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Franz's Achievements

  1. 100 starts/3 seasons is an interesting take. Anecdotally, if you look at career stats of some greats, e.g. Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, even Greg Maddux, you see a marked improvement (from good to great) about three full seasons into their careers. I leave it to someone else to do a thorough analysis (does it apply to borderline pitchers who become merely 'good'?), but this suggests that you shouldn't judge full potential by the early results...and I think it supports MABB1959's comment about getting our young pitchers experience in the majors to help accelerate their development.
  2. Or one of the next arms to go? I agree that May's next appearances will be big, though I suspect he is locked into a tier with Duffey and Harper after the addition of Romo and Dyson. He will need to pitch very very well - or one of the new guys will need to fail badly - for that to change over the next two months. P.S. I'm hoping for the former...which is possible if he can improve his command. Then he could be a difference maker for this team.
  3. What indeed?! This, I think, is where Baldelli's inexperience showed. I believe he has done an excellent job as a manager this season because he and his staff plan ahead and prepare well (call it analytics, if you will). Sticking to a good plan helps the team to achieve consistent, predictable results. Of course, those predictable results include, sometimes, losing a game. In fact, good teams - playoff teams - lose about 40% of the time. The run-up to Thursday's loss began on Wednesday night. Baldelli could easily have had another pitcher warmed up for mop up duty (Harper or May come to mind) in case Poppen had any difficulties. Bringing in Rogers for a second straight night should have eliminated Rogers from pitching on Thursday, which was just fine considering that a rested Dyson was on his way. In effect, Baldelli's actions said, "I'm going to do everything possible to ensure we win this game, and go into tomorrow knowing I don't have my best reliever available." An implicit acknowledgement that Rogers was NOT available to pitch three days in a row. Thursday's game set up just fine for using Dyson in the 9th. He's a closer-caliber pitcher but this time he just didn't have it. And with the bases loaded, nobody out, the tying run on second and a win-probability already next to nil, the conventional wisdom is that you simply leave your 'closer' in....it is their game to win or lose. But that is where Baldelli chucked his plan out the window and made an emotional, last-ditch decision that he needed to somehow salvage the win. Hey, it was a valiant effort by Rogers, but as a result he threw 21 pitches on his third consecutive day of work. The game was still lost and now at least the next two games have a slightly lower win-probability because the best relief pitcher is unavailable. A worst-case scenario would be damage to Rogers' arm...an arm that will be needed for the post season. The lessons for a rookie manager? Stick to the plan. Ad hoc decisions are usually poor decisions (and a whole lot more likely to be second-guessed!).
  4. And he was hitting .320 with 18 HR at the end of June. To my earlier point, Rosario's BABIP was near .400 for May 2018; well into the "unsustainable" zone.Then he hit 9 homers in June. To pose a common question: is a player as good as their best 2- or 3-month stretch, or will the player inevitably regress to the mean? I guess my ultimate point is this: while someday Eddie Rosario may string together six great months of baseball to go .300+ and 30+, becoming an MVP candidate, the Twins shouldn't count on him for it, and should build the rest of the team accordingly. 20-30 HR with a high 200s average and showing leadership on the field is plenty good from my (cheap seats) point of view!
  5. "He absolutely has the ability to put up a .300+ average with 30+ home runs." I love the optimism. I just don't see it happening and I think it sets the bar for measuring Rosario's value to this team much too high. But I appreciate Nick's next line, "...But even if he holds steady he's a quality bat for the middle of the lineup, as well as an energizing spark plug in all phases." I think that's exactly right and I would be very happy to see the Twins extend him this year. I will pay money just to see a Rosario-Buxton-Kepler trio play the outfield. Going back to expectations....let's consider...there were eight (qualifying) players in the AL who hit .300+ last year. Only three of them hit more than 30 homers. In fact, they were also the only three .300 hitters that hit more than 20! Their names were Trout, Martinez, and Betts. I love watching Rosario play but he is nowhere near that class in pitch selection, and I think that aggressiveness is such an integral part of his personality that he will never develop into a selective hitter; the kind of hitter that can hit for both power and high++ average. If he ever does, his BABIP would have to be other-worldly. Also, he doesn't play home games in Fenway :-)
  6. If that is the case I am happy to provide my apologies and thanks for the correction in advance! I will also, however, re-state my original question: Is there anything in Buxton's track record to suggest he would add value as a modern (OBP) lead-off man? I've seen lots of analysis on this site and elsewhere that suggests the 2019 Twins 25-man roster will likely lack players with good on base skills, so it seems to me they would want to maximize this ability at the top of the order, at least.
  7. Good catch...let me try it again with more specifics... ...according to MLB Gameday, Byron Buxton put the first pitch in play in 5 of his last 6 at-bats, including all three of his at-bats while going 0-3 in the February 27 game against Philadelphia and his first two at-bats while going 3-3 in the February 25 game against Baltimore.... A small sample size and subject to recency-bias, I'll admit, but it doesn't do anything to persuade me that he is working on pitch-selection during spring training. And if he doesn't work on grinding out at-bats when the games don't count, what is the likelihood that he will during the regular season? Habits are hard to break.
  8. It seems like I'm going off-topic here by inserting a comment about the last of Cody's mailbag responses! Regarding Buxton having a breakout season and becoming the leadoff hitter by September, I think the first prediction is realistic (breakout season!) but not the second. Is there anything in Buxton's track record that suggests he would add value as a modern (OBP) leadoff man? FYI, in his last 6 spring training at-bats he has put the first pitch in play 5 times. That sounds like a guy who is working on being aggressive with pitches in the zone rather than seeing a lot of pitches.
  9. I agree that this is a likely path, and the path of least risk with respect to long-term planning. I'd be surprised if the club made a serious attempt at top free agents this year. And it doesn't seem like they are close enough to contention to commit their top prospects in a trade for a front line starting pitcher (if there are any to be had). I wonder if they even will commit the prospects to get a #3-caliber starter. You haven't listed any youngsters on that roster. I also agree that the club will choose not to rush (i.e. start the service clock) on prospects if they can help it. The exception I think, may be Rooker. But I'd be very surprised to see him before June. One of your bench positions that I'm not sure about is Astudillo. I know they've played him around the diamond a bit...but does he really provide enough value as an infielder to make it worth carrying a third catcher vs. a thirteenth pitcher? Another that I'm not so sure about is Grossman. I see that you question whether he will be offered a contract. I will be interested to which way they go with him. Was he a front office favorite, or a manager favorite? It will also be interesting and informative to see how the club pursues free agent infielders. I wouldn't mind seeing a left side of Eduardo Escobar and Jose Iglesias, with Polanco shifting to 2B, and Sano moving to be the primary DH and spot 1B. I think that would tighten up our fielding considerably, and tide us over until the arrival of Lewis. (And Gordon?)
  10. Tom's statement, "If the Twins intend to be contenders in 2019" is a key point to consider. The roster that was put together in 2018, with several short-term free agent contracts to veteran players, was an obvious attempt by the front office to bridge a gap while young major leaguers matured, minor leaguers developed, and large contracts came off the books. But I suspect that contention in 2019 was not the goal of that strategy, rather, I think the club was looking at 2018 and 2019 as "competitive" years with 2020 as a contention year. 2018 became a disappointing, non-competitive year when the free agents didn't perform as expected and the young major leaguers lost time due to injury and suspension. Now the best that can be hoped for in 2019 is a development year for the youngsters. That means lots of at bats for an every-day outfield of Rosario, Buxton, and Kepler. Polanco shifting to second base to see how his glove will play there. Sano and Austin splitting time at first base and DH. Any plan that leaves Buxton on the bench until the late innings minimizes his true value as a player, which is helping out the pitchers and his fellow outfielders (and infielders!) by providing platinum glove level fielding for nine innings. I will also take the opposite side of Tom's argument that there's nothing wrong with putting Sano on the bench if he starts the season slumping. As long as he is physically able, he belongs in the lineup, primarily as a DH. In his first year with the club, he provided plenty of value of the DH spot. I would argue that moving him around the diamond since then has taken away from his focus on hitting. Grossman and Cave have done all they can to fill in where needed. I've got no complaints about their effort or character. I just don't see either of them as a starting-caliber DH or outfielder on a contending team. And with 25-man roster spots for position players so scarce these days, I don't see how you can keep carrying players with little positional flexibility. Maybe you can carry Cave as a lefty swinging DH/1B/OF for platoon purposes.
  11. Keep. The focus of this thread has been hitting. Regardless of what he has done at the plate, Kepler is a plus right fielder and even a slightly-plus center fielder (source: baseball-reference.com, "fielding runs above average"). Sooner or later we must face the fact that right now the Twins are a poor fielding team, and there isn't enough hitting or nearly enough pitching to make up for that shortcoming. I firmly believe that Kepler also has upside in hitting that, combined with his fielding and durability, make him a cornerstone of any future Twins roster. If Kiriloff brings a plus bat and glove to the majors (not just AAA), great...but in that event why not just use Kepler as a left-side platoon for Buxton in CF and (dare we hope) Rooker at 1B?
  12. For me, it is not what the game was worth, but what it represented. I watch and listen to games for entertainment. I am quite serious when I say that for me, watching Byron Buxton play center field is worth the price of admission. For quite some time now, I have NOT been entertained by the team that the Twins have put on the field. A number of their acquisitions and managerial moves over the past three years simply have not been conducive to putting a good product on the field. And when it becomes apparent - even obvious - that a move isn't going to work out, they persist in it! A few examples, in roughly chronological order: Sano in right field, to make room for Plouffe at 3B and Park at DHGrossman ANYWHERE in the outfieldPolanco at shortstopDozier in the leadoff spotBelisle's returnBelisle's return (with a new arm angle!?!?)Gimenez's return...as a first baseman?Buxton's non-returnI apologize for not tagging this as <rant></rant>, but I think it's implied at this point in the thread...
  13. Wow. Almost makes me wish I had watched the broadcast. Almost. All the Twins needed today was for Gimenez to throw toss lob one at somebody's head.
  14. September call ups need to be on the 40 man roster, so I'd say "no" for Vargas. Beyond roster technicalities, it seems to me that they will want to see as much of Tyler Austin as possible over the last month, and Vargas at-bats would cut into Austin's playing time.
  15. I think Ted got the semantics just right with "turning the corner". Kepler appears to be making incremental adjustments to his approach without making radical changes to his sweet swing. I very much doubt that we've seen his (sustained) ceiling. Looking forward to Ted's promised deeper dive.
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