ERA, 1.55 HR/9, 1.06 WHIP
    New York Yankees: 3.89 ERA, 1.65 HR/9, 1.22 WHIP
     
    Let that sink in for a second - the Minnesota Twins not only have the best offense but one of the best starting rotations as well. Bullpen stats aren’t as favorable but they’re also not as bad as most people in Twins territory seem to believe.
     
    Minnesota Twins: 4.67 ERA, 1.26 HR/9, 1.41 WHIP
    Houston Astros: 3.32 ERA, 1.18 HR/9, 1.12 WHIP
    New York Yankees: 3.74 ERA, 1.04 HR/9, 1.26WHIP
     
    If you’re reading this then you likely follow baseball. If you follow baseball you likely already knew the Yankees have a great bullpen and the Astros turned Ryan Pressly into a super reliever - it’s okay to be sad about that one Twins fans, I’ll allow it. However, the Twins bullpen has been respectable and Taylor Rogers is emerging as a super reliever.
     
    Let’s recap - of the three current AL division leaders, the Twins have the lowest odds of winning the World Series, according to FanGraphs. Minnesota also currently boasts the best offensive production among AL division leaders and their starting rotation has the lowest ERA and has surrendered the least amount of home runs per 9 innings. Also, if the season ended today, Jake Odorizzi is the AL Cy Young winner.
     
    Their bullpen has been good but not great and ranks last among current AL division leaders but they’ve still gotten solid production from the bullpen. 10th best bullpen ERA in the league type of production - which by the way, is pretty darn good.
     
    Here’s a quick look at how they stack up against all of MLB in pitching and hitting. Minnesota currently leads the league in the following offensive categories: AVG, SLG, OPS, and wOBA. They’re tied for first in wRC+ and HR. Minnesota has been an offensive juggernaut.
     
    FanGraphs currently has the Twins ranked as the 4th best starting rotation in the league. They don’t lead the league in any statistical categories other than Wins - which for the most part is a useless stat when evaluating a pitchers individual performance - but their overall starting pitching production has been very strong. Any time you can rank in the top 5 of the league you’re doing something right - thank you, Wes Johnson.
     
    Minnesota’s bullpen currently ranks 11th in the league, according to FanGraphs. Top 10 would sound a lot better but 11th is still pretty good. Considering the bullpen expectations were extremely low going into the season, being the 11th best bullpen in the league is a pleasant surprise.
     
    If you have read this far you’ve hopefully learned or confirmed your own beliefs that the 2019 Twins are an offensive powerhouse with a top 5 starting rotation and a bullpen that ranks in the top half of the league - Go Twins!
     
    Yet for some reason, of the current AL division leaders they have the lowest odds to win the World Series (only 7.7% if you can’t remember that far back). Chris Russo of MLB Network thinks Minnesota is a “regular season team that isn’t built for the postseason”. He’s not alone in that sentiment, either.
     
    Most of the publications I have read and TV analysts I’ve listened to seem to echo the same feelings. They don’t believe the 2019 Minnesota Twins are legitimate World Series contenders and it’s shocking.
     
    Most of the time when a team is this good they are a consensus World Series favorite - except that doesn’t seem to apply to the 2019 Minnesota Twins. Maybe it’s because the roster lacks household names. Eddie Rosario, Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler, C.J. Cron and Mitch Garver aren’t going to be on the cover of Sport Illustrated anytime soon. The Astros, Dodgers, Red Sox and Yankees (when healthy) feature a lineup full of MVP winners, All Stars and future HOFers. This could be why the Twins are overlooked but that’s an idiotic reason.
     
    Perhaps it’s because Minnesota has been relatively irrelevant since 2010 - other than the brief postseason cameo in 2017. The Tigers, Royals, White Sox and Indians have all appeared in or won a World Series over the last two decades. The Twins, on the other hand, haven’t reached the ALCS since they were defeated by Anaheim in 2002. Maybe everyone forgot about Minnesota and now that they’re a juggernaut they don’t believe it, but again, that’s idiotic.
     
    Could it be because they don’t believe their current production is sustainable? This would be the least-idiotic reason to doubt this team. Jake Odorizzi has been a good but not great pitcher over his career. Now suddenly he’s a front runner for the AL Cy Young. Byron Buxton is putting together his best season as a pro, Jorge Polanco is an MVP candidate and up until his last couple starts, Martin Perez has been a completely different pitcher.
     
    As I write this on June 6th, the Minnesota Twins currently have five position players with a top 10 WAR for their respective positions. Those five are Polanco, Schoop, Kepler, Buxton, and Rosario. Top 10 doesn’t do enough justice for Jorge Polanco, he has the highest WAR of all shortstops and the 9th highest WAR in the entire league. He’s on pace to win a batting title and possibly the MVP.
     
    Minnesota is also one of only three teams in the league with two starting pitchers who rank top 20 in ERA - Jake Odorizzi (2nd) and Jose Berrios (20th).
     
    It is very possible that this level of production from relatively unproven players is not sustainable but even that is a bit of a stretch. Byron Buxton was the number one prospect in baseball, so seeing him produce like this isn’t outrageous. Jorge Polanco has always been able to hit and he’s just now entering his prime at age 25. It’s not uncommon for players to have a breakout season after having spent parts of five years in the big leagues and over 1,000 career plate appearances. Jake Odorizzi and Martin Perez, however, are performing significantly better than they have over their careers which does make it harder to believe it is sustainable.
     
    The 2019 Minnesota Twins are a legitimate championship contender. By no means am I saying they’re a lock for the World Series and will cruise through the postseason. It’s very possible they get bounced in the ALDS. It’s baseball, anything can happen but this is a very good baseball team that deserves more respect and should not be viewed a consensus underdog.
     
    Thank you for reading! If you’d like more Twins news and articles follow me on Twitter @Gebo__
  16. Like
    Tom Froemming reacted to 33mvp for a blog entry, Blog 1: What could have been Twins First Round Pick, Part I   
    Blogging about the Twins is something I have been wanting to do for a long time but life has just gotten in the way too much. Over the past five years or so I have been wanting to get into doing this but have never seen a good time to commit. I am finally at the point where I have time to start doing this and I’ve decided to just jump in. Over these past five years I have been preparing to do this by keeping a list of topics I would like to write about so I have a good inventory of subjects I am ready to cover. I hope my writing will prove to be good content for Twins fans who, like me simply can’t get enough coverage of our favorite team.
     
    This first topic is going to sound like a bit of a wine piece but I am not intending it to be that way. This topic will have a lot of content so I decided to divide it into 10 parts. In my first 10 editions of of this blog I will be looking at what could have been. I know this is a topic that would have probably played better in the previous years but also think it will be fun in light of the upcoming draft and will help highlight what a crap-shoot drafting amateur baseball players truly can be.
     
    In the first 10 editions of my blog I will be looking at each of the Twins’ first round draft selections over the past 10 years. I will be analyzing who the Twins drafted, how they did, and what they could have had instead.
    To keep this a realistic exercise, I am going to highlight the guy the Twins actually drafted with their pick in the respective year and then will take a look at the five guys that were drafted immediately after them. I feel like this is a way to say “here are the guys we could have taken” while still keeping it realistic and avoiding saying we should have taken a certain player that all teams missed on. So without further ado here is my first blog post, I hope you enjoy.
     
    2009
    Twins Selection: Kyle Gibson
    With the 22nd overall pick the the 2009 MLB draft, the Twins selected Kyle Gibson out of the University of Missouri. Gibson took five years to get to the major leagues which seems like too long for a college pitcher. He did have some injuries in the minor leagues that required Tommy John Surgery which we all know really takes at least two years to get right. So when this is taken into consideration taking three productive seasons to break into the big leagues is not that bad. Gibson has a career 9.3 WAR and is a nice piece for the current Twins rotation. He finally broke out last season and after starting slow this year, likely because of E.coli suffered during the off-season, he has come around a looked like a nice 3/4 starting pitcher. With the 22nd overall pick this might not be exactly what you want, but as you will soon see is not anywhere close to the worst of the group.
    The next five picks:
    OF Jared Mitchell- CWS
    OF Randal Grichuk- LAA
    OF Michael Trout- LAA
    RHP Eric Arnett- MIL
    SS Nick Franklin- SEA
     
    As soon as you look at this list you immediately know the Twins messed it up. The best player of the generation and maybe ever was drafted three spots behind Kyle Gibson. The only thing that can be said in the Twins’ credit is that 23 other teams also missed out on the man who nine years into his career owns a 67.4 WAR and is a sure fire first ballot Hall of Famer. Heck, even the Angels weren’t sold on Trout as they took another outfielder right before selecting Trout out of Millville, NJ. So yes, the Twins missed out on the best player in baseball, but they could have done worse in selecting someone who never made it to the big leagues like a some of the group mentioned above.
    Jared Mitchell made it to AAA but never to the big leagues. He was actually drafted by the Twins in the 10th round of the 2006 draft but decided to attend LSU instead. He bounced around in the minor league systems of the White Sox, Angels and Yankees for a few years and is currently playing in the Independent League as a member of the Sugar Land Skeeters. He is a career .227 hitter in the minor leagues and never got to trot onto a major league field.
     
    Randal Grichuk is the only player on this list besides Mike Trout to have a higher career WAR than Gibson. His career WAR is at 10.1 and has been a good but not great MLB player for six seasons now. Although he was drafted by the Angels, he was traded as part of the David Freese trade to the Cardinals in November of 2013. He is currently a member of the Toronto Blue Jays and is signed there through the 2023 season.
     
    Eric Arnett out of the University of Indiana played his entire professional career with the Milwaukee Brewers organization but never made it past high-A. Be has not played since 2013. This is likely due to his bum knee that required surgery in 2013 or the fact that he posted a 5.18 career MiLB ERA.
     
    Nick Franklin made it to the big leagues but only has 301 more career games played than I do. He hit .214 across six seasons with Seattle, Tampa Bay, Milwaukee, and LAA. The last MLB game he played came in his only appearance of the season in 2018 with the Brewers. He owns a career WAR of 1.3 with is actually better than I would have expected for a guy who only played in 301 career games.
     
    In conclusion, yes the Twins missed on Mike Trout, the MIKE TROUT! However it could have been much worse and they picked a decent player who is still helping them win games in 2019. Even though Grichuk has a better WAR, I feel like the Twins made the second best choice of the group as Grichuk would not be much use on the current Twins roster.
     
    Up next,
    2010 Draft
    Twins Selection: Alex Wimmers
  17. Like
    Tom Froemming got a reaction from Dman for a blog entry, Why I'm Out On Craig Kimbrel   
    Even a really great meal goes stale eventually.
     
    I desperately wanted the Twins to do more to upgrade the bullpen this offseason, and was supportive of the idea of them pursuing Craig Kimbrel at one point, but I'm out now. I don't really want anything to do with him.
     
    My frustration with the bullpen inactivity was never tied to any one particular reliever. Things have boiled own to that, since Kimbrel is the last man standing, but there were several attractive free agent bullpen pieces out there this winter. The Twins didn't sign any of them. I'm over it.
     
    I'm not saying this bullpen is fine as it's currently constructed. While Ryne Harper has been a pleasant surprise and the backed trio of Blake Parker, Taylor Rogers and Trevor May has mostly looked good, there are some legit concerns about the depth.
     
    But bringing in a project isn't the answer. Kimbrel is one of the greatest closers of all time. There's also a reason why he's still unemployed. Here are a few:
     
    -He has to be rusty. This is item No. 1 with a bullet. There's no way he can possibly be sharp, I don't care what kind of simulated games he may be throwing.
     
    -He had a 4.57 ERA in the second half and a 5.91 ERA in the postseason last year.
     
    -His fastball velocity dropped from 98.72 mph in 2017 to 97.63 mph last year.
     
    -It actually took him awhile to work up to that velocity last season, sitting below 97 mph through April. Yes, he's been working out, but I'd still be concerned it would take him some time to get up to full speed.
     
    -His ground ball rate dropped from 37.0% to 28.2% last year.
     
    -His line drive rate went up from 19.4% to 24.8% last year.
     
    -He had a worse first-pitch strike rate (56.3%) than Fernando Rodney last year.
     
    -He had the eighth-lowest rate of pitches in the zone (36.6%) of the 151 qualified relievers last year.
     
    -He walked 12.6% of the batters he faced last year. That is horrible. It was the 20th-worst rate among 336 pitchers who logged more than 50 innings last year.
     
    In nearly every single positive mention of the Twins I see, there is somebody in the comments who calls for Kimbrel. I get it, I just think the idea of Kimbrel doesn't even accurately reflect who he actually is at this point.
     
    If the Twins seek to improve the bullpen, they should be looking for guys who are trending upward. Or at least, you know, active. Maybe Kimbrel will be great, I don't know, but I am comfortable with another team taking on that project. There are other ways to boost the bullpen.
  18. Like
    Tom Froemming got a reaction from Don Walcott for a blog entry, Why I'm Out On Craig Kimbrel   
    Even a really great meal goes stale eventually.
     
    I desperately wanted the Twins to do more to upgrade the bullpen this offseason, and was supportive of the idea of them pursuing Craig Kimbrel at one point, but I'm out now. I don't really want anything to do with him.
     
    My frustration with the bullpen inactivity was never tied to any one particular reliever. Things have boiled own to that, since Kimbrel is the last man standing, but there were several attractive free agent bullpen pieces out there this winter. The Twins didn't sign any of them. I'm over it.
     
    I'm not saying this bullpen is fine as it's currently constructed. While Ryne Harper has been a pleasant surprise and the backed trio of Blake Parker, Taylor Rogers and Trevor May has mostly looked good, there are some legit concerns about the depth.
     
    But bringing in a project isn't the answer. Kimbrel is one of the greatest closers of all time. There's also a reason why he's still unemployed. Here are a few:
     
    -He has to be rusty. This is item No. 1 with a bullet. There's no way he can possibly be sharp, I don't care what kind of simulated games he may be throwing.
     
    -He had a 4.57 ERA in the second half and a 5.91 ERA in the postseason last year.
     
    -His fastball velocity dropped from 98.72 mph in 2017 to 97.63 mph last year.
     
    -It actually took him awhile to work up to that velocity last season, sitting below 97 mph through April. Yes, he's been working out, but I'd still be concerned it would take him some time to get up to full speed.
     
    -His ground ball rate dropped from 37.0% to 28.2% last year.
     
    -His line drive rate went up from 19.4% to 24.8% last year.
     
    -He had a worse first-pitch strike rate (56.3%) than Fernando Rodney last year.
     
    -He had the eighth-lowest rate of pitches in the zone (36.6%) of the 151 qualified relievers last year.
     
    -He walked 12.6% of the batters he faced last year. That is horrible. It was the 20th-worst rate among 336 pitchers who logged more than 50 innings last year.
     
    In nearly every single positive mention of the Twins I see, there is somebody in the comments who calls for Kimbrel. I get it, I just think the idea of Kimbrel doesn't even accurately reflect who he actually is at this point.
     
    If the Twins seek to improve the bullpen, they should be looking for guys who are trending upward. Or at least, you know, active. Maybe Kimbrel will be great, I don't know, but I am comfortable with another team taking on that project. There are other ways to boost the bullpen.
  19. Like
    Tom Froemming got a reaction from Danchat for a blog entry, Why I'm Out On Craig Kimbrel   
    Even a really great meal goes stale eventually.
     
    I desperately wanted the Twins to do more to upgrade the bullpen this offseason, and was supportive of the idea of them pursuing Craig Kimbrel at one point, but I'm out now. I don't really want anything to do with him.
     
    My frustration with the bullpen inactivity was never tied to any one particular reliever. Things have boiled own to that, since Kimbrel is the last man standing, but there were several attractive free agent bullpen pieces out there this winter. The Twins didn't sign any of them. I'm over it.
     
    I'm not saying this bullpen is fine as it's currently constructed. While Ryne Harper has been a pleasant surprise and the backed trio of Blake Parker, Taylor Rogers and Trevor May has mostly looked good, there are some legit concerns about the depth.
     
    But bringing in a project isn't the answer. Kimbrel is one of the greatest closers of all time. There's also a reason why he's still unemployed. Here are a few:
     
    -He has to be rusty. This is item No. 1 with a bullet. There's no way he can possibly be sharp, I don't care what kind of simulated games he may be throwing.
     
    -He had a 4.57 ERA in the second half and a 5.91 ERA in the postseason last year.
     
    -His fastball velocity dropped from 98.72 mph in 2017 to 97.63 mph last year.
     
    -It actually took him awhile to work up to that velocity last season, sitting below 97 mph through April. Yes, he's been working out, but I'd still be concerned it would take him some time to get up to full speed.
     
    -His ground ball rate dropped from 37.0% to 28.2% last year.
     
    -His line drive rate went up from 19.4% to 24.8% last year.
     
    -He had a worse first-pitch strike rate (56.3%) than Fernando Rodney last year.
     
    -He had the eighth-lowest rate of pitches in the zone (36.6%) of the 151 qualified relievers last year.
     
    -He walked 12.6% of the batters he faced last year. That is horrible. It was the 20th-worst rate among 336 pitchers who logged more than 50 innings last year.
     
    In nearly every single positive mention of the Twins I see, there is somebody in the comments who calls for Kimbrel. I get it, I just think the idea of Kimbrel doesn't even accurately reflect who he actually is at this point.
     
    If the Twins seek to improve the bullpen, they should be looking for guys who are trending upward. Or at least, you know, active. Maybe Kimbrel will be great, I don't know, but I am comfortable with another team taking on that project. There are other ways to boost the bullpen.
  20. Like
    Tom Froemming got a reaction from Channing1964 for a blog entry, Why I'm Out On Craig Kimbrel   
    Even a really great meal goes stale eventually.
     
    I desperately wanted the Twins to do more to upgrade the bullpen this offseason, and was supportive of the idea of them pursuing Craig Kimbrel at one point, but I'm out now. I don't really want anything to do with him.
     
    My frustration with the bullpen inactivity was never tied to any one particular reliever. Things have boiled own to that, since Kimbrel is the last man standing, but there were several attractive free agent bullpen pieces out there this winter. The Twins didn't sign any of them. I'm over it.
     
    I'm not saying this bullpen is fine as it's currently constructed. While Ryne Harper has been a pleasant surprise and the backed trio of Blake Parker, Taylor Rogers and Trevor May has mostly looked good, there are some legit concerns about the depth.
     
    But bringing in a project isn't the answer. Kimbrel is one of the greatest closers of all time. There's also a reason why he's still unemployed. Here are a few:
     
    -He has to be rusty. This is item No. 1 with a bullet. There's no way he can possibly be sharp, I don't care what kind of simulated games he may be throwing.
     
    -He had a 4.57 ERA in the second half and a 5.91 ERA in the postseason last year.
     
    -His fastball velocity dropped from 98.72 mph in 2017 to 97.63 mph last year.
     
    -It actually took him awhile to work up to that velocity last season, sitting below 97 mph through April. Yes, he's been working out, but I'd still be concerned it would take him some time to get up to full speed.
     
    -His ground ball rate dropped from 37.0% to 28.2% last year.
     
    -His line drive rate went up from 19.4% to 24.8% last year.
     
    -He had a worse first-pitch strike rate (56.3%) than Fernando Rodney last year.
     
    -He had the eighth-lowest rate of pitches in the zone (36.6%) of the 151 qualified relievers last year.
     
    -He walked 12.6% of the batters he faced last year. That is horrible. It was the 20th-worst rate among 336 pitchers who logged more than 50 innings last year.
     
    In nearly every single positive mention of the Twins I see, there is somebody in the comments who calls for Kimbrel. I get it, I just think the idea of Kimbrel doesn't even accurately reflect who he actually is at this point.
     
    If the Twins seek to improve the bullpen, they should be looking for guys who are trending upward. Or at least, you know, active. Maybe Kimbrel will be great, I don't know, but I am comfortable with another team taking on that project. There are other ways to boost the bullpen.
  21. Like
    Tom Froemming reacted to jtkoupal for a blog entry, Retrospective: Why 2018 Makes Sense in Hindsight   
    I will be the first to admit, I was absolutely stunned by the Twins poor start in 2018 and am equally as stunned by their dynamite start to 2019. All of you on Twins Daily are aware of this, but just to reiterate for the sake of context:
    -The Twins came off of a 103-loss 2016 season to nab the second Wild-Card spot in 2017 with a record of 85-77.
    -The Twins had an emerging group of youngsters such as Max Kepler, Byron Buxton, Jorge Polanco, Miguel Sanó, José Berríos, and Eddie Rosario that seemed poised to improve after strong finishes to 2017 (with the exception of Sanó, who as an All-Star but missed the last two months due to injury)
    -The Twins also were anchored by veterans such as Brian Dozier, Kyle Gibson, Eduardo Escobar, Joe Mauer, and Jason Castro, who were all instrumental to the Twins' run at the end of 2017.
    -The Twins then added veterans Addison Reed, Fernando Rodney, and Zach Duke to shore up a weak bullpen that waved goodbye to Brandon Kintzler at the 2017 Trade Deadline, when the Twins were below .500 and looked to be out of the race. They also traded for Jake Odorizzi, who the brass liked and believed had untapped potential (he was a former top prospect, after all) and signed starter Lance Lynn, who had a very good track record in St. Louis.
    The result? A 7-4 start, followed by a 3-13 stretch that included an 8-game losing streak, en route to a disappointing 78-84 finish to the season. It also was the gut-wrenching goodbye to fan-favorites Brian Dozier and Eduardo Escobar, in addition to Duke, Rodney, Lynn, and, to my surprise, Ryan Pressly.
    I, along with many other Twins fans, held on to hope for dear life until the Twins were swept in a three-game series in Kansas City after the All-Star Break. At that point, I knew and finally, reluctantly, accepted that it was over. A once-promising season thrown down the drain. However, looking back, is that final 78-84 mark actually surprising? And is it actually bad? Let's stop and consider.
    It all started before the season started, when Ervin Santana, the ace of the Twins in 2017, delayed his surgery until February and would not be able to start the season on-time. As it turned out, he didn't throw a pitch until August. Then, the news broke that Jorge Polanco would miss 80 games with a suspension for testing positive for Stanozolol, a banned substance. The Twins were surely upset, but not panicked, as Lynn was signed and Escobar became the regular shortstop and hit very well.
    In April, the Twins had three consecutive games postponed due to weather, which ended up giving the Twins 4 days off before going to Puerto Rico, where they played in a 16-inning game that resulted in a win vs the Indians. Then the 8-game losing streak began.
    The barrage of setbacks then continued when it was announced that Jason Castro was going to miss the rest of the season. Jason Castro was not a huge weapon offensively at this point, but his value defensively was immense. The Twins turned to veteran Bobby Wilson, who almost gave up baseball before the season, to receive a bulk of the playing time alongside Mitch Garver, who was still very unpolished.
    Byron Buxton then proceeded to make 2 trips to the Disabled List and ended up only playing in 28 games all season. That opened the door for Ryan LaMarre and, eventually, Jake Cave. Cave showed an ability to hit the ball, but he and Robbie Grossman in the outfield on a regular basis is clearly not ideal and a substantial downgrade from having Buxton in center, even if he put up mediocre numbers at the plate.
    Then June rolled around and the Twins were treading water, fighting for their lives to stay alive. The Twins were forced into making the nuclear decision to send a struggling, and by some reports disinterested Miguel Sanó not to Triple-A, but to Single-A for a complete reboot. His struggles opened the door for Ehire Adrianza to play shortstop every day until Polanco returned. Similar to Cave, Adrianza is a decent player, but he is not a healthy, productive Sanó. The more bench players that have to play regularly, the harder it is to win games.
    To compound that, Addison Reed, who was solid for the Twins early, started to break down from overuse and spent a lot of time on the Disabled List. To this day, he has not regained his already-declining velocity and was just recently Designated for Assignment.
    The Twins embarked on a late-June, early-July, 9-game road trip to Chicago (3 with each team) and Milwaukee. The Twins went 1-8 on that trip and were, in my mind and the mind of most, dead in the water. Then they went 9-2 on a homestead against the Orioles, Royals, and Rays right before the All-Star Break and were hanging on by just enough of a thread to keep me optimistic. Then the aforementioned Royals series happened and I knew what little hope was left was gone.
    The last week of July saw the departure of Brian Dozier, most notably. Another reason for the Twins struggles was that Dozier was never able to get it going after having a hot first week in Baltimore and Pittsburgh with 4 home runs. It was all downhill from there, though a dramatic walk-off grand slam in the last game before the break provided one last thing to cheer about before his send-off to LA.
    To summarize, here is what happened to the Twins in 2018:
    -Injured starting catcher, who was replaced by a veteran backup.
    -Injured starting center fielder
    -Suspended starting shortstop
    -Injured ace
    -Injured relief-ace
    -Declining starting second baseman
    -Disinterested former-All-Star third baseman who had to be demoted and rebooted
    All things considered, it is no surprise that the Twins underperformed in 2018. All told, perhaps 78 wins is not so bad after all. 2019 is off to a great start; this was the expectation last year, but we're getting it a year late! In my opinion, this team is better than the Opening Day 2018 team.
  22. Like
    Tom Froemming got a reaction from Ben Noble for a blog entry, Why I'm Out On Craig Kimbrel   
    Even a really great meal goes stale eventually.
     
    I desperately wanted the Twins to do more to upgrade the bullpen this offseason, and was supportive of the idea of them pursuing Craig Kimbrel at one point, but I'm out now. I don't really want anything to do with him.
     
    My frustration with the bullpen inactivity was never tied to any one particular reliever. Things have boiled own to that, since Kimbrel is the last man standing, but there were several attractive free agent bullpen pieces out there this winter. The Twins didn't sign any of them. I'm over it.
     
    I'm not saying this bullpen is fine as it's currently constructed. While Ryne Harper has been a pleasant surprise and the backed trio of Blake Parker, Taylor Rogers and Trevor May has mostly looked good, there are some legit concerns about the depth.
     
    But bringing in a project isn't the answer. Kimbrel is one of the greatest closers of all time. There's also a reason why he's still unemployed. Here are a few:
     
    -He has to be rusty. This is item No. 1 with a bullet. There's no way he can possibly be sharp, I don't care what kind of simulated games he may be throwing.
     
    -He had a 4.57 ERA in the second half and a 5.91 ERA in the postseason last year.
     
    -His fastball velocity dropped from 98.72 mph in 2017 to 97.63 mph last year.
     
    -It actually took him awhile to work up to that velocity last season, sitting below 97 mph through April. Yes, he's been working out, but I'd still be concerned it would take him some time to get up to full speed.
     
    -His ground ball rate dropped from 37.0% to 28.2% last year.
     
    -His line drive rate went up from 19.4% to 24.8% last year.
     
    -He had a worse first-pitch strike rate (56.3%) than Fernando Rodney last year.
     
    -He had the eighth-lowest rate of pitches in the zone (36.6%) of the 151 qualified relievers last year.
     
    -He walked 12.6% of the batters he faced last year. That is horrible. It was the 20th-worst rate among 336 pitchers who logged more than 50 innings last year.
     
    In nearly every single positive mention of the Twins I see, there is somebody in the comments who calls for Kimbrel. I get it, I just think the idea of Kimbrel doesn't even accurately reflect who he actually is at this point.
     
    If the Twins seek to improve the bullpen, they should be looking for guys who are trending upward. Or at least, you know, active. Maybe Kimbrel will be great, I don't know, but I am comfortable with another team taking on that project. There are other ways to boost the bullpen.
  23. Like
    Tom Froemming got a reaction from nicksaviking for a blog entry, Why I'm Out On Craig Kimbrel   
    Even a really great meal goes stale eventually.
     
    I desperately wanted the Twins to do more to upgrade the bullpen this offseason, and was supportive of the idea of them pursuing Craig Kimbrel at one point, but I'm out now. I don't really want anything to do with him.
     
    My frustration with the bullpen inactivity was never tied to any one particular reliever. Things have boiled own to that, since Kimbrel is the last man standing, but there were several attractive free agent bullpen pieces out there this winter. The Twins didn't sign any of them. I'm over it.
     
    I'm not saying this bullpen is fine as it's currently constructed. While Ryne Harper has been a pleasant surprise and the backed trio of Blake Parker, Taylor Rogers and Trevor May has mostly looked good, there are some legit concerns about the depth.
     
    But bringing in a project isn't the answer. Kimbrel is one of the greatest closers of all time. There's also a reason why he's still unemployed. Here are a few:
     
    -He has to be rusty. This is item No. 1 with a bullet. There's no way he can possibly be sharp, I don't care what kind of simulated games he may be throwing.
     
    -He had a 4.57 ERA in the second half and a 5.91 ERA in the postseason last year.
     
    -His fastball velocity dropped from 98.72 mph in 2017 to 97.63 mph last year.
     
    -It actually took him awhile to work up to that velocity last season, sitting below 97 mph through April. Yes, he's been working out, but I'd still be concerned it would take him some time to get up to full speed.
     
    -His ground ball rate dropped from 37.0% to 28.2% last year.
     
    -His line drive rate went up from 19.4% to 24.8% last year.
     
    -He had a worse first-pitch strike rate (56.3%) than Fernando Rodney last year.
     
    -He had the eighth-lowest rate of pitches in the zone (36.6%) of the 151 qualified relievers last year.
     
    -He walked 12.6% of the batters he faced last year. That is horrible. It was the 20th-worst rate among 336 pitchers who logged more than 50 innings last year.
     
    In nearly every single positive mention of the Twins I see, there is somebody in the comments who calls for Kimbrel. I get it, I just think the idea of Kimbrel doesn't even accurately reflect who he actually is at this point.
     
    If the Twins seek to improve the bullpen, they should be looking for guys who are trending upward. Or at least, you know, active. Maybe Kimbrel will be great, I don't know, but I am comfortable with another team taking on that project. There are other ways to boost the bullpen.
  24. Like
    Tom Froemming got a reaction from blindeke for a blog entry, Why I'm Out On Craig Kimbrel   
    Even a really great meal goes stale eventually.
     
    I desperately wanted the Twins to do more to upgrade the bullpen this offseason, and was supportive of the idea of them pursuing Craig Kimbrel at one point, but I'm out now. I don't really want anything to do with him.
     
    My frustration with the bullpen inactivity was never tied to any one particular reliever. Things have boiled own to that, since Kimbrel is the last man standing, but there were several attractive free agent bullpen pieces out there this winter. The Twins didn't sign any of them. I'm over it.
     
    I'm not saying this bullpen is fine as it's currently constructed. While Ryne Harper has been a pleasant surprise and the backed trio of Blake Parker, Taylor Rogers and Trevor May has mostly looked good, there are some legit concerns about the depth.
     
    But bringing in a project isn't the answer. Kimbrel is one of the greatest closers of all time. There's also a reason why he's still unemployed. Here are a few:
     
    -He has to be rusty. This is item No. 1 with a bullet. There's no way he can possibly be sharp, I don't care what kind of simulated games he may be throwing.
     
    -He had a 4.57 ERA in the second half and a 5.91 ERA in the postseason last year.
     
    -His fastball velocity dropped from 98.72 mph in 2017 to 97.63 mph last year.
     
    -It actually took him awhile to work up to that velocity last season, sitting below 97 mph through April. Yes, he's been working out, but I'd still be concerned it would take him some time to get up to full speed.
     
    -His ground ball rate dropped from 37.0% to 28.2% last year.
     
    -His line drive rate went up from 19.4% to 24.8% last year.
     
    -He had a worse first-pitch strike rate (56.3%) than Fernando Rodney last year.
     
    -He had the eighth-lowest rate of pitches in the zone (36.6%) of the 151 qualified relievers last year.
     
    -He walked 12.6% of the batters he faced last year. That is horrible. It was the 20th-worst rate among 336 pitchers who logged more than 50 innings last year.
     
    In nearly every single positive mention of the Twins I see, there is somebody in the comments who calls for Kimbrel. I get it, I just think the idea of Kimbrel doesn't even accurately reflect who he actually is at this point.
     
    If the Twins seek to improve the bullpen, they should be looking for guys who are trending upward. Or at least, you know, active. Maybe Kimbrel will be great, I don't know, but I am comfortable with another team taking on that project. There are other ways to boost the bullpen.
  25. Like
    Tom Froemming got a reaction from nclahammer for a blog entry, Why I'm Out On Craig Kimbrel   
    Even a really great meal goes stale eventually.
     
    I desperately wanted the Twins to do more to upgrade the bullpen this offseason, and was supportive of the idea of them pursuing Craig Kimbrel at one point, but I'm out now. I don't really want anything to do with him.
     
    My frustration with the bullpen inactivity was never tied to any one particular reliever. Things have boiled own to that, since Kimbrel is the last man standing, but there were several attractive free agent bullpen pieces out there this winter. The Twins didn't sign any of them. I'm over it.
     
    I'm not saying this bullpen is fine as it's currently constructed. While Ryne Harper has been a pleasant surprise and the backed trio of Blake Parker, Taylor Rogers and Trevor May has mostly looked good, there are some legit concerns about the depth.
     
    But bringing in a project isn't the answer. Kimbrel is one of the greatest closers of all time. There's also a reason why he's still unemployed. Here are a few:
     
    -He has to be rusty. This is item No. 1 with a bullet. There's no way he can possibly be sharp, I don't care what kind of simulated games he may be throwing.
     
    -He had a 4.57 ERA in the second half and a 5.91 ERA in the postseason last year.
     
    -His fastball velocity dropped from 98.72 mph in 2017 to 97.63 mph last year.
     
    -It actually took him awhile to work up to that velocity last season, sitting below 97 mph through April. Yes, he's been working out, but I'd still be concerned it would take him some time to get up to full speed.
     
    -His ground ball rate dropped from 37.0% to 28.2% last year.
     
    -His line drive rate went up from 19.4% to 24.8% last year.
     
    -He had a worse first-pitch strike rate (56.3%) than Fernando Rodney last year.
     
    -He had the eighth-lowest rate of pitches in the zone (36.6%) of the 151 qualified relievers last year.
     
    -He walked 12.6% of the batters he faced last year. That is horrible. It was the 20th-worst rate among 336 pitchers who logged more than 50 innings last year.
     
    In nearly every single positive mention of the Twins I see, there is somebody in the comments who calls for Kimbrel. I get it, I just think the idea of Kimbrel doesn't even accurately reflect who he actually is at this point.
     
    If the Twins seek to improve the bullpen, they should be looking for guys who are trending upward. Or at least, you know, active. Maybe Kimbrel will be great, I don't know, but I am comfortable with another team taking on that project. There are other ways to boost the bullpen.
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