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Thiéres Rabelo

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  1. Like
    Thiéres Rabelo reacted to Melissa Berman for a blog entry, Twins Valentine's Day Cards!   
    Happy Valentine's Day! Today as I watched all our other local sports teams post their annual Valentine's Day pun cards featuring their team's players, I connected the dots that the Twins can't do that this year because of the lockout. So, I made some cards instead! I hope you like them, and if not, I hope our love isn't ~Ober.~
     
    All player images are courtesy of ESPN.com

















  2. Like
    Thiéres Rabelo reacted to Melissa Berman for a blog entry, Spring Training Dreaming - Increased Negotiation Pace On Deck?   
    A wise gal once said “Cold days like these have me dreaming about baseball.”
    Actually, that was me on Twitter a few days ago.
    Regardless, here we are on the eve of yet another meeting between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association, where on February 12 the MLB and its owners plan to make a new proposal to the MLBPA. As I’m sure we all know, thus far very little progress has been made and both sides remain quite far apart on issues ranging from service time rules to free agency structure. The pace of negotiations has thus far been definitively glacial. 
    Here's a theory that gives me some hope that the CBA negotiation pace is going to pick up big time- hopefully starting with this February 12 meeting. Spring training makes way more money now than it did even 10 years ago; it’s big business. The price of tickets continues to rise and complexes are becoming more built out. It’s a whole experience (and might I mention, a wonderful one for those lucky enough to find themselves at Hammond Stadium- I'll give my Fort Myers sightseeing guide in a future blog post). Therefore, the MLB has a real incentive to not only prevent the disruption of regular season games, but to prevent the loss of spring training games as well and the scores of beer-buying, sunburnt snowbirds they draw. Here’s an interesting graph courtesy of the the online ticket marketplace Tickpick showing the average price of spring training tickets per team on its platform as of 2020- the Twins appear to be on the lower end of prices.
    As a quick aside, I did not view the MLB's desire to use a mediator as negatively as the players did. I actually thought it was a good idea- we've seen it work recently in other sports like the NHL's 2012-2013 lockout. The players rejected the use of the mediator, saying that they did not need to use one because their proposals have been "fair." I do side with the players, but in my opinion each side believes they are being fair in their proposals- the impasse remains anyway. I thought a mediator might help the parties work through the hyper-toxic environment we have seen during the negotiating process. However, mediation isn't not happening, so hopefully the two sides can work through their differences one-on-one. As mentioned above, spring training profits likely provide an extra incentive for the MLB to move things along on their end. The players, on the other hand, don't get paid until regular season Opening Day (meaning they do not get paid for spring training).
    So for now I'll keep daydreaming about baseball and remain optimistic that a deal will get done. But really, as I look outside and see steam pouring out of chimneys, how nice does a 73 degree June night at Target Field, Dollar Dog in hand, sound right about now?
     
    By the way, any pictures I use on my blog/within its posts are my own!
    Below: Centurylink Sports Complex in 2019. There are a bunch of walls with really cool artwork and murals that line the complex's buildings and backstops.
    Feature photo: Spring training game I attended on March 6, 2018 during law school spring break, an 8-9 loss to the Orioles. Wave to TC down the third baseline!

  3. Like
    Thiéres Rabelo reacted to Melissa Berman for a blog entry, Hello + Stealing Home from the Hot Corner   
    Hello Twins fans and fanatics!
    My name is Melissa, and I’m romantic about baseball, the Twins, and Dollar Dog Night.
    I'm so excited to be starting up this blog to share my hot takes, musings, and ramblings about all things Twins baseball. 
    My deep love for the Twins comes from a baseball and softball-centric upbringing. 
    Growing up, softball truly was the love of my life. Like many little girls, my mom first tried putting me in dance. My dear readers, I *hated* dance. One of my most vivid memories entails me angrily crawling around on the floor of my mom’s minivan as she drove me to another dreaded dance rehearsal in a stuffy church basement. It was not a match. 
    So, my parents stuck me in tee ball; my older sister played softball and of course I wanted to be ~just like her.~ I loved softball more than anything- I loved bunting and sliding, I loved practicing and executing rundowns but NOT getting into them, I loved my Jennie Finch glove, I loved tournaments and my jersey tan lines, I loved playing CF and 3B, I loved the number 12, and I loved being part of a team. Before I traded all my fast twitch muscles to the devil for the slow twitch marathon runner muscles I have today, I was an incredibly fast baserunner. Always the fastest on my team and usually the fastest overall at softball tryouts. In softball my favorite thing of all was stealing home- I’d take a larger than usual leadoff off third base aka the hot corner. The catcher would shoot me daggers and think ‘what the heck is this girl doing?’ and then the second her wrist snapped to throw the ball back to the pitcher, I’d be charging full speed towards home. I think I made it in safety every time.
    Growing up, and thanks to my parents, I went to a myriad of games at my beloved Metrodome. I have fond memories of arriving hours before weekend games to line up for Hormel bobblehead or bat giveaways and staying after the game to run the bases on Sundays. I think it’s an interesting cultural change that even in the past 10 or 15 or so years that people don’t really go crazy over these giveaways of material collectibles anymore and that teams don’t do as many of them. I’m admittedly quite a nostalgic person, so look for a blog post where I wax nostalgic about my favorite parts of the Dome sometime soon. 
    We also went to Twins fest regularly, where I have wonderful memories of meeting players like Harmon Killebrew, who yes, was truly every bit as kind and warm as everyone says, and I attended uncountable free autograph signings at Cub Foods and Twins Pro Shop locations. Again, you don’t really see autograph signings like that anymore, and if you do, you might have to pay for the autograph. 
    These days, I’m an attorney, competitive Nordic (cross country) skier, marathon runner, and ski coach.  I love golfing and have to be frequently reminded to not “kill the ball”- a vestige from my softball days and a desire to swing as hard as I possible. I am a fierce advocate for women in sports and am proud to mentor both the boys and girls I coach.  
    I attend around 30+ Twins home games a year, a handful or two of Saints games, and I’m hoping to road trip out to Chicago to catch a White Sox beatdown with some college friends this season as well. I love going to Spring Training and have a goal to visit as many MLB stadiums as possible. 
    Some of my hot takes and views include a moderate aversion to modern analytics and using them to “overmanage” (especially in the playoffs), a disappointment in the disappearance  of bunting, an annoyance in the Twins’ aversion to spend money on quality starting pitching, a belief that "The Trop" is a wonderful stadium, and being kind of bummed that the NL added the universal DH. 
    That’s more than enough about me for now. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you around the diamond! (Hopefully.. hop to it, Manfred!)
     

  4. Like
    Thiéres Rabelo got a reaction from nclahammer for a blog entry, What If The Twins Don't Go Big This Year?   
    We are within the last 24 hours before the trade deadline and the market has been quiet for basically every non-Mets team in MLB. Apparently, this has become a pattern around major league GM’s in recent memory, whether it’s the deadline or offseason free agency. The fact is, none of the contenders has done much so far. What if they don’t?
     
    First of all, this is not what I assume is going to happen. I believe that, eventually, teams willing to win will make their moves. But I’m curious to see what’s going to happen if none of them actually pulls the trigger until tomorrow. Granted, 2019 has one particularity. Most teams are considerably indecisive about being sellers or buyers, as USA Today columnist Bob Nightengale tweeted on Monday:
     
    https://twitter.com/BNightengale/status/1155904273567211521
     
    Like I said, I strongly believe that contending teams will pull the trigger. But I have to say that I’m starting to be a little bit concerned if the Twins are among those teams. Don’t get me wrong, I really hope this suspicion is completely wrong. But if Derek Falvey and Thad Levine don’t bring in the stars Twins fans are hoping for, it wouldn’t be something never seen before in their regime.
     
    The biggest example that comes to my mind is the last offseason. After bringing in key veterans to power the already good offense in C.J. Cron, Nelson Cruz, Jonathan Schoop and Marwin Gonzalez, the Twins had basically one urgent matter to address: the bullpen. For us fans, it sounded crazy to think they wouldn’t sign big names in the beginning of the year, especially because they had plenty of payroll room for that.
     
    We all know what happened. The Twins decided to wait and made Blake Parker their one and only big free agent signing for the bullpen. Six months later, they still have the same urgent matter to be addressed. What if they choose to approach it the same way? Chances are very little, but here are three questions I ask about this current deadline for the Twins.
     
    Is this their “all in year”?
    This is an important matter. Is 2019 the ultimate contending year for the Twins? Should they spend top prospects to make the team stronger for this playoff run? One can argue that it isn’t. The Twins already have one of the best young cores in baseball. And that’s talking about MLB-talent, not only about prospects. The best offense in the league has an average age of 27.7. If it wasn’t for Nelson Cruz, it would be 26.9. That’s unbelievably young.
     
    Also, Fangraphs currently ranks the Twins’ farm system as the sixth best in MLB and Minnesota has five players in the Top 100 Prospects in the game. So, would it really be the worst thing in the world if they didn’t commit to winning this year’s World Series? Maybe not. Maybe trusting this young core and let them get post-season experience at this point could make a huge difference in the years to come.
     
    Is this team good enough to win?
    I’ll be straight here and say that I don’t think so. But some people do. In several moments, Minnesota had the best record in baseball and have solidly stayed put within the top four teams in the league. Is it crazy to assume they can pull this? Perhaps no. Fangraphs’ Dan Szymborski tweeted yesterday an interesting rank of how many Wins Above Replacement (WAR) each team has outside their top four players. Guess who’s on top?
     
    https://twitter.com/DSzymborski/status/1155913288179441666
     
    Bottom line, Minnesota has a damn good team. They have taken the season series against the Astros earlier in the year and made the Yankees sweat to defeat them. Also, they currently have a 29-24 record against teams with .500 or above. That’s an 88-win pace on a 162-game season. It’s hard to believe, but such inconsistent pitching staff as the Twins’ has been currently has the seventh best ERA and FIP in the game, as well as the fourth most WAR. Like I said, I don’t think this team has what it takes to win it all the way its roster is right now, but I don’t think those who believe that are being unreasonable.
     
    Are there really good options?
    Maybe the biggest concern for all teams considering buying in this deadline is the lack of clear options. One of the Twins main targets, Marcus Stroman, was traded to the Mets during the weekend for an unbelievably cheap price. The Mets also kind of ruled out trading Noah Syndergaard to Minnesota when they asked for Byron Buxton in return, as reported by Star Tribune’s La Velle E. Neal III. In his opinion, “the Twins seem comfortable with their rotation”. And that probably adds up. I mean - and this is an honest question - who do you see in the league now that would represent a considerable leap in quality for the Twins rotation? Should they spend quality prospects to get players who would produce the same as their current starters?
     
    When talking about the bullpen, things are clearly different when we talk about the club’s needs, but no so different when we talk about availability of options. In my opinion, the best option for Minnesota and for any team, for that matter, would be the Pirates’ Felipe Vásquez. But rumors have it that Pittsburgh is asking too much. Is he worth giving two or three top prospects for you? Besides, the Dodgers seem like frontrunners to acquire him. Kirby Yates also looks like a great fit, but the Padres appear to be in buyers mode, as they have inquired the Mets about bringing in “Thor”.
     
    There are other names who could be pursuited. So far, Sergio Romo is the only addition and Cody Allen is doing work in the minors to try to earn a spot. Neither of them cost the Twins much. Maybe we should be expecting cheap signings like these two instead of big splashes. Maybe they will work. What would you do?
     
    By this time tomorrow we will have our answers. Minnesota has to choose between shopping big and try to win it all this year or just modestly improve an already good team, patiently waiting for years to come and not compromising the long-term future.
  5. Like
    Thiéres Rabelo got a reaction from DocBauer for a blog entry, What If The Twins Don't Go Big This Year?   
    We are within the last 24 hours before the trade deadline and the market has been quiet for basically every non-Mets team in MLB. Apparently, this has become a pattern around major league GM’s in recent memory, whether it’s the deadline or offseason free agency. The fact is, none of the contenders has done much so far. What if they don’t?
     
    First of all, this is not what I assume is going to happen. I believe that, eventually, teams willing to win will make their moves. But I’m curious to see what’s going to happen if none of them actually pulls the trigger until tomorrow. Granted, 2019 has one particularity. Most teams are considerably indecisive about being sellers or buyers, as USA Today columnist Bob Nightengale tweeted on Monday:
     
    https://twitter.com/BNightengale/status/1155904273567211521
     
    Like I said, I strongly believe that contending teams will pull the trigger. But I have to say that I’m starting to be a little bit concerned if the Twins are among those teams. Don’t get me wrong, I really hope this suspicion is completely wrong. But if Derek Falvey and Thad Levine don’t bring in the stars Twins fans are hoping for, it wouldn’t be something never seen before in their regime.
     
    The biggest example that comes to my mind is the last offseason. After bringing in key veterans to power the already good offense in C.J. Cron, Nelson Cruz, Jonathan Schoop and Marwin Gonzalez, the Twins had basically one urgent matter to address: the bullpen. For us fans, it sounded crazy to think they wouldn’t sign big names in the beginning of the year, especially because they had plenty of payroll room for that.
     
    We all know what happened. The Twins decided to wait and made Blake Parker their one and only big free agent signing for the bullpen. Six months later, they still have the same urgent matter to be addressed. What if they choose to approach it the same way? Chances are very little, but here are three questions I ask about this current deadline for the Twins.
     
    Is this their “all in year”?
    This is an important matter. Is 2019 the ultimate contending year for the Twins? Should they spend top prospects to make the team stronger for this playoff run? One can argue that it isn’t. The Twins already have one of the best young cores in baseball. And that’s talking about MLB-talent, not only about prospects. The best offense in the league has an average age of 27.7. If it wasn’t for Nelson Cruz, it would be 26.9. That’s unbelievably young.
     
    Also, Fangraphs currently ranks the Twins’ farm system as the sixth best in MLB and Minnesota has five players in the Top 100 Prospects in the game. So, would it really be the worst thing in the world if they didn’t commit to winning this year’s World Series? Maybe not. Maybe trusting this young core and let them get post-season experience at this point could make a huge difference in the years to come.
     
    Is this team good enough to win?
    I’ll be straight here and say that I don’t think so. But some people do. In several moments, Minnesota had the best record in baseball and have solidly stayed put within the top four teams in the league. Is it crazy to assume they can pull this? Perhaps no. Fangraphs’ Dan Szymborski tweeted yesterday an interesting rank of how many Wins Above Replacement (WAR) each team has outside their top four players. Guess who’s on top?
     
    https://twitter.com/DSzymborski/status/1155913288179441666
     
    Bottom line, Minnesota has a damn good team. They have taken the season series against the Astros earlier in the year and made the Yankees sweat to defeat them. Also, they currently have a 29-24 record against teams with .500 or above. That’s an 88-win pace on a 162-game season. It’s hard to believe, but such inconsistent pitching staff as the Twins’ has been currently has the seventh best ERA and FIP in the game, as well as the fourth most WAR. Like I said, I don’t think this team has what it takes to win it all the way its roster is right now, but I don’t think those who believe that are being unreasonable.
     
    Are there really good options?
    Maybe the biggest concern for all teams considering buying in this deadline is the lack of clear options. One of the Twins main targets, Marcus Stroman, was traded to the Mets during the weekend for an unbelievably cheap price. The Mets also kind of ruled out trading Noah Syndergaard to Minnesota when they asked for Byron Buxton in return, as reported by Star Tribune’s La Velle E. Neal III. In his opinion, “the Twins seem comfortable with their rotation”. And that probably adds up. I mean - and this is an honest question - who do you see in the league now that would represent a considerable leap in quality for the Twins rotation? Should they spend quality prospects to get players who would produce the same as their current starters?
     
    When talking about the bullpen, things are clearly different when we talk about the club’s needs, but no so different when we talk about availability of options. In my opinion, the best option for Minnesota and for any team, for that matter, would be the Pirates’ Felipe Vásquez. But rumors have it that Pittsburgh is asking too much. Is he worth giving two or three top prospects for you? Besides, the Dodgers seem like frontrunners to acquire him. Kirby Yates also looks like a great fit, but the Padres appear to be in buyers mode, as they have inquired the Mets about bringing in “Thor”.
     
    There are other names who could be pursuited. So far, Sergio Romo is the only addition and Cody Allen is doing work in the minors to try to earn a spot. Neither of them cost the Twins much. Maybe we should be expecting cheap signings like these two instead of big splashes. Maybe they will work. What would you do?
     
    By this time tomorrow we will have our answers. Minnesota has to choose between shopping big and try to win it all this year or just modestly improve an already good team, patiently waiting for years to come and not compromising the long-term future.
  6. Like
    Thiéres Rabelo got a reaction from DannySD for a blog entry, What If The Twins Don't Go Big This Year?   
    We are within the last 24 hours before the trade deadline and the market has been quiet for basically every non-Mets team in MLB. Apparently, this has become a pattern around major league GM’s in recent memory, whether it’s the deadline or offseason free agency. The fact is, none of the contenders has done much so far. What if they don’t?
     
    First of all, this is not what I assume is going to happen. I believe that, eventually, teams willing to win will make their moves. But I’m curious to see what’s going to happen if none of them actually pulls the trigger until tomorrow. Granted, 2019 has one particularity. Most teams are considerably indecisive about being sellers or buyers, as USA Today columnist Bob Nightengale tweeted on Monday:
     
    https://twitter.com/BNightengale/status/1155904273567211521
     
    Like I said, I strongly believe that contending teams will pull the trigger. But I have to say that I’m starting to be a little bit concerned if the Twins are among those teams. Don’t get me wrong, I really hope this suspicion is completely wrong. But if Derek Falvey and Thad Levine don’t bring in the stars Twins fans are hoping for, it wouldn’t be something never seen before in their regime.
     
    The biggest example that comes to my mind is the last offseason. After bringing in key veterans to power the already good offense in C.J. Cron, Nelson Cruz, Jonathan Schoop and Marwin Gonzalez, the Twins had basically one urgent matter to address: the bullpen. For us fans, it sounded crazy to think they wouldn’t sign big names in the beginning of the year, especially because they had plenty of payroll room for that.
     
    We all know what happened. The Twins decided to wait and made Blake Parker their one and only big free agent signing for the bullpen. Six months later, they still have the same urgent matter to be addressed. What if they choose to approach it the same way? Chances are very little, but here are three questions I ask about this current deadline for the Twins.
     
    Is this their “all in year”?
    This is an important matter. Is 2019 the ultimate contending year for the Twins? Should they spend top prospects to make the team stronger for this playoff run? One can argue that it isn’t. The Twins already have one of the best young cores in baseball. And that’s talking about MLB-talent, not only about prospects. The best offense in the league has an average age of 27.7. If it wasn’t for Nelson Cruz, it would be 26.9. That’s unbelievably young.
     
    Also, Fangraphs currently ranks the Twins’ farm system as the sixth best in MLB and Minnesota has five players in the Top 100 Prospects in the game. So, would it really be the worst thing in the world if they didn’t commit to winning this year’s World Series? Maybe not. Maybe trusting this young core and let them get post-season experience at this point could make a huge difference in the years to come.
     
    Is this team good enough to win?
    I’ll be straight here and say that I don’t think so. But some people do. In several moments, Minnesota had the best record in baseball and have solidly stayed put within the top four teams in the league. Is it crazy to assume they can pull this? Perhaps no. Fangraphs’ Dan Szymborski tweeted yesterday an interesting rank of how many Wins Above Replacement (WAR) each team has outside their top four players. Guess who’s on top?
     
    https://twitter.com/DSzymborski/status/1155913288179441666
     
    Bottom line, Minnesota has a damn good team. They have taken the season series against the Astros earlier in the year and made the Yankees sweat to defeat them. Also, they currently have a 29-24 record against teams with .500 or above. That’s an 88-win pace on a 162-game season. It’s hard to believe, but such inconsistent pitching staff as the Twins’ has been currently has the seventh best ERA and FIP in the game, as well as the fourth most WAR. Like I said, I don’t think this team has what it takes to win it all the way its roster is right now, but I don’t think those who believe that are being unreasonable.
     
    Are there really good options?
    Maybe the biggest concern for all teams considering buying in this deadline is the lack of clear options. One of the Twins main targets, Marcus Stroman, was traded to the Mets during the weekend for an unbelievably cheap price. The Mets also kind of ruled out trading Noah Syndergaard to Minnesota when they asked for Byron Buxton in return, as reported by Star Tribune’s La Velle E. Neal III. In his opinion, “the Twins seem comfortable with their rotation”. And that probably adds up. I mean - and this is an honest question - who do you see in the league now that would represent a considerable leap in quality for the Twins rotation? Should they spend quality prospects to get players who would produce the same as their current starters?
     
    When talking about the bullpen, things are clearly different when we talk about the club’s needs, but no so different when we talk about availability of options. In my opinion, the best option for Minnesota and for any team, for that matter, would be the Pirates’ Felipe Vásquez. But rumors have it that Pittsburgh is asking too much. Is he worth giving two or three top prospects for you? Besides, the Dodgers seem like frontrunners to acquire him. Kirby Yates also looks like a great fit, but the Padres appear to be in buyers mode, as they have inquired the Mets about bringing in “Thor”.
     
    There are other names who could be pursuited. So far, Sergio Romo is the only addition and Cody Allen is doing work in the minors to try to earn a spot. Neither of them cost the Twins much. Maybe we should be expecting cheap signings like these two instead of big splashes. Maybe they will work. What would you do?
     
    By this time tomorrow we will have our answers. Minnesota has to choose between shopping big and try to win it all this year or just modestly improve an already good team, patiently waiting for years to come and not compromising the long-term future.
  7. Like
    Thiéres Rabelo got a reaction from Blake for a blog entry, Taylor Rogers Deserves to Be an All-Star   
    I think Taylor Rogers may have been the greatest Twin to be snubbed from anything since Joe Mauer didn’t get the 2017 Gold Glove. After earning the longest save from any Twins pitcher since 2000 yesterday against the Rangers (he retired all seven batters he faced) and becoming the pitcher with the most saves of three or more outs for the club this century, he made it clear once again that he’s definitely one of the best relievers in the game.
     
    If you look at the group of relievers that were invited to take part in the Midsummer Classic playing for the American League, it doesn’t seem so absurd that Rogers wasn’t there. Aroldis Chapman, Shane Greene, Brad Hand, Liam Hendriks and Ryan Pressly all have very similar stats, with most of them being better than Rogers’. The only one of them who has a worse ERA than the Twins star (now at 1.82) is Hand (with 2.17). Only Chapman (12.98) and Hand (13.26) are striking out more batters than him (11.57).
     
    So, if you think about it, it’s not absurd that he didn’t make the team. But it wouldn’t be absurd if he did either. He’s being at least as effective as the five of them. But Rogers has one difference which could give him the upperhand in a closer comparison with those pitchers. And I don’t think this angle would ever (or even should) be used to decide who an All Star will be. But it’s nice to look at it and have fun with the realization that the Twins have one of the best arms in the game.
     
    Going straight to the point: Rogers is used in more important situations than those guys and he is more responsible for his team’s wins than any reliever in the AL. Like we saw before, his overall numbers are very similar or even slightly worse than the All Star relievers. But when you look at high leverage situations, none of them are a match for Rogers.
     
     
    Talking about quantity, none of them was used in those situations as much as him. He pitched a total of 14 2/3 innings of high leverage, which currently ranks third in the AL. The AL All Star reliever who comes closest is Hand, who pitched 11 2/3. But the Indians pitcher posts a 6.17, whereas Rogers has a 3.07 ERA. The only AL pitcher who has pitched as many innings (15 1/3) and has a better ERA (2.35) than him is Houston’s Roberto Osuna.
     
     
    No other pitcher in the AL has been more responsible for his team’s wins than Rogers has. Currently, he leads all of them in Win Probability Added (WPA), with 2.56. The second AL pitcher in that rank is Chicago’s Álex Colomé, at 1.86, which is still better than the first of the 2019 All Star relievers, Hendriks, at 1.82. Superstar Yankee closer, Chapman doesn’t have even one third of Rogers’ WPA, standing at 0.62. So, it’s safe to say that it would have been absolutely fair if Rogers was chosen over any of the current AL All Star relievers.
     
     
    But now, I have something else to put up for discussion. Taylor is only 28 and, if he continues to pitch like that, I think nobody would have any objection to making him a Twin for the remainder of his career. So I should ask your opinion. Where in Twins history do you think Rogers could end up ranking at the end of his career? Does he have a shot at one day becoming one of the best relievers in club history?
     
     
    Well, to start, I did a quick research, using Fangraphs’ Splits Leaderboard tool. Currently, Taylor has a 1.82 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and is striking out 11.57 batters per nine. The season is only at its midpoint and these numbers could very well get worse. But, if the season ended today, this would be only the second time in Twins history that a reliever has up to 1.82 ERA, over 11 strikeouts per nine and a WHIP of 0.98 or lower. The only other time that happened was in 2006, when Joe Nathan posted 1.58 ERA, 0.79 WHIP and struck out 12.5 batters per nine. Let me repeat myself: that only happened one other time in club history.
     
     
    Nathan is the consensual choice any time someone asks who is the best reliever in Twins history. But interestingly enough, when you compare Rogers’ current career numbers and Nathan’s when he was 28, it gets scary. By the end of the 2002 season, when Nathan was still with the Giants, he had only one career save and -0.52 WPA. Rogers earned against the Rangers this Saturday his 14th career save and holds a 6.69 career WPA, which already ranks fourth in club history. Nathan has the lead with 24.55, but he didn’t throw a single pitch in a Twins uniform before he was 29.
     
     
    Another angle through which we can also speculate that Rogers can surpass Nathan in the competition for best reliever in Twins history are their Fangraphs’ Wins Above Replacement (fWAR). Rogers currently is currently worth 4.2 career fWAR, at age 28, in his fourth year as a Major League pitcher. At age 28, Nathan was worth -0.4 and after his fourth season in the Majors he was worth 0.8.
     
     
    So everytime this Colorado kid comes up to the mound this year, Twins fans should be extra grateful for the opportunity. Chances are we might be witnessing one of the greatest pitchers to ever play for Minnesota. Too bad All Star game won’t have this opportunity this year.
  8. Like
    Thiéres Rabelo got a reaction from tarheeltwinsfan for a blog entry, Taylor Rogers Deserves to Be an All-Star   
    I think Taylor Rogers may have been the greatest Twin to be snubbed from anything since Joe Mauer didn’t get the 2017 Gold Glove. After earning the longest save from any Twins pitcher since 2000 yesterday against the Rangers (he retired all seven batters he faced) and becoming the pitcher with the most saves of three or more outs for the club this century, he made it clear once again that he’s definitely one of the best relievers in the game.
     
    If you look at the group of relievers that were invited to take part in the Midsummer Classic playing for the American League, it doesn’t seem so absurd that Rogers wasn’t there. Aroldis Chapman, Shane Greene, Brad Hand, Liam Hendriks and Ryan Pressly all have very similar stats, with most of them being better than Rogers’. The only one of them who has a worse ERA than the Twins star (now at 1.82) is Hand (with 2.17). Only Chapman (12.98) and Hand (13.26) are striking out more batters than him (11.57).
     
    So, if you think about it, it’s not absurd that he didn’t make the team. But it wouldn’t be absurd if he did either. He’s being at least as effective as the five of them. But Rogers has one difference which could give him the upperhand in a closer comparison with those pitchers. And I don’t think this angle would ever (or even should) be used to decide who an All Star will be. But it’s nice to look at it and have fun with the realization that the Twins have one of the best arms in the game.
     
    Going straight to the point: Rogers is used in more important situations than those guys and he is more responsible for his team’s wins than any reliever in the AL. Like we saw before, his overall numbers are very similar or even slightly worse than the All Star relievers. But when you look at high leverage situations, none of them are a match for Rogers.
     
     
    Talking about quantity, none of them was used in those situations as much as him. He pitched a total of 14 2/3 innings of high leverage, which currently ranks third in the AL. The AL All Star reliever who comes closest is Hand, who pitched 11 2/3. But the Indians pitcher posts a 6.17, whereas Rogers has a 3.07 ERA. The only AL pitcher who has pitched as many innings (15 1/3) and has a better ERA (2.35) than him is Houston’s Roberto Osuna.
     
     
    No other pitcher in the AL has been more responsible for his team’s wins than Rogers has. Currently, he leads all of them in Win Probability Added (WPA), with 2.56. The second AL pitcher in that rank is Chicago’s Álex Colomé, at 1.86, which is still better than the first of the 2019 All Star relievers, Hendriks, at 1.82. Superstar Yankee closer, Chapman doesn’t have even one third of Rogers’ WPA, standing at 0.62. So, it’s safe to say that it would have been absolutely fair if Rogers was chosen over any of the current AL All Star relievers.
     
     
    But now, I have something else to put up for discussion. Taylor is only 28 and, if he continues to pitch like that, I think nobody would have any objection to making him a Twin for the remainder of his career. So I should ask your opinion. Where in Twins history do you think Rogers could end up ranking at the end of his career? Does he have a shot at one day becoming one of the best relievers in club history?
     
     
    Well, to start, I did a quick research, using Fangraphs’ Splits Leaderboard tool. Currently, Taylor has a 1.82 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and is striking out 11.57 batters per nine. The season is only at its midpoint and these numbers could very well get worse. But, if the season ended today, this would be only the second time in Twins history that a reliever has up to 1.82 ERA, over 11 strikeouts per nine and a WHIP of 0.98 or lower. The only other time that happened was in 2006, when Joe Nathan posted 1.58 ERA, 0.79 WHIP and struck out 12.5 batters per nine. Let me repeat myself: that only happened one other time in club history.
     
     
    Nathan is the consensual choice any time someone asks who is the best reliever in Twins history. But interestingly enough, when you compare Rogers’ current career numbers and Nathan’s when he was 28, it gets scary. By the end of the 2002 season, when Nathan was still with the Giants, he had only one career save and -0.52 WPA. Rogers earned against the Rangers this Saturday his 14th career save and holds a 6.69 career WPA, which already ranks fourth in club history. Nathan has the lead with 24.55, but he didn’t throw a single pitch in a Twins uniform before he was 29.
     
     
    Another angle through which we can also speculate that Rogers can surpass Nathan in the competition for best reliever in Twins history are their Fangraphs’ Wins Above Replacement (fWAR). Rogers currently is currently worth 4.2 career fWAR, at age 28, in his fourth year as a Major League pitcher. At age 28, Nathan was worth -0.4 and after his fourth season in the Majors he was worth 0.8.
     
     
    So everytime this Colorado kid comes up to the mound this year, Twins fans should be extra grateful for the opportunity. Chances are we might be witnessing one of the greatest pitchers to ever play for Minnesota. Too bad All Star game won’t have this opportunity this year.
  9. Like
    Thiéres Rabelo got a reaction from jz7233 for a blog entry, Taylor Rogers Deserves to Be an All-Star   
    I think Taylor Rogers may have been the greatest Twin to be snubbed from anything since Joe Mauer didn’t get the 2017 Gold Glove. After earning the longest save from any Twins pitcher since 2000 yesterday against the Rangers (he retired all seven batters he faced) and becoming the pitcher with the most saves of three or more outs for the club this century, he made it clear once again that he’s definitely one of the best relievers in the game.
     
    If you look at the group of relievers that were invited to take part in the Midsummer Classic playing for the American League, it doesn’t seem so absurd that Rogers wasn’t there. Aroldis Chapman, Shane Greene, Brad Hand, Liam Hendriks and Ryan Pressly all have very similar stats, with most of them being better than Rogers’. The only one of them who has a worse ERA than the Twins star (now at 1.82) is Hand (with 2.17). Only Chapman (12.98) and Hand (13.26) are striking out more batters than him (11.57).
     
    So, if you think about it, it’s not absurd that he didn’t make the team. But it wouldn’t be absurd if he did either. He’s being at least as effective as the five of them. But Rogers has one difference which could give him the upperhand in a closer comparison with those pitchers. And I don’t think this angle would ever (or even should) be used to decide who an All Star will be. But it’s nice to look at it and have fun with the realization that the Twins have one of the best arms in the game.
     
    Going straight to the point: Rogers is used in more important situations than those guys and he is more responsible for his team’s wins than any reliever in the AL. Like we saw before, his overall numbers are very similar or even slightly worse than the All Star relievers. But when you look at high leverage situations, none of them are a match for Rogers.
     
     
    Talking about quantity, none of them was used in those situations as much as him. He pitched a total of 14 2/3 innings of high leverage, which currently ranks third in the AL. The AL All Star reliever who comes closest is Hand, who pitched 11 2/3. But the Indians pitcher posts a 6.17, whereas Rogers has a 3.07 ERA. The only AL pitcher who has pitched as many innings (15 1/3) and has a better ERA (2.35) than him is Houston’s Roberto Osuna.
     
     
    No other pitcher in the AL has been more responsible for his team’s wins than Rogers has. Currently, he leads all of them in Win Probability Added (WPA), with 2.56. The second AL pitcher in that rank is Chicago’s Álex Colomé, at 1.86, which is still better than the first of the 2019 All Star relievers, Hendriks, at 1.82. Superstar Yankee closer, Chapman doesn’t have even one third of Rogers’ WPA, standing at 0.62. So, it’s safe to say that it would have been absolutely fair if Rogers was chosen over any of the current AL All Star relievers.
     
     
    But now, I have something else to put up for discussion. Taylor is only 28 and, if he continues to pitch like that, I think nobody would have any objection to making him a Twin for the remainder of his career. So I should ask your opinion. Where in Twins history do you think Rogers could end up ranking at the end of his career? Does he have a shot at one day becoming one of the best relievers in club history?
     
     
    Well, to start, I did a quick research, using Fangraphs’ Splits Leaderboard tool. Currently, Taylor has a 1.82 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and is striking out 11.57 batters per nine. The season is only at its midpoint and these numbers could very well get worse. But, if the season ended today, this would be only the second time in Twins history that a reliever has up to 1.82 ERA, over 11 strikeouts per nine and a WHIP of 0.98 or lower. The only other time that happened was in 2006, when Joe Nathan posted 1.58 ERA, 0.79 WHIP and struck out 12.5 batters per nine. Let me repeat myself: that only happened one other time in club history.
     
     
    Nathan is the consensual choice any time someone asks who is the best reliever in Twins history. But interestingly enough, when you compare Rogers’ current career numbers and Nathan’s when he was 28, it gets scary. By the end of the 2002 season, when Nathan was still with the Giants, he had only one career save and -0.52 WPA. Rogers earned against the Rangers this Saturday his 14th career save and holds a 6.69 career WPA, which already ranks fourth in club history. Nathan has the lead with 24.55, but he didn’t throw a single pitch in a Twins uniform before he was 29.
     
     
    Another angle through which we can also speculate that Rogers can surpass Nathan in the competition for best reliever in Twins history are their Fangraphs’ Wins Above Replacement (fWAR). Rogers currently is currently worth 4.2 career fWAR, at age 28, in his fourth year as a Major League pitcher. At age 28, Nathan was worth -0.4 and after his fourth season in the Majors he was worth 0.8.
     
     
    So everytime this Colorado kid comes up to the mound this year, Twins fans should be extra grateful for the opportunity. Chances are we might be witnessing one of the greatest pitchers to ever play for Minnesota. Too bad All Star game won’t have this opportunity this year.
  10. Like
    Thiéres Rabelo got a reaction from Danchat for a blog entry, Taylor Rogers Deserves to Be an All-Star   
    I think Taylor Rogers may have been the greatest Twin to be snubbed from anything since Joe Mauer didn’t get the 2017 Gold Glove. After earning the longest save from any Twins pitcher since 2000 yesterday against the Rangers (he retired all seven batters he faced) and becoming the pitcher with the most saves of three or more outs for the club this century, he made it clear once again that he’s definitely one of the best relievers in the game.
     
    If you look at the group of relievers that were invited to take part in the Midsummer Classic playing for the American League, it doesn’t seem so absurd that Rogers wasn’t there. Aroldis Chapman, Shane Greene, Brad Hand, Liam Hendriks and Ryan Pressly all have very similar stats, with most of them being better than Rogers’. The only one of them who has a worse ERA than the Twins star (now at 1.82) is Hand (with 2.17). Only Chapman (12.98) and Hand (13.26) are striking out more batters than him (11.57).
     
    So, if you think about it, it’s not absurd that he didn’t make the team. But it wouldn’t be absurd if he did either. He’s being at least as effective as the five of them. But Rogers has one difference which could give him the upperhand in a closer comparison with those pitchers. And I don’t think this angle would ever (or even should) be used to decide who an All Star will be. But it’s nice to look at it and have fun with the realization that the Twins have one of the best arms in the game.
     
    Going straight to the point: Rogers is used in more important situations than those guys and he is more responsible for his team’s wins than any reliever in the AL. Like we saw before, his overall numbers are very similar or even slightly worse than the All Star relievers. But when you look at high leverage situations, none of them are a match for Rogers.
     
     
    Talking about quantity, none of them was used in those situations as much as him. He pitched a total of 14 2/3 innings of high leverage, which currently ranks third in the AL. The AL All Star reliever who comes closest is Hand, who pitched 11 2/3. But the Indians pitcher posts a 6.17, whereas Rogers has a 3.07 ERA. The only AL pitcher who has pitched as many innings (15 1/3) and has a better ERA (2.35) than him is Houston’s Roberto Osuna.
     
     
    No other pitcher in the AL has been more responsible for his team’s wins than Rogers has. Currently, he leads all of them in Win Probability Added (WPA), with 2.56. The second AL pitcher in that rank is Chicago’s Álex Colomé, at 1.86, which is still better than the first of the 2019 All Star relievers, Hendriks, at 1.82. Superstar Yankee closer, Chapman doesn’t have even one third of Rogers’ WPA, standing at 0.62. So, it’s safe to say that it would have been absolutely fair if Rogers was chosen over any of the current AL All Star relievers.
     
     
    But now, I have something else to put up for discussion. Taylor is only 28 and, if he continues to pitch like that, I think nobody would have any objection to making him a Twin for the remainder of his career. So I should ask your opinion. Where in Twins history do you think Rogers could end up ranking at the end of his career? Does he have a shot at one day becoming one of the best relievers in club history?
     
     
    Well, to start, I did a quick research, using Fangraphs’ Splits Leaderboard tool. Currently, Taylor has a 1.82 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and is striking out 11.57 batters per nine. The season is only at its midpoint and these numbers could very well get worse. But, if the season ended today, this would be only the second time in Twins history that a reliever has up to 1.82 ERA, over 11 strikeouts per nine and a WHIP of 0.98 or lower. The only other time that happened was in 2006, when Joe Nathan posted 1.58 ERA, 0.79 WHIP and struck out 12.5 batters per nine. Let me repeat myself: that only happened one other time in club history.
     
     
    Nathan is the consensual choice any time someone asks who is the best reliever in Twins history. But interestingly enough, when you compare Rogers’ current career numbers and Nathan’s when he was 28, it gets scary. By the end of the 2002 season, when Nathan was still with the Giants, he had only one career save and -0.52 WPA. Rogers earned against the Rangers this Saturday his 14th career save and holds a 6.69 career WPA, which already ranks fourth in club history. Nathan has the lead with 24.55, but he didn’t throw a single pitch in a Twins uniform before he was 29.
     
     
    Another angle through which we can also speculate that Rogers can surpass Nathan in the competition for best reliever in Twins history are their Fangraphs’ Wins Above Replacement (fWAR). Rogers currently is currently worth 4.2 career fWAR, at age 28, in his fourth year as a Major League pitcher. At age 28, Nathan was worth -0.4 and after his fourth season in the Majors he was worth 0.8.
     
     
    So everytime this Colorado kid comes up to the mound this year, Twins fans should be extra grateful for the opportunity. Chances are we might be witnessing one of the greatest pitchers to ever play for Minnesota. Too bad All Star game won’t have this opportunity this year.
  11. Like
    Thiéres Rabelo got a reaction from stringer bell for a blog entry, Taylor Rogers Deserves to Be an All-Star   
    I think Taylor Rogers may have been the greatest Twin to be snubbed from anything since Joe Mauer didn’t get the 2017 Gold Glove. After earning the longest save from any Twins pitcher since 2000 yesterday against the Rangers (he retired all seven batters he faced) and becoming the pitcher with the most saves of three or more outs for the club this century, he made it clear once again that he’s definitely one of the best relievers in the game.
     
    If you look at the group of relievers that were invited to take part in the Midsummer Classic playing for the American League, it doesn’t seem so absurd that Rogers wasn’t there. Aroldis Chapman, Shane Greene, Brad Hand, Liam Hendriks and Ryan Pressly all have very similar stats, with most of them being better than Rogers’. The only one of them who has a worse ERA than the Twins star (now at 1.82) is Hand (with 2.17). Only Chapman (12.98) and Hand (13.26) are striking out more batters than him (11.57).
     
    So, if you think about it, it’s not absurd that he didn’t make the team. But it wouldn’t be absurd if he did either. He’s being at least as effective as the five of them. But Rogers has one difference which could give him the upperhand in a closer comparison with those pitchers. And I don’t think this angle would ever (or even should) be used to decide who an All Star will be. But it’s nice to look at it and have fun with the realization that the Twins have one of the best arms in the game.
     
    Going straight to the point: Rogers is used in more important situations than those guys and he is more responsible for his team’s wins than any reliever in the AL. Like we saw before, his overall numbers are very similar or even slightly worse than the All Star relievers. But when you look at high leverage situations, none of them are a match for Rogers.
     
     
    Talking about quantity, none of them was used in those situations as much as him. He pitched a total of 14 2/3 innings of high leverage, which currently ranks third in the AL. The AL All Star reliever who comes closest is Hand, who pitched 11 2/3. But the Indians pitcher posts a 6.17, whereas Rogers has a 3.07 ERA. The only AL pitcher who has pitched as many innings (15 1/3) and has a better ERA (2.35) than him is Houston’s Roberto Osuna.
     
     
    No other pitcher in the AL has been more responsible for his team’s wins than Rogers has. Currently, he leads all of them in Win Probability Added (WPA), with 2.56. The second AL pitcher in that rank is Chicago’s Álex Colomé, at 1.86, which is still better than the first of the 2019 All Star relievers, Hendriks, at 1.82. Superstar Yankee closer, Chapman doesn’t have even one third of Rogers’ WPA, standing at 0.62. So, it’s safe to say that it would have been absolutely fair if Rogers was chosen over any of the current AL All Star relievers.
     
     
    But now, I have something else to put up for discussion. Taylor is only 28 and, if he continues to pitch like that, I think nobody would have any objection to making him a Twin for the remainder of his career. So I should ask your opinion. Where in Twins history do you think Rogers could end up ranking at the end of his career? Does he have a shot at one day becoming one of the best relievers in club history?
     
     
    Well, to start, I did a quick research, using Fangraphs’ Splits Leaderboard tool. Currently, Taylor has a 1.82 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and is striking out 11.57 batters per nine. The season is only at its midpoint and these numbers could very well get worse. But, if the season ended today, this would be only the second time in Twins history that a reliever has up to 1.82 ERA, over 11 strikeouts per nine and a WHIP of 0.98 or lower. The only other time that happened was in 2006, when Joe Nathan posted 1.58 ERA, 0.79 WHIP and struck out 12.5 batters per nine. Let me repeat myself: that only happened one other time in club history.
     
     
    Nathan is the consensual choice any time someone asks who is the best reliever in Twins history. But interestingly enough, when you compare Rogers’ current career numbers and Nathan’s when he was 28, it gets scary. By the end of the 2002 season, when Nathan was still with the Giants, he had only one career save and -0.52 WPA. Rogers earned against the Rangers this Saturday his 14th career save and holds a 6.69 career WPA, which already ranks fourth in club history. Nathan has the lead with 24.55, but he didn’t throw a single pitch in a Twins uniform before he was 29.
     
     
    Another angle through which we can also speculate that Rogers can surpass Nathan in the competition for best reliever in Twins history are their Fangraphs’ Wins Above Replacement (fWAR). Rogers currently is currently worth 4.2 career fWAR, at age 28, in his fourth year as a Major League pitcher. At age 28, Nathan was worth -0.4 and after his fourth season in the Majors he was worth 0.8.
     
     
    So everytime this Colorado kid comes up to the mound this year, Twins fans should be extra grateful for the opportunity. Chances are we might be witnessing one of the greatest pitchers to ever play for Minnesota. Too bad All Star game won’t have this opportunity this year.
  12. Like
    Thiéres Rabelo got a reaction from SarasotaBill for a blog entry, Taylor Rogers Deserves to Be an All-Star   
    I think Taylor Rogers may have been the greatest Twin to be snubbed from anything since Joe Mauer didn’t get the 2017 Gold Glove. After earning the longest save from any Twins pitcher since 2000 yesterday against the Rangers (he retired all seven batters he faced) and becoming the pitcher with the most saves of three or more outs for the club this century, he made it clear once again that he’s definitely one of the best relievers in the game.
     
    If you look at the group of relievers that were invited to take part in the Midsummer Classic playing for the American League, it doesn’t seem so absurd that Rogers wasn’t there. Aroldis Chapman, Shane Greene, Brad Hand, Liam Hendriks and Ryan Pressly all have very similar stats, with most of them being better than Rogers’. The only one of them who has a worse ERA than the Twins star (now at 1.82) is Hand (with 2.17). Only Chapman (12.98) and Hand (13.26) are striking out more batters than him (11.57).
     
    So, if you think about it, it’s not absurd that he didn’t make the team. But it wouldn’t be absurd if he did either. He’s being at least as effective as the five of them. But Rogers has one difference which could give him the upperhand in a closer comparison with those pitchers. And I don’t think this angle would ever (or even should) be used to decide who an All Star will be. But it’s nice to look at it and have fun with the realization that the Twins have one of the best arms in the game.
     
    Going straight to the point: Rogers is used in more important situations than those guys and he is more responsible for his team’s wins than any reliever in the AL. Like we saw before, his overall numbers are very similar or even slightly worse than the All Star relievers. But when you look at high leverage situations, none of them are a match for Rogers.
     
     
    Talking about quantity, none of them was used in those situations as much as him. He pitched a total of 14 2/3 innings of high leverage, which currently ranks third in the AL. The AL All Star reliever who comes closest is Hand, who pitched 11 2/3. But the Indians pitcher posts a 6.17, whereas Rogers has a 3.07 ERA. The only AL pitcher who has pitched as many innings (15 1/3) and has a better ERA (2.35) than him is Houston’s Roberto Osuna.
     
     
    No other pitcher in the AL has been more responsible for his team’s wins than Rogers has. Currently, he leads all of them in Win Probability Added (WPA), with 2.56. The second AL pitcher in that rank is Chicago’s Álex Colomé, at 1.86, which is still better than the first of the 2019 All Star relievers, Hendriks, at 1.82. Superstar Yankee closer, Chapman doesn’t have even one third of Rogers’ WPA, standing at 0.62. So, it’s safe to say that it would have been absolutely fair if Rogers was chosen over any of the current AL All Star relievers.
     
     
    But now, I have something else to put up for discussion. Taylor is only 28 and, if he continues to pitch like that, I think nobody would have any objection to making him a Twin for the remainder of his career. So I should ask your opinion. Where in Twins history do you think Rogers could end up ranking at the end of his career? Does he have a shot at one day becoming one of the best relievers in club history?
     
     
    Well, to start, I did a quick research, using Fangraphs’ Splits Leaderboard tool. Currently, Taylor has a 1.82 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and is striking out 11.57 batters per nine. The season is only at its midpoint and these numbers could very well get worse. But, if the season ended today, this would be only the second time in Twins history that a reliever has up to 1.82 ERA, over 11 strikeouts per nine and a WHIP of 0.98 or lower. The only other time that happened was in 2006, when Joe Nathan posted 1.58 ERA, 0.79 WHIP and struck out 12.5 batters per nine. Let me repeat myself: that only happened one other time in club history.
     
     
    Nathan is the consensual choice any time someone asks who is the best reliever in Twins history. But interestingly enough, when you compare Rogers’ current career numbers and Nathan’s when he was 28, it gets scary. By the end of the 2002 season, when Nathan was still with the Giants, he had only one career save and -0.52 WPA. Rogers earned against the Rangers this Saturday his 14th career save and holds a 6.69 career WPA, which already ranks fourth in club history. Nathan has the lead with 24.55, but he didn’t throw a single pitch in a Twins uniform before he was 29.
     
     
    Another angle through which we can also speculate that Rogers can surpass Nathan in the competition for best reliever in Twins history are their Fangraphs’ Wins Above Replacement (fWAR). Rogers currently is currently worth 4.2 career fWAR, at age 28, in his fourth year as a Major League pitcher. At age 28, Nathan was worth -0.4 and after his fourth season in the Majors he was worth 0.8.
     
     
    So everytime this Colorado kid comes up to the mound this year, Twins fans should be extra grateful for the opportunity. Chances are we might be witnessing one of the greatest pitchers to ever play for Minnesota. Too bad All Star game won’t have this opportunity this year.
  13. Like
    Thiéres Rabelo got a reaction from nclahammer for a blog entry, Taylor Rogers Deserves to Be an All-Star   
    I think Taylor Rogers may have been the greatest Twin to be snubbed from anything since Joe Mauer didn’t get the 2017 Gold Glove. After earning the longest save from any Twins pitcher since 2000 yesterday against the Rangers (he retired all seven batters he faced) and becoming the pitcher with the most saves of three or more outs for the club this century, he made it clear once again that he’s definitely one of the best relievers in the game.
     
    If you look at the group of relievers that were invited to take part in the Midsummer Classic playing for the American League, it doesn’t seem so absurd that Rogers wasn’t there. Aroldis Chapman, Shane Greene, Brad Hand, Liam Hendriks and Ryan Pressly all have very similar stats, with most of them being better than Rogers’. The only one of them who has a worse ERA than the Twins star (now at 1.82) is Hand (with 2.17). Only Chapman (12.98) and Hand (13.26) are striking out more batters than him (11.57).
     
    So, if you think about it, it’s not absurd that he didn’t make the team. But it wouldn’t be absurd if he did either. He’s being at least as effective as the five of them. But Rogers has one difference which could give him the upperhand in a closer comparison with those pitchers. And I don’t think this angle would ever (or even should) be used to decide who an All Star will be. But it’s nice to look at it and have fun with the realization that the Twins have one of the best arms in the game.
     
    Going straight to the point: Rogers is used in more important situations than those guys and he is more responsible for his team’s wins than any reliever in the AL. Like we saw before, his overall numbers are very similar or even slightly worse than the All Star relievers. But when you look at high leverage situations, none of them are a match for Rogers.
     
     
    Talking about quantity, none of them was used in those situations as much as him. He pitched a total of 14 2/3 innings of high leverage, which currently ranks third in the AL. The AL All Star reliever who comes closest is Hand, who pitched 11 2/3. But the Indians pitcher posts a 6.17, whereas Rogers has a 3.07 ERA. The only AL pitcher who has pitched as many innings (15 1/3) and has a better ERA (2.35) than him is Houston’s Roberto Osuna.
     
     
    No other pitcher in the AL has been more responsible for his team’s wins than Rogers has. Currently, he leads all of them in Win Probability Added (WPA), with 2.56. The second AL pitcher in that rank is Chicago’s Álex Colomé, at 1.86, which is still better than the first of the 2019 All Star relievers, Hendriks, at 1.82. Superstar Yankee closer, Chapman doesn’t have even one third of Rogers’ WPA, standing at 0.62. So, it’s safe to say that it would have been absolutely fair if Rogers was chosen over any of the current AL All Star relievers.
     
     
    But now, I have something else to put up for discussion. Taylor is only 28 and, if he continues to pitch like that, I think nobody would have any objection to making him a Twin for the remainder of his career. So I should ask your opinion. Where in Twins history do you think Rogers could end up ranking at the end of his career? Does he have a shot at one day becoming one of the best relievers in club history?
     
     
    Well, to start, I did a quick research, using Fangraphs’ Splits Leaderboard tool. Currently, Taylor has a 1.82 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and is striking out 11.57 batters per nine. The season is only at its midpoint and these numbers could very well get worse. But, if the season ended today, this would be only the second time in Twins history that a reliever has up to 1.82 ERA, over 11 strikeouts per nine and a WHIP of 0.98 or lower. The only other time that happened was in 2006, when Joe Nathan posted 1.58 ERA, 0.79 WHIP and struck out 12.5 batters per nine. Let me repeat myself: that only happened one other time in club history.
     
     
    Nathan is the consensual choice any time someone asks who is the best reliever in Twins history. But interestingly enough, when you compare Rogers’ current career numbers and Nathan’s when he was 28, it gets scary. By the end of the 2002 season, when Nathan was still with the Giants, he had only one career save and -0.52 WPA. Rogers earned against the Rangers this Saturday his 14th career save and holds a 6.69 career WPA, which already ranks fourth in club history. Nathan has the lead with 24.55, but he didn’t throw a single pitch in a Twins uniform before he was 29.
     
     
    Another angle through which we can also speculate that Rogers can surpass Nathan in the competition for best reliever in Twins history are their Fangraphs’ Wins Above Replacement (fWAR). Rogers currently is currently worth 4.2 career fWAR, at age 28, in his fourth year as a Major League pitcher. At age 28, Nathan was worth -0.4 and after his fourth season in the Majors he was worth 0.8.
     
     
    So everytime this Colorado kid comes up to the mound this year, Twins fans should be extra grateful for the opportunity. Chances are we might be witnessing one of the greatest pitchers to ever play for Minnesota. Too bad All Star game won’t have this opportunity this year.
  14. Like
    Thiéres Rabelo got a reaction from dbminn for a blog entry, The precious, but unnoticed help of Gonzalez   
    With recent struggles from Twins pitchers, for example, an early season discussion has been brought up this week. Did the Twins address well enough the team’s need during the offseason? Some people sure feel like they didn’t. But one offseason move (out of several others) that we can absolutely tell was right on the money was the Marwin Gonzalez signing.
     
    Having played this season in six different positions throughout the field, while also batting DH and pinch hitting, “Margo” is officially one of the most useful pieces a team could have in the sport. Baseball Essential considered Gonzalez the best super-utility player in the game. He was an invaluable help overall during the first couple of months of the season, filling in for injured Miguel Sanó, starting 52 of the team’s 60 games.
     
    But it took a while for most Twins fans to see Gonzalez as indispensable. He had a horrible first month offensively, batting .167, with a .501 OPS and 34 wRC+ in 23 games. Even though bad starts offensively have always been a part of his career, people started doubting him, on some level. Overall, he holds a .228 AVG, with a .675 OPS in his eight years in the league. Still, even specialists believed he was bound to lose at bats and become the third option to start at third base, once Willians Astudillo was having himself a hot start of the season. The Turtle was batting .327 with an .870 OPS by the end of April, so it was the natural choice then.
     
    But then, things shifted. Since May 1st, he’s batting .304/.376/.500. In that span, only two other players drew more walks than him, who got 11. Also, Gonzalez has been left-handed pitchers’ nightmare, as he’s slashing .378/.425/.541 against them. He completely turned his season around. With 125 PA since the start of May, he’s been the fifth most used player in the offense, with more PA’s than everyday starters Jonathan Schoop and Byron Buxton, for example. He’s become a vital and dependable part of this MLB-best offense.
     
    But that’s not even his biggest contribution. Not only is he doing some damage at the plate lately, but he’s also been playing Gold Glove-caliber defense. Being a bench player, he will never win such award, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s an above average defender. And what’s more impressive about this? He does so in more than one position. Here are some defensive stats.
     
    As a 3B (257.2 innings)
    3 DRS
    1.8 UZR
    .989 FP
    4 DPS
    69 Assists
    21 PO
    1 Error (TE)
     
    Gonzalez' three defensive runs saved would be tied for sixth best in MLB, if he qualified. He has as many as 2018 Gold Glove Award winner Nolan Arenado, who's already played over twice as many innings as him this year. He has saved more runs than players such as old friend Eduardo Escobar, Rafael Devers, Yoan Moncada, Matt Carpenter and José Ramírez, all of which have been on the field for at least 446 1/3 innings. Regarding his UZR, he would also be tied for sixth best in the game, beating names like Evan Longoria and Alex Bregman, the AL runner-up for the Gold Glove award last year.
     
    When looking at his assists amount, he doesn’t rank very high in the league, but, of course, his sample time on the field is much smaller than the average everyday third baseman. If he had had the opportunity to play, say, 400 innings on the field, he would have an equivalent of 107 assists, which would rank him 5th in the league. Had he been there for 500 innings, we would be talking about a league second best 133 assists. But, of course, this is purely hypothetical mathematics.
     
    As an OF (81 innings)
    3 DRS
    0.9 UZR
    .933 FP
    2 Assists
    12 PO
    1 error (FE)
     
    In the outfield, Gonzalez also has a very small sample, which prevent him from competing with the everyday outfielder in the stats department. But, still, you can tell he’s not at all a bad defender there either. He has as many defensive runs saved as Mike Trout does and one more than NL MVP Christian Yelich. So, the Twins signed a player that, if starting regularly in his primary position, would compete for the league’s highest honours in defense. Not too shabby.
     
    Far beyond the numbers, by watching Twins game on a daily basis, you can tell what a great defender he is. There hasn’t been a moment in which I’ve felt insecure about Twins defense in the hot corner or wherever “Margo” is on the field.
     
    A lot of things could and should be fixed in the Twins roster. But having Gonzalez in the team guarantees that the bench isn’t one of them. It’s impossible to say for sure if Minnesota would be having the same success that they are having right now if he wasn’t a part of the team, but I imagine things would be much harder. Afterall, he might be the best and most prolific utility player in the game right now.
  15. Like
    Thiéres Rabelo got a reaction from DannySD for a blog entry, The precious, but unnoticed help of Gonzalez   
    With recent struggles from Twins pitchers, for example, an early season discussion has been brought up this week. Did the Twins address well enough the team’s need during the offseason? Some people sure feel like they didn’t. But one offseason move (out of several others) that we can absolutely tell was right on the money was the Marwin Gonzalez signing.
     
    Having played this season in six different positions throughout the field, while also batting DH and pinch hitting, “Margo” is officially one of the most useful pieces a team could have in the sport. Baseball Essential considered Gonzalez the best super-utility player in the game. He was an invaluable help overall during the first couple of months of the season, filling in for injured Miguel Sanó, starting 52 of the team’s 60 games.
     
    But it took a while for most Twins fans to see Gonzalez as indispensable. He had a horrible first month offensively, batting .167, with a .501 OPS and 34 wRC+ in 23 games. Even though bad starts offensively have always been a part of his career, people started doubting him, on some level. Overall, he holds a .228 AVG, with a .675 OPS in his eight years in the league. Still, even specialists believed he was bound to lose at bats and become the third option to start at third base, once Willians Astudillo was having himself a hot start of the season. The Turtle was batting .327 with an .870 OPS by the end of April, so it was the natural choice then.
     
    But then, things shifted. Since May 1st, he’s batting .304/.376/.500. In that span, only two other players drew more walks than him, who got 11. Also, Gonzalez has been left-handed pitchers’ nightmare, as he’s slashing .378/.425/.541 against them. He completely turned his season around. With 125 PA since the start of May, he’s been the fifth most used player in the offense, with more PA’s than everyday starters Jonathan Schoop and Byron Buxton, for example. He’s become a vital and dependable part of this MLB-best offense.
     
    But that’s not even his biggest contribution. Not only is he doing some damage at the plate lately, but he’s also been playing Gold Glove-caliber defense. Being a bench player, he will never win such award, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s an above average defender. And what’s more impressive about this? He does so in more than one position. Here are some defensive stats.
     
    As a 3B (257.2 innings)
    3 DRS
    1.8 UZR
    .989 FP
    4 DPS
    69 Assists
    21 PO
    1 Error (TE)
     
    Gonzalez' three defensive runs saved would be tied for sixth best in MLB, if he qualified. He has as many as 2018 Gold Glove Award winner Nolan Arenado, who's already played over twice as many innings as him this year. He has saved more runs than players such as old friend Eduardo Escobar, Rafael Devers, Yoan Moncada, Matt Carpenter and José Ramírez, all of which have been on the field for at least 446 1/3 innings. Regarding his UZR, he would also be tied for sixth best in the game, beating names like Evan Longoria and Alex Bregman, the AL runner-up for the Gold Glove award last year.
     
    When looking at his assists amount, he doesn’t rank very high in the league, but, of course, his sample time on the field is much smaller than the average everyday third baseman. If he had had the opportunity to play, say, 400 innings on the field, he would have an equivalent of 107 assists, which would rank him 5th in the league. Had he been there for 500 innings, we would be talking about a league second best 133 assists. But, of course, this is purely hypothetical mathematics.
     
    As an OF (81 innings)
    3 DRS
    0.9 UZR
    .933 FP
    2 Assists
    12 PO
    1 error (FE)
     
    In the outfield, Gonzalez also has a very small sample, which prevent him from competing with the everyday outfielder in the stats department. But, still, you can tell he’s not at all a bad defender there either. He has as many defensive runs saved as Mike Trout does and one more than NL MVP Christian Yelich. So, the Twins signed a player that, if starting regularly in his primary position, would compete for the league’s highest honours in defense. Not too shabby.
     
    Far beyond the numbers, by watching Twins game on a daily basis, you can tell what a great defender he is. There hasn’t been a moment in which I’ve felt insecure about Twins defense in the hot corner or wherever “Margo” is on the field.
     
    A lot of things could and should be fixed in the Twins roster. But having Gonzalez in the team guarantees that the bench isn’t one of them. It’s impossible to say for sure if Minnesota would be having the same success that they are having right now if he wasn’t a part of the team, but I imagine things would be much harder. Afterall, he might be the best and most prolific utility player in the game right now.
  16. Like
    Thiéres Rabelo got a reaction from tarheeltwinsfan for a blog entry, The precious, but unnoticed help of Gonzalez   
    With recent struggles from Twins pitchers, for example, an early season discussion has been brought up this week. Did the Twins address well enough the team’s need during the offseason? Some people sure feel like they didn’t. But one offseason move (out of several others) that we can absolutely tell was right on the money was the Marwin Gonzalez signing.
     
    Having played this season in six different positions throughout the field, while also batting DH and pinch hitting, “Margo” is officially one of the most useful pieces a team could have in the sport. Baseball Essential considered Gonzalez the best super-utility player in the game. He was an invaluable help overall during the first couple of months of the season, filling in for injured Miguel Sanó, starting 52 of the team’s 60 games.
     
    But it took a while for most Twins fans to see Gonzalez as indispensable. He had a horrible first month offensively, batting .167, with a .501 OPS and 34 wRC+ in 23 games. Even though bad starts offensively have always been a part of his career, people started doubting him, on some level. Overall, he holds a .228 AVG, with a .675 OPS in his eight years in the league. Still, even specialists believed he was bound to lose at bats and become the third option to start at third base, once Willians Astudillo was having himself a hot start of the season. The Turtle was batting .327 with an .870 OPS by the end of April, so it was the natural choice then.
     
    But then, things shifted. Since May 1st, he’s batting .304/.376/.500. In that span, only two other players drew more walks than him, who got 11. Also, Gonzalez has been left-handed pitchers’ nightmare, as he’s slashing .378/.425/.541 against them. He completely turned his season around. With 125 PA since the start of May, he’s been the fifth most used player in the offense, with more PA’s than everyday starters Jonathan Schoop and Byron Buxton, for example. He’s become a vital and dependable part of this MLB-best offense.
     
    But that’s not even his biggest contribution. Not only is he doing some damage at the plate lately, but he’s also been playing Gold Glove-caliber defense. Being a bench player, he will never win such award, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s an above average defender. And what’s more impressive about this? He does so in more than one position. Here are some defensive stats.
     
    As a 3B (257.2 innings)
    3 DRS
    1.8 UZR
    .989 FP
    4 DPS
    69 Assists
    21 PO
    1 Error (TE)
     
    Gonzalez' three defensive runs saved would be tied for sixth best in MLB, if he qualified. He has as many as 2018 Gold Glove Award winner Nolan Arenado, who's already played over twice as many innings as him this year. He has saved more runs than players such as old friend Eduardo Escobar, Rafael Devers, Yoan Moncada, Matt Carpenter and José Ramírez, all of which have been on the field for at least 446 1/3 innings. Regarding his UZR, he would also be tied for sixth best in the game, beating names like Evan Longoria and Alex Bregman, the AL runner-up for the Gold Glove award last year.
     
    When looking at his assists amount, he doesn’t rank very high in the league, but, of course, his sample time on the field is much smaller than the average everyday third baseman. If he had had the opportunity to play, say, 400 innings on the field, he would have an equivalent of 107 assists, which would rank him 5th in the league. Had he been there for 500 innings, we would be talking about a league second best 133 assists. But, of course, this is purely hypothetical mathematics.
     
    As an OF (81 innings)
    3 DRS
    0.9 UZR
    .933 FP
    2 Assists
    12 PO
    1 error (FE)
     
    In the outfield, Gonzalez also has a very small sample, which prevent him from competing with the everyday outfielder in the stats department. But, still, you can tell he’s not at all a bad defender there either. He has as many defensive runs saved as Mike Trout does and one more than NL MVP Christian Yelich. So, the Twins signed a player that, if starting regularly in his primary position, would compete for the league’s highest honours in defense. Not too shabby.
     
    Far beyond the numbers, by watching Twins game on a daily basis, you can tell what a great defender he is. There hasn’t been a moment in which I’ve felt insecure about Twins defense in the hot corner or wherever “Margo” is on the field.
     
    A lot of things could and should be fixed in the Twins roster. But having Gonzalez in the team guarantees that the bench isn’t one of them. It’s impossible to say for sure if Minnesota would be having the same success that they are having right now if he wasn’t a part of the team, but I imagine things would be much harder. Afterall, he might be the best and most prolific utility player in the game right now.
  17. Like
    Thiéres Rabelo got a reaction from woolywoolhouse for a blog entry, The precious, but unnoticed help of Gonzalez   
    With recent struggles from Twins pitchers, for example, an early season discussion has been brought up this week. Did the Twins address well enough the team’s need during the offseason? Some people sure feel like they didn’t. But one offseason move (out of several others) that we can absolutely tell was right on the money was the Marwin Gonzalez signing.
     
    Having played this season in six different positions throughout the field, while also batting DH and pinch hitting, “Margo” is officially one of the most useful pieces a team could have in the sport. Baseball Essential considered Gonzalez the best super-utility player in the game. He was an invaluable help overall during the first couple of months of the season, filling in for injured Miguel Sanó, starting 52 of the team’s 60 games.
     
    But it took a while for most Twins fans to see Gonzalez as indispensable. He had a horrible first month offensively, batting .167, with a .501 OPS and 34 wRC+ in 23 games. Even though bad starts offensively have always been a part of his career, people started doubting him, on some level. Overall, he holds a .228 AVG, with a .675 OPS in his eight years in the league. Still, even specialists believed he was bound to lose at bats and become the third option to start at third base, once Willians Astudillo was having himself a hot start of the season. The Turtle was batting .327 with an .870 OPS by the end of April, so it was the natural choice then.
     
    But then, things shifted. Since May 1st, he’s batting .304/.376/.500. In that span, only two other players drew more walks than him, who got 11. Also, Gonzalez has been left-handed pitchers’ nightmare, as he’s slashing .378/.425/.541 against them. He completely turned his season around. With 125 PA since the start of May, he’s been the fifth most used player in the offense, with more PA’s than everyday starters Jonathan Schoop and Byron Buxton, for example. He’s become a vital and dependable part of this MLB-best offense.
     
    But that’s not even his biggest contribution. Not only is he doing some damage at the plate lately, but he’s also been playing Gold Glove-caliber defense. Being a bench player, he will never win such award, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s an above average defender. And what’s more impressive about this? He does so in more than one position. Here are some defensive stats.
     
    As a 3B (257.2 innings)
    3 DRS
    1.8 UZR
    .989 FP
    4 DPS
    69 Assists
    21 PO
    1 Error (TE)
     
    Gonzalez' three defensive runs saved would be tied for sixth best in MLB, if he qualified. He has as many as 2018 Gold Glove Award winner Nolan Arenado, who's already played over twice as many innings as him this year. He has saved more runs than players such as old friend Eduardo Escobar, Rafael Devers, Yoan Moncada, Matt Carpenter and José Ramírez, all of which have been on the field for at least 446 1/3 innings. Regarding his UZR, he would also be tied for sixth best in the game, beating names like Evan Longoria and Alex Bregman, the AL runner-up for the Gold Glove award last year.
     
    When looking at his assists amount, he doesn’t rank very high in the league, but, of course, his sample time on the field is much smaller than the average everyday third baseman. If he had had the opportunity to play, say, 400 innings on the field, he would have an equivalent of 107 assists, which would rank him 5th in the league. Had he been there for 500 innings, we would be talking about a league second best 133 assists. But, of course, this is purely hypothetical mathematics.
     
    As an OF (81 innings)
    3 DRS
    0.9 UZR
    .933 FP
    2 Assists
    12 PO
    1 error (FE)
     
    In the outfield, Gonzalez also has a very small sample, which prevent him from competing with the everyday outfielder in the stats department. But, still, you can tell he’s not at all a bad defender there either. He has as many defensive runs saved as Mike Trout does and one more than NL MVP Christian Yelich. So, the Twins signed a player that, if starting regularly in his primary position, would compete for the league’s highest honours in defense. Not too shabby.
     
    Far beyond the numbers, by watching Twins game on a daily basis, you can tell what a great defender he is. There hasn’t been a moment in which I’ve felt insecure about Twins defense in the hot corner or wherever “Margo” is on the field.
     
    A lot of things could and should be fixed in the Twins roster. But having Gonzalez in the team guarantees that the bench isn’t one of them. It’s impossible to say for sure if Minnesota would be having the same success that they are having right now if he wasn’t a part of the team, but I imagine things would be much harder. Afterall, he might be the best and most prolific utility player in the game right now.
  18. Like
    Thiéres Rabelo got a reaction from TwerkTwonkTwins for a blog entry, The precious, but unnoticed help of Gonzalez   
    With recent struggles from Twins pitchers, for example, an early season discussion has been brought up this week. Did the Twins address well enough the team’s need during the offseason? Some people sure feel like they didn’t. But one offseason move (out of several others) that we can absolutely tell was right on the money was the Marwin Gonzalez signing.
     
    Having played this season in six different positions throughout the field, while also batting DH and pinch hitting, “Margo” is officially one of the most useful pieces a team could have in the sport. Baseball Essential considered Gonzalez the best super-utility player in the game. He was an invaluable help overall during the first couple of months of the season, filling in for injured Miguel Sanó, starting 52 of the team’s 60 games.
     
    But it took a while for most Twins fans to see Gonzalez as indispensable. He had a horrible first month offensively, batting .167, with a .501 OPS and 34 wRC+ in 23 games. Even though bad starts offensively have always been a part of his career, people started doubting him, on some level. Overall, he holds a .228 AVG, with a .675 OPS in his eight years in the league. Still, even specialists believed he was bound to lose at bats and become the third option to start at third base, once Willians Astudillo was having himself a hot start of the season. The Turtle was batting .327 with an .870 OPS by the end of April, so it was the natural choice then.
     
    But then, things shifted. Since May 1st, he’s batting .304/.376/.500. In that span, only two other players drew more walks than him, who got 11. Also, Gonzalez has been left-handed pitchers’ nightmare, as he’s slashing .378/.425/.541 against them. He completely turned his season around. With 125 PA since the start of May, he’s been the fifth most used player in the offense, with more PA’s than everyday starters Jonathan Schoop and Byron Buxton, for example. He’s become a vital and dependable part of this MLB-best offense.
     
    But that’s not even his biggest contribution. Not only is he doing some damage at the plate lately, but he’s also been playing Gold Glove-caliber defense. Being a bench player, he will never win such award, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s an above average defender. And what’s more impressive about this? He does so in more than one position. Here are some defensive stats.
     
    As a 3B (257.2 innings)
    3 DRS
    1.8 UZR
    .989 FP
    4 DPS
    69 Assists
    21 PO
    1 Error (TE)
     
    Gonzalez' three defensive runs saved would be tied for sixth best in MLB, if he qualified. He has as many as 2018 Gold Glove Award winner Nolan Arenado, who's already played over twice as many innings as him this year. He has saved more runs than players such as old friend Eduardo Escobar, Rafael Devers, Yoan Moncada, Matt Carpenter and José Ramírez, all of which have been on the field for at least 446 1/3 innings. Regarding his UZR, he would also be tied for sixth best in the game, beating names like Evan Longoria and Alex Bregman, the AL runner-up for the Gold Glove award last year.
     
    When looking at his assists amount, he doesn’t rank very high in the league, but, of course, his sample time on the field is much smaller than the average everyday third baseman. If he had had the opportunity to play, say, 400 innings on the field, he would have an equivalent of 107 assists, which would rank him 5th in the league. Had he been there for 500 innings, we would be talking about a league second best 133 assists. But, of course, this is purely hypothetical mathematics.
     
    As an OF (81 innings)
    3 DRS
    0.9 UZR
    .933 FP
    2 Assists
    12 PO
    1 error (FE)
     
    In the outfield, Gonzalez also has a very small sample, which prevent him from competing with the everyday outfielder in the stats department. But, still, you can tell he’s not at all a bad defender there either. He has as many defensive runs saved as Mike Trout does and one more than NL MVP Christian Yelich. So, the Twins signed a player that, if starting regularly in his primary position, would compete for the league’s highest honours in defense. Not too shabby.
     
    Far beyond the numbers, by watching Twins game on a daily basis, you can tell what a great defender he is. There hasn’t been a moment in which I’ve felt insecure about Twins defense in the hot corner or wherever “Margo” is on the field.
     
    A lot of things could and should be fixed in the Twins roster. But having Gonzalez in the team guarantees that the bench isn’t one of them. It’s impossible to say for sure if Minnesota would be having the same success that they are having right now if he wasn’t a part of the team, but I imagine things would be much harder. Afterall, he might be the best and most prolific utility player in the game right now.
  19. Like
    Thiéres Rabelo got a reaction from Eris for a blog entry, The precious, but unnoticed help of Gonzalez   
    With recent struggles from Twins pitchers, for example, an early season discussion has been brought up this week. Did the Twins address well enough the team’s need during the offseason? Some people sure feel like they didn’t. But one offseason move (out of several others) that we can absolutely tell was right on the money was the Marwin Gonzalez signing.
     
    Having played this season in six different positions throughout the field, while also batting DH and pinch hitting, “Margo” is officially one of the most useful pieces a team could have in the sport. Baseball Essential considered Gonzalez the best super-utility player in the game. He was an invaluable help overall during the first couple of months of the season, filling in for injured Miguel Sanó, starting 52 of the team’s 60 games.
     
    But it took a while for most Twins fans to see Gonzalez as indispensable. He had a horrible first month offensively, batting .167, with a .501 OPS and 34 wRC+ in 23 games. Even though bad starts offensively have always been a part of his career, people started doubting him, on some level. Overall, he holds a .228 AVG, with a .675 OPS in his eight years in the league. Still, even specialists believed he was bound to lose at bats and become the third option to start at third base, once Willians Astudillo was having himself a hot start of the season. The Turtle was batting .327 with an .870 OPS by the end of April, so it was the natural choice then.
     
    But then, things shifted. Since May 1st, he’s batting .304/.376/.500. In that span, only two other players drew more walks than him, who got 11. Also, Gonzalez has been left-handed pitchers’ nightmare, as he’s slashing .378/.425/.541 against them. He completely turned his season around. With 125 PA since the start of May, he’s been the fifth most used player in the offense, with more PA’s than everyday starters Jonathan Schoop and Byron Buxton, for example. He’s become a vital and dependable part of this MLB-best offense.
     
    But that’s not even his biggest contribution. Not only is he doing some damage at the plate lately, but he’s also been playing Gold Glove-caliber defense. Being a bench player, he will never win such award, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s an above average defender. And what’s more impressive about this? He does so in more than one position. Here are some defensive stats.
     
    As a 3B (257.2 innings)
    3 DRS
    1.8 UZR
    .989 FP
    4 DPS
    69 Assists
    21 PO
    1 Error (TE)
     
    Gonzalez' three defensive runs saved would be tied for sixth best in MLB, if he qualified. He has as many as 2018 Gold Glove Award winner Nolan Arenado, who's already played over twice as many innings as him this year. He has saved more runs than players such as old friend Eduardo Escobar, Rafael Devers, Yoan Moncada, Matt Carpenter and José Ramírez, all of which have been on the field for at least 446 1/3 innings. Regarding his UZR, he would also be tied for sixth best in the game, beating names like Evan Longoria and Alex Bregman, the AL runner-up for the Gold Glove award last year.
     
    When looking at his assists amount, he doesn’t rank very high in the league, but, of course, his sample time on the field is much smaller than the average everyday third baseman. If he had had the opportunity to play, say, 400 innings on the field, he would have an equivalent of 107 assists, which would rank him 5th in the league. Had he been there for 500 innings, we would be talking about a league second best 133 assists. But, of course, this is purely hypothetical mathematics.
     
    As an OF (81 innings)
    3 DRS
    0.9 UZR
    .933 FP
    2 Assists
    12 PO
    1 error (FE)
     
    In the outfield, Gonzalez also has a very small sample, which prevent him from competing with the everyday outfielder in the stats department. But, still, you can tell he’s not at all a bad defender there either. He has as many defensive runs saved as Mike Trout does and one more than NL MVP Christian Yelich. So, the Twins signed a player that, if starting regularly in his primary position, would compete for the league’s highest honours in defense. Not too shabby.
     
    Far beyond the numbers, by watching Twins game on a daily basis, you can tell what a great defender he is. There hasn’t been a moment in which I’ve felt insecure about Twins defense in the hot corner or wherever “Margo” is on the field.
     
    A lot of things could and should be fixed in the Twins roster. But having Gonzalez in the team guarantees that the bench isn’t one of them. It’s impossible to say for sure if Minnesota would be having the same success that they are having right now if he wasn’t a part of the team, but I imagine things would be much harder. Afterall, he might be the best and most prolific utility player in the game right now.
  20. Like
    Thiéres Rabelo got a reaction from David HK for a blog entry, Could the Twins be the new 2015 Royals?   
    Even though I'm not a Minnesotan, nor do I live in this beautiful state, I've been observing you guys for years. I see a lot of pessimism when it comes to sports. And who can blame you? Few fans in America love their teams as much as you do and, at the same time, have endured such traumatic playoff moments with the Vikings and Wild or such long playoff draughts with the Twins and Timberwolves. You have the right to be – in the words of our Twins Daily own Parker Hageman – dead inside when it comes to sports. Well, maybe it's time to believe again.
    I don't live in the US and I haven't set foot there since May 2013. I'm from a country where most people literally have no clue of what baseball is. I met the game of baseball in 2008, at age 16. So, it's nearly impossible for me to have access to any publication (or clothing items, memorabilia, sports gear...) about the sport. But, miraculously, one of my students gave me a very special gift some weeks ago.
    Having taken an exchange programme to the USA in 2015, he was hosted by a Kansas City family during his time there. He knows nothing about baseball himself, but his family did and they gave him a Sports Illustrated 2015 World Series Commemorative Issue. He kept that, only to, almost four years later, give that as a present to his all-time favorite teacher. I was thrilled. I almost didn't even care about the fact that the Royals are a Twins division rival. Afterall, it was the first baseball publication I ever laid hands on.
    The magazine sat on my desk at home for some days. In the meantime, the Twins flourished as the team with the best record in baseball. I would be lying if I said I saw that coming, but I can't say I'm shocked by that either. But a lot of people are, indeed, shocked. I lost count of how many people on social media are doubting the Twins. “Enjoy 'em while you can, 'cause they won't last”. And that's not even from people outside of Minnesota only. Like I explained on the first paragraph, many Minnesotans don't believe their Twins are for real. That made me a little mad. And then, the magazine spoke to me.
    In the midst of so much pessimism and disbelief coming from every which way, I started browsing through that $12.99 SI issue from November of 2015 and I thought to myself: why can't the Twins be this year's version of the 2015 Royals? And believe me or not, I found a lot of similarities between the two teams. I'm not saying here that Minnesota will win the World Series. All I'm saying is that it's OK to believe in it – like I do right now.
    Even though we've had our hearts broken by the Brett Favre interception, the Gary Anderson and Blair Walsh missed field goals, the Jimmy Butler fiasco, the Joe Nathan blown save in the '09 ALDS and, well, the whole Wild playoff history, you might not be a fool to let your guard down for this Twins team. If you don't believe me, let us go through some of the things these two great ball clubs have in common.
     
    A couple of underdogs
    When experts started predicting what would happen that season, almost none of them believed the 2015 Royals would even make the playoffs. Which, in retrospect, is kind of odd, considering they had just been to the World Series less than six months earlier. In his opening piece, Jay Jaffe wrote about how the Royals were picked by specialists to make it to the postseason in only 13 of 149 predictions.
    Maybe this year’s Twins are not as much discredited as the Royals were then. Per that year’s PECOTA, Kansas City was expected to have a 72-90 record. Instead, they had a 95-67 one. This year’s PECOTA, at first, predicted an 81-81 record for the Twins, but a number of specialists considered them when predicting which team would win the AL Central.
    A month and a half into the season, with over 25% of games played, Minnesota has the second best in baseball, after holding the best one overall for over a week. The Twins are on pace to win almost 105 games. I don’t actually believe they will reach triple digits in wins, but at this point it’s plausible to believe that they will surpass the 90-win mark. Curiously enough, after 43 games, the 2015 Royals and the current Twins owned an identical record of 28-15.
    Another aspect that those teams have in common is the small Opening Day payroll. On that same Jaffe opening piece, he wrote that the Royals were the first team since the 2003 Marlins to win a World Series, even though they were at the bottom half of all MLB payrolls (17th, at $112.9 million). Per Spotrac, the Twins had the 18th payroll in the league on Opening Day, at $122.1 million, almost $12 million below league average.
    Even their track record leading up to their World Series success is somewhat similar to the Twins. Between 2004 and 2012, Kansas City had nine losing records, never winning more than 75 games and with an average of 66 wins per season on that span. Then, they won 86 and 89 games in the two seasons before their championship year. In the six seasons that follow their last division title, the Twins won an average of 67 games each season, including a 59-103 record in 2016, the worst one in club history. They went on to win 85 and make the playoffs for the first time in seven years in 2017 and came close to an eighty win season again last year, finishing with 78.
    I don’t believe in coincidences nor am I saying that all of these will have any effect on the outcome of this season. They won’t. But it’s fun to look at those facts, especially when basically no one believes smaller market teams can actually win a title. Let’s not buy into the notion that a team can only win a ring with a $200 million payroll.
    A steamroller offense
    Tom Verducci wrote, on that same SI issue, a piece entitled ‘Postmodern Swing’, which broke down the main strengths of that Royal offense. According to him, one of the most important features of that offense was its aggressiveness. The Royals saw the fewest pitches per plate appearance that year, with 3.71. Their philosophy was to chase after hittable pitches early and not give up easy strikes. Still, they were the team that struck out the least in MLB that year, with a 15.9% strikeout rate. They also average an MLB 7th best 4.4 runs per game. Which team has done something similar this year?
    Some weeks ago, Aaron Gleeman wrote this great piece explaining how the Twins have added power and, at the same time, have been striking out much less. They have been the team that struck out the third least in MLB, currently with a 19.5% strikeout rate. In comparison with the ‘15 Royals, Minnesota is also scoring more, with a 5.4 runs per game average, and has much more power, as they lead the MLB with .236 ISO, against .144 of those Royals. In terms of pitches per plate appearance, Minnesota also doesn’t see a lot of pitches, with an average of 3.78.
    Both these Twins and those Royals have something else in common. They both swing a lot and get good contact. Here is how they rank:
    2015 Royals
    Contact% - 81.9% (1st in MLB)
    O-Contact% - 68.8% (2nd)
    Swing% - 47.6% (9th)
    O-Swing% - 32.5% (5th)
     
    2019 Twins
    Contact% - 77.5% (6th in MLB)
    O-Contact% - 63.2% (7th)
    Swing% - 48.1% (4th)
    O-Swing% - 32.3% (6th)
    And one last nice coincidence that these two offenses have. In 2015, the Royals had Alcides Escobar as their leadoff man, even though he had a low OBP, contradicting modern tendencies. Escobar finished the season with a .293 OBP. He also saw very few pitches, with an average of 3.49 per plate appearance and swung at 51.3% of pitches and managed to make contact in 83.8% of them. Looking at Minnesota’s current leadoff man, Max Kepler, we also have an aggressive hitter (51.5 % Swing% and 82.2% Contact%), who sees fez pitches (3.56 per PA) and has a not so high base occupation (.308). According to Verducci’s piece, Escobar ‘set the tone’ for the rest of the Royal lineup, making opposing pitchers aware of the fact that they wouldn’t get any easy strikes.
    Quality pitching
    When we talk about the Royals pitching from that World Series campaign, the first thing that comes to our minds is their extraordinary bullpen. Then, one might think that here would lie the biggest difference between the two teams. Yes, that Wade Davis led group of relievers was no match for this current Minnesota ‘pen, but when comparing the two pitching staffs overall, we can find more identical features.
    Believe it or not, but the two pitching staffs have virtually the same numbers, with an inversion. Kansas City had a lights-out bullpen and a below average rotation, resulting in the 10th best ERA in the MLB. The Twins on the other hand, don’t have a stellar rotation nor bullpen, but both those groups are among the ten best in baseball.
    2015 Royals
    Overall: 3.74 ERA (10th), 4.04 FIP (15th)
    Starters: 4.34 ERA (22nd), 4.32 FIP (21st)
    Relievers: 2.72 ERA (2nd), 3.56 FIP (10th)
     
    2019 Twins
    Overall: 3.88 ERA (9th), 4.13 FIP (13th)
    Starters: 3.66 ERA (6th), 4.23 FIP (13th)
    Relievers: 4.31 ERA (19th), 3.96 FIP (9th)
    Davis was out of this world that season. If there has been a reliever more deserving than him of winning the first Cy Young award in the AL since 1992, I really believe he was the best candidate. Not only did he finish the regular season with a 0.94 ERA in 61 ⅓ innings pitched, but he also neared perfection during the postseason, posting a 0.00 ERA in eight games.
    I don’t see anyone within this Twins pitching staff (so far) with the ability to be what Davis was for that Royals team - but there’s no need for it. Up until now, Minnesota’s pitchers have done a decent job. The overall bullpen numbers are a bit tainted because of bad outings from young arms tested out of Rochester and because of slumps from, mainly, Trevor Hildenberger and Adalberto Mejía. But, as of this moment, six of the eight bullpen arms in the 25-man roster have an ERA of 2.76 or lower. Newcomer Austin Adams hasn’t pitched this season yet.
    Their rotations can’t be compared. At least until this moment, Twins starters have done an outstanding job. Maybe we’ve set the bar too low after years of bad rotations, but things have looked extremely nice. Which, with this whole exercise of comparing these two teams can be very exciting. The Royals were world champions even though the four starters they’ve used in the postseason combined for a 4.96 ERA in 16 starts.
    Deadline additions: a blueprint for the Twins
    To help end the 30-year World Series drought, the Royals traded for two key-pieces near the trade deadline. They traded Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb and Cody Reed for Reds’ superstar starter Johnny Cueto and sent Aaron Brooks and Sean Manaea to Oakland in exchange for veteran super utility player Ben Zobrist. Those proved to be vital additions to their goals.
    Zobrist had a solid last portion of the regular season with the Royals, slashing .284/.364/.453 (.816). During the postseason, he performed even better, hitting .303/.365/.515 (.880) and with five multi-hit games. But he also provided a much needed boost that might have made a big difference.
    Before his arrival, Royals second basemen slashed .231/.251/.319 (.570). In 35 games starting at that position in the remainder of the regular season, Zobrist hit .275/.348/.457 (.805). He also played 18 games as a LF, a position in which Kansas City had a good production, with .273/.383/.467 (.850). But Zobrist managed to top even that, hitting .299/.392/.463 (.855).
     
    Cueto on the other hand wasn’t as dominant as Zobrist, but he was still essential to the Kansas City success. He had a 4.76 ERA in 13 starts for the Royals during the regular season and a 5.40 ERA in the postseason, but those numbers alone can be very misleading. In four playoff starts, he had a mediocre outing (6.0 innings, 4 ER) in game 2 of the ALDS, a terrible one (2.0 IP, 8 ER) in game 3 of the ALCS, but two amazingly good ones to compensate. He pitched a on run complete game in the World Series, helping the Royals to open a 2-0 lead in the series.
    So what’s the lesson the Twins can learn out of the Royals shopping in the 2015 trade deadline? It’s hard to imagine, at least based on this first quarter of the season, that Minnesota is going after big names to help their offense. I mean, all help is welcomed, but if they had to invest top prospects in one area, I don’t believe the offense would be their priority.
    But when we look at their pitching staff, you can see a lot of room for improvement. As well as the rotation has pitched so far, the Twins would benefit a lot from a better arm to fill the gap Michael Pineda has been leaving until this moment. He currently has a 5.85 ERA, the worst among starters. The bullpen also could use some help - even more than the rotation. Bottomline is, it doesn’t matter how well the arms might be doing, with their clear exceptions, of course, shopping for one or two dominant arms could make a difference between a World Series victory and a quick visit to the postseason.
    And who could be the best candidates? Well, if you’re talking about bringing in a starter and a reliever, one can only consider signing the two biggest unsigned names in the last offseason: former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel and superstar closer Craig Kimbrel. But this would also represent a great risk, given the fact we don’t know in what shape they would show up. Also, there’s very little, if any, indications that Minnesota would be willing to pay them. I mean, if there’s any interest, why didn’t they pull the trigger yet?
    Since that’s the most unlikely option, we should look at what possible options they could go after via trade. For rotation help, I believe the best choices that they would have would be Madison Bumgarner or Stephen Strasburg, MadBum being my favorite. For the bullpen, my favorite candidate would be old friend Liam Hendriks. But there are many more options around and I’m sure the Twins front office has a keen eye for that job.
    In conclusion, smaller market teams will always raise more suspiscions than inspire confidence among non-fans. They will always doubt those teams. But the 2015 Royals are the closest example we have that this dream is doable. And, as shown during this article, they have a long list of common features with this year’s Twins. So, it’s OK to believe.
  21. Like
    Thiéres Rabelo got a reaction from nclahammer for a blog entry, Could the Twins be the new 2015 Royals?   
    Even though I'm not a Minnesotan, nor do I live in this beautiful state, I've been observing you guys for years. I see a lot of pessimism when it comes to sports. And who can blame you? Few fans in America love their teams as much as you do and, at the same time, have endured such traumatic playoff moments with the Vikings and Wild or such long playoff draughts with the Twins and Timberwolves. You have the right to be – in the words of our Twins Daily own Parker Hageman – dead inside when it comes to sports. Well, maybe it's time to believe again.
    I don't live in the US and I haven't set foot there since May 2013. I'm from a country where most people literally have no clue of what baseball is. I met the game of baseball in 2008, at age 16. So, it's nearly impossible for me to have access to any publication (or clothing items, memorabilia, sports gear...) about the sport. But, miraculously, one of my students gave me a very special gift some weeks ago.
    Having taken an exchange programme to the USA in 2015, he was hosted by a Kansas City family during his time there. He knows nothing about baseball himself, but his family did and they gave him a Sports Illustrated 2015 World Series Commemorative Issue. He kept that, only to, almost four years later, give that as a present to his all-time favorite teacher. I was thrilled. I almost didn't even care about the fact that the Royals are a Twins division rival. Afterall, it was the first baseball publication I ever laid hands on.
    The magazine sat on my desk at home for some days. In the meantime, the Twins flourished as the team with the best record in baseball. I would be lying if I said I saw that coming, but I can't say I'm shocked by that either. But a lot of people are, indeed, shocked. I lost count of how many people on social media are doubting the Twins. “Enjoy 'em while you can, 'cause they won't last”. And that's not even from people outside of Minnesota only. Like I explained on the first paragraph, many Minnesotans don't believe their Twins are for real. That made me a little mad. And then, the magazine spoke to me.
    In the midst of so much pessimism and disbelief coming from every which way, I started browsing through that $12.99 SI issue from November of 2015 and I thought to myself: why can't the Twins be this year's version of the 2015 Royals? And believe me or not, I found a lot of similarities between the two teams. I'm not saying here that Minnesota will win the World Series. All I'm saying is that it's OK to believe in it – like I do right now.
    Even though we've had our hearts broken by the Brett Favre interception, the Gary Anderson and Blair Walsh missed field goals, the Jimmy Butler fiasco, the Joe Nathan blown save in the '09 ALDS and, well, the whole Wild playoff history, you might not be a fool to let your guard down for this Twins team. If you don't believe me, let us go through some of the things these two great ball clubs have in common.
     
    A couple of underdogs
    When experts started predicting what would happen that season, almost none of them believed the 2015 Royals would even make the playoffs. Which, in retrospect, is kind of odd, considering they had just been to the World Series less than six months earlier. In his opening piece, Jay Jaffe wrote about how the Royals were picked by specialists to make it to the postseason in only 13 of 149 predictions.
    Maybe this year’s Twins are not as much discredited as the Royals were then. Per that year’s PECOTA, Kansas City was expected to have a 72-90 record. Instead, they had a 95-67 one. This year’s PECOTA, at first, predicted an 81-81 record for the Twins, but a number of specialists considered them when predicting which team would win the AL Central.
    A month and a half into the season, with over 25% of games played, Minnesota has the second best in baseball, after holding the best one overall for over a week. The Twins are on pace to win almost 105 games. I don’t actually believe they will reach triple digits in wins, but at this point it’s plausible to believe that they will surpass the 90-win mark. Curiously enough, after 43 games, the 2015 Royals and the current Twins owned an identical record of 28-15.
    Another aspect that those teams have in common is the small Opening Day payroll. On that same Jaffe opening piece, he wrote that the Royals were the first team since the 2003 Marlins to win a World Series, even though they were at the bottom half of all MLB payrolls (17th, at $112.9 million). Per Spotrac, the Twins had the 18th payroll in the league on Opening Day, at $122.1 million, almost $12 million below league average.
    Even their track record leading up to their World Series success is somewhat similar to the Twins. Between 2004 and 2012, Kansas City had nine losing records, never winning more than 75 games and with an average of 66 wins per season on that span. Then, they won 86 and 89 games in the two seasons before their championship year. In the six seasons that follow their last division title, the Twins won an average of 67 games each season, including a 59-103 record in 2016, the worst one in club history. They went on to win 85 and make the playoffs for the first time in seven years in 2017 and came close to an eighty win season again last year, finishing with 78.
    I don’t believe in coincidences nor am I saying that all of these will have any effect on the outcome of this season. They won’t. But it’s fun to look at those facts, especially when basically no one believes smaller market teams can actually win a title. Let’s not buy into the notion that a team can only win a ring with a $200 million payroll.
    A steamroller offense
    Tom Verducci wrote, on that same SI issue, a piece entitled ‘Postmodern Swing’, which broke down the main strengths of that Royal offense. According to him, one of the most important features of that offense was its aggressiveness. The Royals saw the fewest pitches per plate appearance that year, with 3.71. Their philosophy was to chase after hittable pitches early and not give up easy strikes. Still, they were the team that struck out the least in MLB that year, with a 15.9% strikeout rate. They also average an MLB 7th best 4.4 runs per game. Which team has done something similar this year?
    Some weeks ago, Aaron Gleeman wrote this great piece explaining how the Twins have added power and, at the same time, have been striking out much less. They have been the team that struck out the third least in MLB, currently with a 19.5% strikeout rate. In comparison with the ‘15 Royals, Minnesota is also scoring more, with a 5.4 runs per game average, and has much more power, as they lead the MLB with .236 ISO, against .144 of those Royals. In terms of pitches per plate appearance, Minnesota also doesn’t see a lot of pitches, with an average of 3.78.
    Both these Twins and those Royals have something else in common. They both swing a lot and get good contact. Here is how they rank:
    2015 Royals
    Contact% - 81.9% (1st in MLB)
    O-Contact% - 68.8% (2nd)
    Swing% - 47.6% (9th)
    O-Swing% - 32.5% (5th)
     
    2019 Twins
    Contact% - 77.5% (6th in MLB)
    O-Contact% - 63.2% (7th)
    Swing% - 48.1% (4th)
    O-Swing% - 32.3% (6th)
    And one last nice coincidence that these two offenses have. In 2015, the Royals had Alcides Escobar as their leadoff man, even though he had a low OBP, contradicting modern tendencies. Escobar finished the season with a .293 OBP. He also saw very few pitches, with an average of 3.49 per plate appearance and swung at 51.3% of pitches and managed to make contact in 83.8% of them. Looking at Minnesota’s current leadoff man, Max Kepler, we also have an aggressive hitter (51.5 % Swing% and 82.2% Contact%), who sees fez pitches (3.56 per PA) and has a not so high base occupation (.308). According to Verducci’s piece, Escobar ‘set the tone’ for the rest of the Royal lineup, making opposing pitchers aware of the fact that they wouldn’t get any easy strikes.
    Quality pitching
    When we talk about the Royals pitching from that World Series campaign, the first thing that comes to our minds is their extraordinary bullpen. Then, one might think that here would lie the biggest difference between the two teams. Yes, that Wade Davis led group of relievers was no match for this current Minnesota ‘pen, but when comparing the two pitching staffs overall, we can find more identical features.
    Believe it or not, but the two pitching staffs have virtually the same numbers, with an inversion. Kansas City had a lights-out bullpen and a below average rotation, resulting in the 10th best ERA in the MLB. The Twins on the other hand, don’t have a stellar rotation nor bullpen, but both those groups are among the ten best in baseball.
    2015 Royals
    Overall: 3.74 ERA (10th), 4.04 FIP (15th)
    Starters: 4.34 ERA (22nd), 4.32 FIP (21st)
    Relievers: 2.72 ERA (2nd), 3.56 FIP (10th)
     
    2019 Twins
    Overall: 3.88 ERA (9th), 4.13 FIP (13th)
    Starters: 3.66 ERA (6th), 4.23 FIP (13th)
    Relievers: 4.31 ERA (19th), 3.96 FIP (9th)
    Davis was out of this world that season. If there has been a reliever more deserving than him of winning the first Cy Young award in the AL since 1992, I really believe he was the best candidate. Not only did he finish the regular season with a 0.94 ERA in 61 ⅓ innings pitched, but he also neared perfection during the postseason, posting a 0.00 ERA in eight games.
    I don’t see anyone within this Twins pitching staff (so far) with the ability to be what Davis was for that Royals team - but there’s no need for it. Up until now, Minnesota’s pitchers have done a decent job. The overall bullpen numbers are a bit tainted because of bad outings from young arms tested out of Rochester and because of slumps from, mainly, Trevor Hildenberger and Adalberto Mejía. But, as of this moment, six of the eight bullpen arms in the 25-man roster have an ERA of 2.76 or lower. Newcomer Austin Adams hasn’t pitched this season yet.
    Their rotations can’t be compared. At least until this moment, Twins starters have done an outstanding job. Maybe we’ve set the bar too low after years of bad rotations, but things have looked extremely nice. Which, with this whole exercise of comparing these two teams can be very exciting. The Royals were world champions even though the four starters they’ve used in the postseason combined for a 4.96 ERA in 16 starts.
    Deadline additions: a blueprint for the Twins
    To help end the 30-year World Series drought, the Royals traded for two key-pieces near the trade deadline. They traded Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb and Cody Reed for Reds’ superstar starter Johnny Cueto and sent Aaron Brooks and Sean Manaea to Oakland in exchange for veteran super utility player Ben Zobrist. Those proved to be vital additions to their goals.
    Zobrist had a solid last portion of the regular season with the Royals, slashing .284/.364/.453 (.816). During the postseason, he performed even better, hitting .303/.365/.515 (.880) and with five multi-hit games. But he also provided a much needed boost that might have made a big difference.
    Before his arrival, Royals second basemen slashed .231/.251/.319 (.570). In 35 games starting at that position in the remainder of the regular season, Zobrist hit .275/.348/.457 (.805). He also played 18 games as a LF, a position in which Kansas City had a good production, with .273/.383/.467 (.850). But Zobrist managed to top even that, hitting .299/.392/.463 (.855).
     
    Cueto on the other hand wasn’t as dominant as Zobrist, but he was still essential to the Kansas City success. He had a 4.76 ERA in 13 starts for the Royals during the regular season and a 5.40 ERA in the postseason, but those numbers alone can be very misleading. In four playoff starts, he had a mediocre outing (6.0 innings, 4 ER) in game 2 of the ALDS, a terrible one (2.0 IP, 8 ER) in game 3 of the ALCS, but two amazingly good ones to compensate. He pitched a on run complete game in the World Series, helping the Royals to open a 2-0 lead in the series.
    So what’s the lesson the Twins can learn out of the Royals shopping in the 2015 trade deadline? It’s hard to imagine, at least based on this first quarter of the season, that Minnesota is going after big names to help their offense. I mean, all help is welcomed, but if they had to invest top prospects in one area, I don’t believe the offense would be their priority.
    But when we look at their pitching staff, you can see a lot of room for improvement. As well as the rotation has pitched so far, the Twins would benefit a lot from a better arm to fill the gap Michael Pineda has been leaving until this moment. He currently has a 5.85 ERA, the worst among starters. The bullpen also could use some help - even more than the rotation. Bottomline is, it doesn’t matter how well the arms might be doing, with their clear exceptions, of course, shopping for one or two dominant arms could make a difference between a World Series victory and a quick visit to the postseason.
    And who could be the best candidates? Well, if you’re talking about bringing in a starter and a reliever, one can only consider signing the two biggest unsigned names in the last offseason: former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel and superstar closer Craig Kimbrel. But this would also represent a great risk, given the fact we don’t know in what shape they would show up. Also, there’s very little, if any, indications that Minnesota would be willing to pay them. I mean, if there’s any interest, why didn’t they pull the trigger yet?
    Since that’s the most unlikely option, we should look at what possible options they could go after via trade. For rotation help, I believe the best choices that they would have would be Madison Bumgarner or Stephen Strasburg, MadBum being my favorite. For the bullpen, my favorite candidate would be old friend Liam Hendriks. But there are many more options around and I’m sure the Twins front office has a keen eye for that job.
    In conclusion, smaller market teams will always raise more suspiscions than inspire confidence among non-fans. They will always doubt those teams. But the 2015 Royals are the closest example we have that this dream is doable. And, as shown during this article, they have a long list of common features with this year’s Twins. So, it’s OK to believe.
  22. Like
    Thiéres Rabelo got a reaction from DannySD for a blog entry, Could the Twins be the new 2015 Royals?   
    Even though I'm not a Minnesotan, nor do I live in this beautiful state, I've been observing you guys for years. I see a lot of pessimism when it comes to sports. And who can blame you? Few fans in America love their teams as much as you do and, at the same time, have endured such traumatic playoff moments with the Vikings and Wild or such long playoff draughts with the Twins and Timberwolves. You have the right to be – in the words of our Twins Daily own Parker Hageman – dead inside when it comes to sports. Well, maybe it's time to believe again.
    I don't live in the US and I haven't set foot there since May 2013. I'm from a country where most people literally have no clue of what baseball is. I met the game of baseball in 2008, at age 16. So, it's nearly impossible for me to have access to any publication (or clothing items, memorabilia, sports gear...) about the sport. But, miraculously, one of my students gave me a very special gift some weeks ago.
    Having taken an exchange programme to the USA in 2015, he was hosted by a Kansas City family during his time there. He knows nothing about baseball himself, but his family did and they gave him a Sports Illustrated 2015 World Series Commemorative Issue. He kept that, only to, almost four years later, give that as a present to his all-time favorite teacher. I was thrilled. I almost didn't even care about the fact that the Royals are a Twins division rival. Afterall, it was the first baseball publication I ever laid hands on.
    The magazine sat on my desk at home for some days. In the meantime, the Twins flourished as the team with the best record in baseball. I would be lying if I said I saw that coming, but I can't say I'm shocked by that either. But a lot of people are, indeed, shocked. I lost count of how many people on social media are doubting the Twins. “Enjoy 'em while you can, 'cause they won't last”. And that's not even from people outside of Minnesota only. Like I explained on the first paragraph, many Minnesotans don't believe their Twins are for real. That made me a little mad. And then, the magazine spoke to me.
    In the midst of so much pessimism and disbelief coming from every which way, I started browsing through that $12.99 SI issue from November of 2015 and I thought to myself: why can't the Twins be this year's version of the 2015 Royals? And believe me or not, I found a lot of similarities between the two teams. I'm not saying here that Minnesota will win the World Series. All I'm saying is that it's OK to believe in it – like I do right now.
    Even though we've had our hearts broken by the Brett Favre interception, the Gary Anderson and Blair Walsh missed field goals, the Jimmy Butler fiasco, the Joe Nathan blown save in the '09 ALDS and, well, the whole Wild playoff history, you might not be a fool to let your guard down for this Twins team. If you don't believe me, let us go through some of the things these two great ball clubs have in common.
     
    A couple of underdogs
    When experts started predicting what would happen that season, almost none of them believed the 2015 Royals would even make the playoffs. Which, in retrospect, is kind of odd, considering they had just been to the World Series less than six months earlier. In his opening piece, Jay Jaffe wrote about how the Royals were picked by specialists to make it to the postseason in only 13 of 149 predictions.
    Maybe this year’s Twins are not as much discredited as the Royals were then. Per that year’s PECOTA, Kansas City was expected to have a 72-90 record. Instead, they had a 95-67 one. This year’s PECOTA, at first, predicted an 81-81 record for the Twins, but a number of specialists considered them when predicting which team would win the AL Central.
    A month and a half into the season, with over 25% of games played, Minnesota has the second best in baseball, after holding the best one overall for over a week. The Twins are on pace to win almost 105 games. I don’t actually believe they will reach triple digits in wins, but at this point it’s plausible to believe that they will surpass the 90-win mark. Curiously enough, after 43 games, the 2015 Royals and the current Twins owned an identical record of 28-15.
    Another aspect that those teams have in common is the small Opening Day payroll. On that same Jaffe opening piece, he wrote that the Royals were the first team since the 2003 Marlins to win a World Series, even though they were at the bottom half of all MLB payrolls (17th, at $112.9 million). Per Spotrac, the Twins had the 18th payroll in the league on Opening Day, at $122.1 million, almost $12 million below league average.
    Even their track record leading up to their World Series success is somewhat similar to the Twins. Between 2004 and 2012, Kansas City had nine losing records, never winning more than 75 games and with an average of 66 wins per season on that span. Then, they won 86 and 89 games in the two seasons before their championship year. In the six seasons that follow their last division title, the Twins won an average of 67 games each season, including a 59-103 record in 2016, the worst one in club history. They went on to win 85 and make the playoffs for the first time in seven years in 2017 and came close to an eighty win season again last year, finishing with 78.
    I don’t believe in coincidences nor am I saying that all of these will have any effect on the outcome of this season. They won’t. But it’s fun to look at those facts, especially when basically no one believes smaller market teams can actually win a title. Let’s not buy into the notion that a team can only win a ring with a $200 million payroll.
    A steamroller offense
    Tom Verducci wrote, on that same SI issue, a piece entitled ‘Postmodern Swing’, which broke down the main strengths of that Royal offense. According to him, one of the most important features of that offense was its aggressiveness. The Royals saw the fewest pitches per plate appearance that year, with 3.71. Their philosophy was to chase after hittable pitches early and not give up easy strikes. Still, they were the team that struck out the least in MLB that year, with a 15.9% strikeout rate. They also average an MLB 7th best 4.4 runs per game. Which team has done something similar this year?
    Some weeks ago, Aaron Gleeman wrote this great piece explaining how the Twins have added power and, at the same time, have been striking out much less. They have been the team that struck out the third least in MLB, currently with a 19.5% strikeout rate. In comparison with the ‘15 Royals, Minnesota is also scoring more, with a 5.4 runs per game average, and has much more power, as they lead the MLB with .236 ISO, against .144 of those Royals. In terms of pitches per plate appearance, Minnesota also doesn’t see a lot of pitches, with an average of 3.78.
    Both these Twins and those Royals have something else in common. They both swing a lot and get good contact. Here is how they rank:
    2015 Royals
    Contact% - 81.9% (1st in MLB)
    O-Contact% - 68.8% (2nd)
    Swing% - 47.6% (9th)
    O-Swing% - 32.5% (5th)
     
    2019 Twins
    Contact% - 77.5% (6th in MLB)
    O-Contact% - 63.2% (7th)
    Swing% - 48.1% (4th)
    O-Swing% - 32.3% (6th)
    And one last nice coincidence that these two offenses have. In 2015, the Royals had Alcides Escobar as their leadoff man, even though he had a low OBP, contradicting modern tendencies. Escobar finished the season with a .293 OBP. He also saw very few pitches, with an average of 3.49 per plate appearance and swung at 51.3% of pitches and managed to make contact in 83.8% of them. Looking at Minnesota’s current leadoff man, Max Kepler, we also have an aggressive hitter (51.5 % Swing% and 82.2% Contact%), who sees fez pitches (3.56 per PA) and has a not so high base occupation (.308). According to Verducci’s piece, Escobar ‘set the tone’ for the rest of the Royal lineup, making opposing pitchers aware of the fact that they wouldn’t get any easy strikes.
    Quality pitching
    When we talk about the Royals pitching from that World Series campaign, the first thing that comes to our minds is their extraordinary bullpen. Then, one might think that here would lie the biggest difference between the two teams. Yes, that Wade Davis led group of relievers was no match for this current Minnesota ‘pen, but when comparing the two pitching staffs overall, we can find more identical features.
    Believe it or not, but the two pitching staffs have virtually the same numbers, with an inversion. Kansas City had a lights-out bullpen and a below average rotation, resulting in the 10th best ERA in the MLB. The Twins on the other hand, don’t have a stellar rotation nor bullpen, but both those groups are among the ten best in baseball.
    2015 Royals
    Overall: 3.74 ERA (10th), 4.04 FIP (15th)
    Starters: 4.34 ERA (22nd), 4.32 FIP (21st)
    Relievers: 2.72 ERA (2nd), 3.56 FIP (10th)
     
    2019 Twins
    Overall: 3.88 ERA (9th), 4.13 FIP (13th)
    Starters: 3.66 ERA (6th), 4.23 FIP (13th)
    Relievers: 4.31 ERA (19th), 3.96 FIP (9th)
    Davis was out of this world that season. If there has been a reliever more deserving than him of winning the first Cy Young award in the AL since 1992, I really believe he was the best candidate. Not only did he finish the regular season with a 0.94 ERA in 61 ⅓ innings pitched, but he also neared perfection during the postseason, posting a 0.00 ERA in eight games.
    I don’t see anyone within this Twins pitching staff (so far) with the ability to be what Davis was for that Royals team - but there’s no need for it. Up until now, Minnesota’s pitchers have done a decent job. The overall bullpen numbers are a bit tainted because of bad outings from young arms tested out of Rochester and because of slumps from, mainly, Trevor Hildenberger and Adalberto Mejía. But, as of this moment, six of the eight bullpen arms in the 25-man roster have an ERA of 2.76 or lower. Newcomer Austin Adams hasn’t pitched this season yet.
    Their rotations can’t be compared. At least until this moment, Twins starters have done an outstanding job. Maybe we’ve set the bar too low after years of bad rotations, but things have looked extremely nice. Which, with this whole exercise of comparing these two teams can be very exciting. The Royals were world champions even though the four starters they’ve used in the postseason combined for a 4.96 ERA in 16 starts.
    Deadline additions: a blueprint for the Twins
    To help end the 30-year World Series drought, the Royals traded for two key-pieces near the trade deadline. They traded Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb and Cody Reed for Reds’ superstar starter Johnny Cueto and sent Aaron Brooks and Sean Manaea to Oakland in exchange for veteran super utility player Ben Zobrist. Those proved to be vital additions to their goals.
    Zobrist had a solid last portion of the regular season with the Royals, slashing .284/.364/.453 (.816). During the postseason, he performed even better, hitting .303/.365/.515 (.880) and with five multi-hit games. But he also provided a much needed boost that might have made a big difference.
    Before his arrival, Royals second basemen slashed .231/.251/.319 (.570). In 35 games starting at that position in the remainder of the regular season, Zobrist hit .275/.348/.457 (.805). He also played 18 games as a LF, a position in which Kansas City had a good production, with .273/.383/.467 (.850). But Zobrist managed to top even that, hitting .299/.392/.463 (.855).
     
    Cueto on the other hand wasn’t as dominant as Zobrist, but he was still essential to the Kansas City success. He had a 4.76 ERA in 13 starts for the Royals during the regular season and a 5.40 ERA in the postseason, but those numbers alone can be very misleading. In four playoff starts, he had a mediocre outing (6.0 innings, 4 ER) in game 2 of the ALDS, a terrible one (2.0 IP, 8 ER) in game 3 of the ALCS, but two amazingly good ones to compensate. He pitched a on run complete game in the World Series, helping the Royals to open a 2-0 lead in the series.
    So what’s the lesson the Twins can learn out of the Royals shopping in the 2015 trade deadline? It’s hard to imagine, at least based on this first quarter of the season, that Minnesota is going after big names to help their offense. I mean, all help is welcomed, but if they had to invest top prospects in one area, I don’t believe the offense would be their priority.
    But when we look at their pitching staff, you can see a lot of room for improvement. As well as the rotation has pitched so far, the Twins would benefit a lot from a better arm to fill the gap Michael Pineda has been leaving until this moment. He currently has a 5.85 ERA, the worst among starters. The bullpen also could use some help - even more than the rotation. Bottomline is, it doesn’t matter how well the arms might be doing, with their clear exceptions, of course, shopping for one or two dominant arms could make a difference between a World Series victory and a quick visit to the postseason.
    And who could be the best candidates? Well, if you’re talking about bringing in a starter and a reliever, one can only consider signing the two biggest unsigned names in the last offseason: former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel and superstar closer Craig Kimbrel. But this would also represent a great risk, given the fact we don’t know in what shape they would show up. Also, there’s very little, if any, indications that Minnesota would be willing to pay them. I mean, if there’s any interest, why didn’t they pull the trigger yet?
    Since that’s the most unlikely option, we should look at what possible options they could go after via trade. For rotation help, I believe the best choices that they would have would be Madison Bumgarner or Stephen Strasburg, MadBum being my favorite. For the bullpen, my favorite candidate would be old friend Liam Hendriks. But there are many more options around and I’m sure the Twins front office has a keen eye for that job.
    In conclusion, smaller market teams will always raise more suspiscions than inspire confidence among non-fans. They will always doubt those teams. But the 2015 Royals are the closest example we have that this dream is doable. And, as shown during this article, they have a long list of common features with this year’s Twins. So, it’s OK to believe.
  23. Like
    Thiéres Rabelo got a reaction from woolywoolhouse for a blog entry, Could the Twins be the new 2015 Royals?   
    Even though I'm not a Minnesotan, nor do I live in this beautiful state, I've been observing you guys for years. I see a lot of pessimism when it comes to sports. And who can blame you? Few fans in America love their teams as much as you do and, at the same time, have endured such traumatic playoff moments with the Vikings and Wild or such long playoff draughts with the Twins and Timberwolves. You have the right to be – in the words of our Twins Daily own Parker Hageman – dead inside when it comes to sports. Well, maybe it's time to believe again.
    I don't live in the US and I haven't set foot there since May 2013. I'm from a country where most people literally have no clue of what baseball is. I met the game of baseball in 2008, at age 16. So, it's nearly impossible for me to have access to any publication (or clothing items, memorabilia, sports gear...) about the sport. But, miraculously, one of my students gave me a very special gift some weeks ago.
    Having taken an exchange programme to the USA in 2015, he was hosted by a Kansas City family during his time there. He knows nothing about baseball himself, but his family did and they gave him a Sports Illustrated 2015 World Series Commemorative Issue. He kept that, only to, almost four years later, give that as a present to his all-time favorite teacher. I was thrilled. I almost didn't even care about the fact that the Royals are a Twins division rival. Afterall, it was the first baseball publication I ever laid hands on.
    The magazine sat on my desk at home for some days. In the meantime, the Twins flourished as the team with the best record in baseball. I would be lying if I said I saw that coming, but I can't say I'm shocked by that either. But a lot of people are, indeed, shocked. I lost count of how many people on social media are doubting the Twins. “Enjoy 'em while you can, 'cause they won't last”. And that's not even from people outside of Minnesota only. Like I explained on the first paragraph, many Minnesotans don't believe their Twins are for real. That made me a little mad. And then, the magazine spoke to me.
    In the midst of so much pessimism and disbelief coming from every which way, I started browsing through that $12.99 SI issue from November of 2015 and I thought to myself: why can't the Twins be this year's version of the 2015 Royals? And believe me or not, I found a lot of similarities between the two teams. I'm not saying here that Minnesota will win the World Series. All I'm saying is that it's OK to believe in it – like I do right now.
    Even though we've had our hearts broken by the Brett Favre interception, the Gary Anderson and Blair Walsh missed field goals, the Jimmy Butler fiasco, the Joe Nathan blown save in the '09 ALDS and, well, the whole Wild playoff history, you might not be a fool to let your guard down for this Twins team. If you don't believe me, let us go through some of the things these two great ball clubs have in common.
     
    A couple of underdogs
    When experts started predicting what would happen that season, almost none of them believed the 2015 Royals would even make the playoffs. Which, in retrospect, is kind of odd, considering they had just been to the World Series less than six months earlier. In his opening piece, Jay Jaffe wrote about how the Royals were picked by specialists to make it to the postseason in only 13 of 149 predictions.
    Maybe this year’s Twins are not as much discredited as the Royals were then. Per that year’s PECOTA, Kansas City was expected to have a 72-90 record. Instead, they had a 95-67 one. This year’s PECOTA, at first, predicted an 81-81 record for the Twins, but a number of specialists considered them when predicting which team would win the AL Central.
    A month and a half into the season, with over 25% of games played, Minnesota has the second best in baseball, after holding the best one overall for over a week. The Twins are on pace to win almost 105 games. I don’t actually believe they will reach triple digits in wins, but at this point it’s plausible to believe that they will surpass the 90-win mark. Curiously enough, after 43 games, the 2015 Royals and the current Twins owned an identical record of 28-15.
    Another aspect that those teams have in common is the small Opening Day payroll. On that same Jaffe opening piece, he wrote that the Royals were the first team since the 2003 Marlins to win a World Series, even though they were at the bottom half of all MLB payrolls (17th, at $112.9 million). Per Spotrac, the Twins had the 18th payroll in the league on Opening Day, at $122.1 million, almost $12 million below league average.
    Even their track record leading up to their World Series success is somewhat similar to the Twins. Between 2004 and 2012, Kansas City had nine losing records, never winning more than 75 games and with an average of 66 wins per season on that span. Then, they won 86 and 89 games in the two seasons before their championship year. In the six seasons that follow their last division title, the Twins won an average of 67 games each season, including a 59-103 record in 2016, the worst one in club history. They went on to win 85 and make the playoffs for the first time in seven years in 2017 and came close to an eighty win season again last year, finishing with 78.
    I don’t believe in coincidences nor am I saying that all of these will have any effect on the outcome of this season. They won’t. But it’s fun to look at those facts, especially when basically no one believes smaller market teams can actually win a title. Let’s not buy into the notion that a team can only win a ring with a $200 million payroll.
    A steamroller offense
    Tom Verducci wrote, on that same SI issue, a piece entitled ‘Postmodern Swing’, which broke down the main strengths of that Royal offense. According to him, one of the most important features of that offense was its aggressiveness. The Royals saw the fewest pitches per plate appearance that year, with 3.71. Their philosophy was to chase after hittable pitches early and not give up easy strikes. Still, they were the team that struck out the least in MLB that year, with a 15.9% strikeout rate. They also average an MLB 7th best 4.4 runs per game. Which team has done something similar this year?
    Some weeks ago, Aaron Gleeman wrote this great piece explaining how the Twins have added power and, at the same time, have been striking out much less. They have been the team that struck out the third least in MLB, currently with a 19.5% strikeout rate. In comparison with the ‘15 Royals, Minnesota is also scoring more, with a 5.4 runs per game average, and has much more power, as they lead the MLB with .236 ISO, against .144 of those Royals. In terms of pitches per plate appearance, Minnesota also doesn’t see a lot of pitches, with an average of 3.78.
    Both these Twins and those Royals have something else in common. They both swing a lot and get good contact. Here is how they rank:
    2015 Royals
    Contact% - 81.9% (1st in MLB)
    O-Contact% - 68.8% (2nd)
    Swing% - 47.6% (9th)
    O-Swing% - 32.5% (5th)
     
    2019 Twins
    Contact% - 77.5% (6th in MLB)
    O-Contact% - 63.2% (7th)
    Swing% - 48.1% (4th)
    O-Swing% - 32.3% (6th)
    And one last nice coincidence that these two offenses have. In 2015, the Royals had Alcides Escobar as their leadoff man, even though he had a low OBP, contradicting modern tendencies. Escobar finished the season with a .293 OBP. He also saw very few pitches, with an average of 3.49 per plate appearance and swung at 51.3% of pitches and managed to make contact in 83.8% of them. Looking at Minnesota’s current leadoff man, Max Kepler, we also have an aggressive hitter (51.5 % Swing% and 82.2% Contact%), who sees fez pitches (3.56 per PA) and has a not so high base occupation (.308). According to Verducci’s piece, Escobar ‘set the tone’ for the rest of the Royal lineup, making opposing pitchers aware of the fact that they wouldn’t get any easy strikes.
    Quality pitching
    When we talk about the Royals pitching from that World Series campaign, the first thing that comes to our minds is their extraordinary bullpen. Then, one might think that here would lie the biggest difference between the two teams. Yes, that Wade Davis led group of relievers was no match for this current Minnesota ‘pen, but when comparing the two pitching staffs overall, we can find more identical features.
    Believe it or not, but the two pitching staffs have virtually the same numbers, with an inversion. Kansas City had a lights-out bullpen and a below average rotation, resulting in the 10th best ERA in the MLB. The Twins on the other hand, don’t have a stellar rotation nor bullpen, but both those groups are among the ten best in baseball.
    2015 Royals
    Overall: 3.74 ERA (10th), 4.04 FIP (15th)
    Starters: 4.34 ERA (22nd), 4.32 FIP (21st)
    Relievers: 2.72 ERA (2nd), 3.56 FIP (10th)
     
    2019 Twins
    Overall: 3.88 ERA (9th), 4.13 FIP (13th)
    Starters: 3.66 ERA (6th), 4.23 FIP (13th)
    Relievers: 4.31 ERA (19th), 3.96 FIP (9th)
    Davis was out of this world that season. If there has been a reliever more deserving than him of winning the first Cy Young award in the AL since 1992, I really believe he was the best candidate. Not only did he finish the regular season with a 0.94 ERA in 61 ⅓ innings pitched, but he also neared perfection during the postseason, posting a 0.00 ERA in eight games.
    I don’t see anyone within this Twins pitching staff (so far) with the ability to be what Davis was for that Royals team - but there’s no need for it. Up until now, Minnesota’s pitchers have done a decent job. The overall bullpen numbers are a bit tainted because of bad outings from young arms tested out of Rochester and because of slumps from, mainly, Trevor Hildenberger and Adalberto Mejía. But, as of this moment, six of the eight bullpen arms in the 25-man roster have an ERA of 2.76 or lower. Newcomer Austin Adams hasn’t pitched this season yet.
    Their rotations can’t be compared. At least until this moment, Twins starters have done an outstanding job. Maybe we’ve set the bar too low after years of bad rotations, but things have looked extremely nice. Which, with this whole exercise of comparing these two teams can be very exciting. The Royals were world champions even though the four starters they’ve used in the postseason combined for a 4.96 ERA in 16 starts.
    Deadline additions: a blueprint for the Twins
    To help end the 30-year World Series drought, the Royals traded for two key-pieces near the trade deadline. They traded Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb and Cody Reed for Reds’ superstar starter Johnny Cueto and sent Aaron Brooks and Sean Manaea to Oakland in exchange for veteran super utility player Ben Zobrist. Those proved to be vital additions to their goals.
    Zobrist had a solid last portion of the regular season with the Royals, slashing .284/.364/.453 (.816). During the postseason, he performed even better, hitting .303/.365/.515 (.880) and with five multi-hit games. But he also provided a much needed boost that might have made a big difference.
    Before his arrival, Royals second basemen slashed .231/.251/.319 (.570). In 35 games starting at that position in the remainder of the regular season, Zobrist hit .275/.348/.457 (.805). He also played 18 games as a LF, a position in which Kansas City had a good production, with .273/.383/.467 (.850). But Zobrist managed to top even that, hitting .299/.392/.463 (.855).
     
    Cueto on the other hand wasn’t as dominant as Zobrist, but he was still essential to the Kansas City success. He had a 4.76 ERA in 13 starts for the Royals during the regular season and a 5.40 ERA in the postseason, but those numbers alone can be very misleading. In four playoff starts, he had a mediocre outing (6.0 innings, 4 ER) in game 2 of the ALDS, a terrible one (2.0 IP, 8 ER) in game 3 of the ALCS, but two amazingly good ones to compensate. He pitched a on run complete game in the World Series, helping the Royals to open a 2-0 lead in the series.
    So what’s the lesson the Twins can learn out of the Royals shopping in the 2015 trade deadline? It’s hard to imagine, at least based on this first quarter of the season, that Minnesota is going after big names to help their offense. I mean, all help is welcomed, but if they had to invest top prospects in one area, I don’t believe the offense would be their priority.
    But when we look at their pitching staff, you can see a lot of room for improvement. As well as the rotation has pitched so far, the Twins would benefit a lot from a better arm to fill the gap Michael Pineda has been leaving until this moment. He currently has a 5.85 ERA, the worst among starters. The bullpen also could use some help - even more than the rotation. Bottomline is, it doesn’t matter how well the arms might be doing, with their clear exceptions, of course, shopping for one or two dominant arms could make a difference between a World Series victory and a quick visit to the postseason.
    And who could be the best candidates? Well, if you’re talking about bringing in a starter and a reliever, one can only consider signing the two biggest unsigned names in the last offseason: former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel and superstar closer Craig Kimbrel. But this would also represent a great risk, given the fact we don’t know in what shape they would show up. Also, there’s very little, if any, indications that Minnesota would be willing to pay them. I mean, if there’s any interest, why didn’t they pull the trigger yet?
    Since that’s the most unlikely option, we should look at what possible options they could go after via trade. For rotation help, I believe the best choices that they would have would be Madison Bumgarner or Stephen Strasburg, MadBum being my favorite. For the bullpen, my favorite candidate would be old friend Liam Hendriks. But there are many more options around and I’m sure the Twins front office has a keen eye for that job.
    In conclusion, smaller market teams will always raise more suspiscions than inspire confidence among non-fans. They will always doubt those teams. But the 2015 Royals are the closest example we have that this dream is doable. And, as shown during this article, they have a long list of common features with this year’s Twins. So, it’s OK to believe.
  24. Like
    Thiéres Rabelo got a reaction from Parker Hageman for a blog entry, Could the Twins be the new 2015 Royals?   
    Even though I'm not a Minnesotan, nor do I live in this beautiful state, I've been observing you guys for years. I see a lot of pessimism when it comes to sports. And who can blame you? Few fans in America love their teams as much as you do and, at the same time, have endured such traumatic playoff moments with the Vikings and Wild or such long playoff draughts with the Twins and Timberwolves. You have the right to be – in the words of our Twins Daily own Parker Hageman – dead inside when it comes to sports. Well, maybe it's time to believe again.
    I don't live in the US and I haven't set foot there since May 2013. I'm from a country where most people literally have no clue of what baseball is. I met the game of baseball in 2008, at age 16. So, it's nearly impossible for me to have access to any publication (or clothing items, memorabilia, sports gear...) about the sport. But, miraculously, one of my students gave me a very special gift some weeks ago.
    Having taken an exchange programme to the USA in 2015, he was hosted by a Kansas City family during his time there. He knows nothing about baseball himself, but his family did and they gave him a Sports Illustrated 2015 World Series Commemorative Issue. He kept that, only to, almost four years later, give that as a present to his all-time favorite teacher. I was thrilled. I almost didn't even care about the fact that the Royals are a Twins division rival. Afterall, it was the first baseball publication I ever laid hands on.
    The magazine sat on my desk at home for some days. In the meantime, the Twins flourished as the team with the best record in baseball. I would be lying if I said I saw that coming, but I can't say I'm shocked by that either. But a lot of people are, indeed, shocked. I lost count of how many people on social media are doubting the Twins. “Enjoy 'em while you can, 'cause they won't last”. And that's not even from people outside of Minnesota only. Like I explained on the first paragraph, many Minnesotans don't believe their Twins are for real. That made me a little mad. And then, the magazine spoke to me.
    In the midst of so much pessimism and disbelief coming from every which way, I started browsing through that $12.99 SI issue from November of 2015 and I thought to myself: why can't the Twins be this year's version of the 2015 Royals? And believe me or not, I found a lot of similarities between the two teams. I'm not saying here that Minnesota will win the World Series. All I'm saying is that it's OK to believe in it – like I do right now.
    Even though we've had our hearts broken by the Brett Favre interception, the Gary Anderson and Blair Walsh missed field goals, the Jimmy Butler fiasco, the Joe Nathan blown save in the '09 ALDS and, well, the whole Wild playoff history, you might not be a fool to let your guard down for this Twins team. If you don't believe me, let us go through some of the things these two great ball clubs have in common.
     
    A couple of underdogs
    When experts started predicting what would happen that season, almost none of them believed the 2015 Royals would even make the playoffs. Which, in retrospect, is kind of odd, considering they had just been to the World Series less than six months earlier. In his opening piece, Jay Jaffe wrote about how the Royals were picked by specialists to make it to the postseason in only 13 of 149 predictions.
    Maybe this year’s Twins are not as much discredited as the Royals were then. Per that year’s PECOTA, Kansas City was expected to have a 72-90 record. Instead, they had a 95-67 one. This year’s PECOTA, at first, predicted an 81-81 record for the Twins, but a number of specialists considered them when predicting which team would win the AL Central.
    A month and a half into the season, with over 25% of games played, Minnesota has the second best in baseball, after holding the best one overall for over a week. The Twins are on pace to win almost 105 games. I don’t actually believe they will reach triple digits in wins, but at this point it’s plausible to believe that they will surpass the 90-win mark. Curiously enough, after 43 games, the 2015 Royals and the current Twins owned an identical record of 28-15.
    Another aspect that those teams have in common is the small Opening Day payroll. On that same Jaffe opening piece, he wrote that the Royals were the first team since the 2003 Marlins to win a World Series, even though they were at the bottom half of all MLB payrolls (17th, at $112.9 million). Per Spotrac, the Twins had the 18th payroll in the league on Opening Day, at $122.1 million, almost $12 million below league average.
    Even their track record leading up to their World Series success is somewhat similar to the Twins. Between 2004 and 2012, Kansas City had nine losing records, never winning more than 75 games and with an average of 66 wins per season on that span. Then, they won 86 and 89 games in the two seasons before their championship year. In the six seasons that follow their last division title, the Twins won an average of 67 games each season, including a 59-103 record in 2016, the worst one in club history. They went on to win 85 and make the playoffs for the first time in seven years in 2017 and came close to an eighty win season again last year, finishing with 78.
    I don’t believe in coincidences nor am I saying that all of these will have any effect on the outcome of this season. They won’t. But it’s fun to look at those facts, especially when basically no one believes smaller market teams can actually win a title. Let’s not buy into the notion that a team can only win a ring with a $200 million payroll.
    A steamroller offense
    Tom Verducci wrote, on that same SI issue, a piece entitled ‘Postmodern Swing’, which broke down the main strengths of that Royal offense. According to him, one of the most important features of that offense was its aggressiveness. The Royals saw the fewest pitches per plate appearance that year, with 3.71. Their philosophy was to chase after hittable pitches early and not give up easy strikes. Still, they were the team that struck out the least in MLB that year, with a 15.9% strikeout rate. They also average an MLB 7th best 4.4 runs per game. Which team has done something similar this year?
    Some weeks ago, Aaron Gleeman wrote this great piece explaining how the Twins have added power and, at the same time, have been striking out much less. They have been the team that struck out the third least in MLB, currently with a 19.5% strikeout rate. In comparison with the ‘15 Royals, Minnesota is also scoring more, with a 5.4 runs per game average, and has much more power, as they lead the MLB with .236 ISO, against .144 of those Royals. In terms of pitches per plate appearance, Minnesota also doesn’t see a lot of pitches, with an average of 3.78.
    Both these Twins and those Royals have something else in common. They both swing a lot and get good contact. Here is how they rank:
    2015 Royals
    Contact% - 81.9% (1st in MLB)
    O-Contact% - 68.8% (2nd)
    Swing% - 47.6% (9th)
    O-Swing% - 32.5% (5th)
     
    2019 Twins
    Contact% - 77.5% (6th in MLB)
    O-Contact% - 63.2% (7th)
    Swing% - 48.1% (4th)
    O-Swing% - 32.3% (6th)
    And one last nice coincidence that these two offenses have. In 2015, the Royals had Alcides Escobar as their leadoff man, even though he had a low OBP, contradicting modern tendencies. Escobar finished the season with a .293 OBP. He also saw very few pitches, with an average of 3.49 per plate appearance and swung at 51.3% of pitches and managed to make contact in 83.8% of them. Looking at Minnesota’s current leadoff man, Max Kepler, we also have an aggressive hitter (51.5 % Swing% and 82.2% Contact%), who sees fez pitches (3.56 per PA) and has a not so high base occupation (.308). According to Verducci’s piece, Escobar ‘set the tone’ for the rest of the Royal lineup, making opposing pitchers aware of the fact that they wouldn’t get any easy strikes.
    Quality pitching
    When we talk about the Royals pitching from that World Series campaign, the first thing that comes to our minds is their extraordinary bullpen. Then, one might think that here would lie the biggest difference between the two teams. Yes, that Wade Davis led group of relievers was no match for this current Minnesota ‘pen, but when comparing the two pitching staffs overall, we can find more identical features.
    Believe it or not, but the two pitching staffs have virtually the same numbers, with an inversion. Kansas City had a lights-out bullpen and a below average rotation, resulting in the 10th best ERA in the MLB. The Twins on the other hand, don’t have a stellar rotation nor bullpen, but both those groups are among the ten best in baseball.
    2015 Royals
    Overall: 3.74 ERA (10th), 4.04 FIP (15th)
    Starters: 4.34 ERA (22nd), 4.32 FIP (21st)
    Relievers: 2.72 ERA (2nd), 3.56 FIP (10th)
     
    2019 Twins
    Overall: 3.88 ERA (9th), 4.13 FIP (13th)
    Starters: 3.66 ERA (6th), 4.23 FIP (13th)
    Relievers: 4.31 ERA (19th), 3.96 FIP (9th)
    Davis was out of this world that season. If there has been a reliever more deserving than him of winning the first Cy Young award in the AL since 1992, I really believe he was the best candidate. Not only did he finish the regular season with a 0.94 ERA in 61 ⅓ innings pitched, but he also neared perfection during the postseason, posting a 0.00 ERA in eight games.
    I don’t see anyone within this Twins pitching staff (so far) with the ability to be what Davis was for that Royals team - but there’s no need for it. Up until now, Minnesota’s pitchers have done a decent job. The overall bullpen numbers are a bit tainted because of bad outings from young arms tested out of Rochester and because of slumps from, mainly, Trevor Hildenberger and Adalberto Mejía. But, as of this moment, six of the eight bullpen arms in the 25-man roster have an ERA of 2.76 or lower. Newcomer Austin Adams hasn’t pitched this season yet.
    Their rotations can’t be compared. At least until this moment, Twins starters have done an outstanding job. Maybe we’ve set the bar too low after years of bad rotations, but things have looked extremely nice. Which, with this whole exercise of comparing these two teams can be very exciting. The Royals were world champions even though the four starters they’ve used in the postseason combined for a 4.96 ERA in 16 starts.
    Deadline additions: a blueprint for the Twins
    To help end the 30-year World Series drought, the Royals traded for two key-pieces near the trade deadline. They traded Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb and Cody Reed for Reds’ superstar starter Johnny Cueto and sent Aaron Brooks and Sean Manaea to Oakland in exchange for veteran super utility player Ben Zobrist. Those proved to be vital additions to their goals.
    Zobrist had a solid last portion of the regular season with the Royals, slashing .284/.364/.453 (.816). During the postseason, he performed even better, hitting .303/.365/.515 (.880) and with five multi-hit games. But he also provided a much needed boost that might have made a big difference.
    Before his arrival, Royals second basemen slashed .231/.251/.319 (.570). In 35 games starting at that position in the remainder of the regular season, Zobrist hit .275/.348/.457 (.805). He also played 18 games as a LF, a position in which Kansas City had a good production, with .273/.383/.467 (.850). But Zobrist managed to top even that, hitting .299/.392/.463 (.855).
     
    Cueto on the other hand wasn’t as dominant as Zobrist, but he was still essential to the Kansas City success. He had a 4.76 ERA in 13 starts for the Royals during the regular season and a 5.40 ERA in the postseason, but those numbers alone can be very misleading. In four playoff starts, he had a mediocre outing (6.0 innings, 4 ER) in game 2 of the ALDS, a terrible one (2.0 IP, 8 ER) in game 3 of the ALCS, but two amazingly good ones to compensate. He pitched a on run complete game in the World Series, helping the Royals to open a 2-0 lead in the series.
    So what’s the lesson the Twins can learn out of the Royals shopping in the 2015 trade deadline? It’s hard to imagine, at least based on this first quarter of the season, that Minnesota is going after big names to help their offense. I mean, all help is welcomed, but if they had to invest top prospects in one area, I don’t believe the offense would be their priority.
    But when we look at their pitching staff, you can see a lot of room for improvement. As well as the rotation has pitched so far, the Twins would benefit a lot from a better arm to fill the gap Michael Pineda has been leaving until this moment. He currently has a 5.85 ERA, the worst among starters. The bullpen also could use some help - even more than the rotation. Bottomline is, it doesn’t matter how well the arms might be doing, with their clear exceptions, of course, shopping for one or two dominant arms could make a difference between a World Series victory and a quick visit to the postseason.
    And who could be the best candidates? Well, if you’re talking about bringing in a starter and a reliever, one can only consider signing the two biggest unsigned names in the last offseason: former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel and superstar closer Craig Kimbrel. But this would also represent a great risk, given the fact we don’t know in what shape they would show up. Also, there’s very little, if any, indications that Minnesota would be willing to pay them. I mean, if there’s any interest, why didn’t they pull the trigger yet?
    Since that’s the most unlikely option, we should look at what possible options they could go after via trade. For rotation help, I believe the best choices that they would have would be Madison Bumgarner or Stephen Strasburg, MadBum being my favorite. For the bullpen, my favorite candidate would be old friend Liam Hendriks. But there are many more options around and I’m sure the Twins front office has a keen eye for that job.
    In conclusion, smaller market teams will always raise more suspiscions than inspire confidence among non-fans. They will always doubt those teams. But the 2015 Royals are the closest example we have that this dream is doable. And, as shown during this article, they have a long list of common features with this year’s Twins. So, it’s OK to believe.
  25. Like
    Thiéres Rabelo got a reaction from wickedslider for a blog entry, The importance of Castro   
    I have seen complaints about many Twins players so far across our comment sections and Twitter. Even Nelson Cruz, who’s been almost unanimously admired by the fanbase and may be the team’s most threatening bat. It happens. No one is to tell you how you should think, no matter how statistically unusual your opinion might be. But there’s one particular take that has spread quickly all over Twins Territory and it puzzles me.
     
    I don’t think there is any Twin who has been more complained about this season than Jason Castro has. Even though I don’t agree with the large number of fans (at least that I have seen so far) that have been vocal about wanting him gone from the Twins, it’s completely understandable. Afterall, Minnesota’s offense has been amazing, especially after this weekend’s series in Baltimore. Castro, very obviously, hasn’t been nearly as productive as his teammates. But ditching him might be too simple of a solution and, in my opinion, not the wisest of choices.
     
    Castro is in the last year of his three-year contract with the Twins, signed in late 2016. Per Baseball Reference, he is the third highest paid position player of the roster this season, in which he is owed $ 8 million. At 31 and with two very hot bats battling him for the position of catcher, it’s very unlikely that Minnesota will renew its commitment with Castro after the season is finished. But that doesn’t mean he serves the team no purpose this season.
     
    Since the start of the 2017 season, the Twins haven’t won more games while starting any other catcher than Castro. Here’s the team’s record with each starting catcher since then:
     
    Jason Castro: 69-62 (.526)
    Mitch Garver: 38-48 (.441)
    Chris Gimenez: 32-29 (.524)
    Bobby Wilson: 24-21 (.533)
    Willians Astudillo: 10-8 (.555)
    Juan Graterol: 2-0 (1.000)
     
    Whether you associate the team’s record with Castro’s presence or not, the numbers don’t lie. The Twins have been a winning team with him behind home plate. But, of course, this could be highly circumstantial and it’s too hard of a connection to make. But, wait. The list of perks from having Castro on board goes on.
     
    The biggest point used by the anti-Castro party so far is how bad he’s been on offense, not only this year, but ever since he came to Minnesota. And that becomes a much stronger point when you have Mitch Garver blossoming into one of the best offensive catchers in the game and the also the Willians Astudillo phenomenon captivating our hearts each day more. A lot of folks label Castro as dead weight on offense. But, is he?
     
    Well, he isn’t, for sure, as prolific as the remainder of the Twins lineup. But, to be fair, neither are two thirds of all MLB lineups. But that doesn’t mean Castro hasn’t done his part. Right now, he holds the team’s fourth highest OBP, with .360. Other than that, that’s tied for MLB’s 12th best OBP among catchers (min. 25 PA). I’m sorry, but one doesn’t just throw away a Joe Mauer-type occupation of bases just like that.
     
    Besides that, Castro’s .333 OBP as an 8th batter ranks 15th in MLB among all such hitters (min. 21 PA). This may sound like very little, but when you look at the fact that Minnesota has one of the league’s best bottom part of the lineup, you can tell how important Castro’s contribution really is. Currently, when taking into account the positions seven, eight and nine of the lineup, Minnesota has a .273 AVG (3rd best in the league), .346 OBP (4th), .487 SLG (3rd) and .833 OPS (3rd). Say what you want about how Byron Buxton is the biggest responsible for such productivity. You’re right. But you can’t realistically say that Castro hasn’t done his part.
     
    Then, one might point out that Garver and Astudillo have been incomparably more productive on offense and one would definitely be right. They both have been raking, especially my former UNM colleague. If offense was the only aspect on the table, there wouldn’t be a lot of reasons to start Castro over the other two much more than Ehire Adrianza over Jorge Polanco. It wouldn’t make any sense. Well, but it isn’t.
     
    At the same proportion that Castro’s offense is no match to his competition, his defense would similarly be no match to his competition. And I’m not just talking about widely explored pitch framing stats, Castro’s biggest advertisement tool throughout his career. Twins pitchers have performed much better while being caught by him than by any of the other two.
     
    Jason Castro (63.0 innings) - 3.57 ERA, .703 OPS, 65% strikes
    Mitch Garver (67.0 innings) - 5.78 ERA, .773 OPS, 61.8% strikes
    Willians Astudillo (39.0 innings) - 3.69 ERA, .677 OPS, 65.2% strikes
     
    Finally digging into the somewhat popular pitch framing stats, by using Baseball Prospectus’ Framing Runs metric, we can notice that Castro is the 11th best catcher at it in the MLB, with +0.6. Astudillo ranks 51st, with -0.2 and Garver ranks 60th, with -0.5. This is not a hit at Garver, whom I absolutely enjoy seeing play and am sure is going to be the team’s main catcher for years, but he is still not on the same defensive level as Castro is. But, hey, that’s not even a bad thing, because now we get to Castro’s biggest importance for the Twins.
     
    It’s obvious that Garver can hit. We’ve known this since he was a minor leaguer. But picture this: what if we could get Garver’s offense and combine it with Castro’s defense? That, ladies and gentlemen, could be Jason’s biggest contribution for Minnesota. I have been personally tracking each pitcher strike percentage with each catcher on this spreadsheet since the beginning of the season and I can tell you how much Garver has been evolving. By mentoring Garver, especially defense-wise, Castro could lead him into the Twins best catcher since… well, you know who.
     
    Once again, let me make it clear that I’m not trying to change anyone’s opinion here. But I do give a piece of advice. Instead of getting angry and vent over how bad Castro’s bat is, why not look at him as a source of improvement for one of the Twins biggest hopes for the future? I don’t believe it’s good to take his help for granted. Besides, like demonstrated in the beginning of this article, the Twins are a winning team with Castro on board. It has been like that in 2017, culminating in their first playoffs appearance in almost a decade. They were dreadful without him last year. Now, they are back, at least momentarily, at the top of the Central. This can’t be a coincidence.
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