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  1. My proposal; send Berrios, Buxton, Rogers, and Sano (while also paying for the rest of his contract, including buyout. If the Padres pick up the option, they send the buyout back to the Twins). The Twins get from the Padres Gore, Abrams, Hassell, Haynes, and Lizarraga. The Padres immediately increase their chances to win the West (it seems likely the two wild cards will come from the NL West; do you really want to worry about having to beat the Dodgers in a 50-50 game?). They also keep all of those guys for next year, giving them a nice two year window to win a title. The Twins signal they are in rebuilding mode, but get a potential front-line starter, a guy who should be their starting shortstop next year, a replacement for Buxton in center, and two lottery ticket arms. If this hits, the Twins will have a core of Kiriloff, Polanco, Abrams, Miranda, Arraez, Hassell, Larnach, and Jeffers in the field, with Gore, Maeda, Duran, Balazovic, and Winder in the rotation in 2023 (if they trade Donaldson, which they should, even if they have to eat some money). With that core, and all kinds of money to spend, the Twins could be a dark horse in 2023, and a serious contender in 2024 (think the 2020/2021 White Sox timeline).
  2. The Twins look to even the series tonight in a 6:15 tilt against the Houston Astros. The Twins version of an ace, José Berríos, will face Luis Garcia of the Astros. Garcia has impressive numbers. I don't know anything about him. Yesterday, the Twins hit four homers (all solos) and still lost to Houston 6-4. The Twins lead MLB in homers, yet their offense is only 11th best in scoring runs, while they are third worst allowing runs. Too many solo homers, too few innings where hits were strung together. A couple of comments about the big talker--substances pitchers have been using to "get a grip" and spin the ball effectively. Offense is way down again this year. Just about every box score I check, I see hitters in the lineup who aren't over the Mendoza line. Strikeouts are continuing to surge and an old timer like me sees pitcher after pitcher with velocities over 95 mph and wonders what Juan Berenguer and his 90 mph fastball would do in today's climate. I'd personally like to see the ball in play more and more facets of the game on display. When there are 20 strikeouts in a game, there are fewer chances for great defensive plays. All of the all or nothing at bats also discourages base stealing and advancing on the bases. Maybe something will happen to change the focus of the game. What I still love about baseball is that you never know with even near certainty how a game will play out. The pitchers might enter the game with terrible stats, but for one day, anything can happen. Over the course of a season, teams with better health and talent win out, but on any given day, the lesser team can win. Pitchers: PLAYER W-L ERA WHIP IP H K BB HR L. Garcia 5-3 2.75 1.00 59.0 40 68 19 8 J. Berrios 6-2 3.58 1.11 70.1 59 73 19 8 Lineups--Astros HITTERS H-AB RBI HR SB AVG J. Altuve2B 64-217 30 12 2 .295 M. BrantleyLF 59-180 17 3 0 .328 A. Bregman3B 63-216 33 7 1 .292 Y. AlvarezDH 59-194 33 8 0 .304 Y. Gurriel1B 71-213 46 10 1 .333 K. TuckerRF 60-230 40 11 5 .261 R. GarciaSS 4-26 2 0 0 .154 C. McCormickCF 15-76 19 5 2 .197 M. MaldonadoC 27-159 17 4 0 .17 Twins HITTERS H-AB RBI HR SB AVG J. Polanco2B 51-211 27 8 3 .242 J. Donaldson3B 44-176 26 10 0 .250 N. CruzDH 53-184 30 12 1 .288 T. LarnachLF 22-88 8 3 0 .250 M. Sano1B 30-165 31 13 0 .182 A. KirilloffRF 30-115 18 4 0 .261 N. GordonCF 10-27 2 1 3 .370 A. SimmonsSS 41-163 14 2 0 .252 B. RortvedtC 5-36 3 1 0 .139
  3. Catch-up The Twins log their 6th shutout as a club, 5th at home, yesterday in a 5-0 victory capped off late by a mammoth 469ft missile by Alex Avila. Tonight the Twins and the White square off with both of their aces, Lucas Giolito and Jose Berrios, set to toot the rubber. Pre-game 6:50pmCT Where to watch. Virtual Twins Network AL Central Standings 1. Twins 31-20 2. Indians 27-25 3. Royals 26-25 4. White Sox 21-29 5. Tigers 19-31 Starting Pitchers Chicago: Lucas Giolito* 4-2, 1.77 ERA, 66.0 IP, 63 K'sMinnesota: Jose Berrios 5-1, 3.93 ERA, 55.0 IP, 58 K's*=Lucas Giolito: 2nd in AL, ERA (1.77) Chicago Batting Order SS Tim Anderson .254 BA, 3 HR, 15 RBI 3B Yoan Moncada .274 BA, 5 HR, 23 RBI 1B Jose Abreu .241 BA, 3 HR, 16 RBI DH Edwin Encarnacion .214 BA,11 HR, 26 RBI C Yasmani Grandal .270 BA, 5 HR, 19 RBI LF Eloy Jimenez* .303 BA, 17 HR, 37 RBI RF Nomar Mazara .265 BA, 6 HR, 15 RBI CF Luis Robert .290 BA, 5 HR, 9 RBI 2B Leury Garcia .222 BA, 5 HR, 18 RBI*=Eloy Jimenez: T-1st in MLB, HR (17). Minnesota Batting Order C Mitch Garver* .337 BA, 17 HR, 34 RBI SS Jorge Polanco .284 BA, 1 HR, 37 RBI 3B Josh Donaldson .228 BA, 3 HR, 15 RBI 1B Miguel Sano .296 BA, 16 HR, 34 RBI DH Nelson Cruz .259 BA, 9 HR, 29 RBI LF Eddie Rosario .249 BA, 9 HR, 23 RBI RF Max Kepler .226 BA, 11 HR, 20 RBI 2B Luis Arraez .323 BA, 1 HR, 9 RBI CF Jake Cave .300 BA, 0 HR, 6 RBI*= Mitch Garver: 1st in AL, OPS (1.111) Bomba Tracker - 2020: 85 - 2019 through 51 games: 100 Storylines 1. On paper yesterday's game did not look like a pitcher's duel but it ended up being great performances by both starters. Today, the paper clearly points toward a pitchers duel as the ace of each club toots the rubber for game two of the series, 2. In Chiacgo's last 14 games they have scored over 4 runs only 3 times. And the last time Chicago lost to Minnesota and had a chance to answer this season they beat the Twins 9-2 in Chicago, so expect a hearty pre-game preach from Renteria to try and light a fire in Chicago. 3. For Twins fans, Twingo will be returning Saturday and Sunday if no winners on Saturday.
  4. Catch-UpThe Twins biggest test all year, the Dodgers biggest test all year, and boy was game one worth the price of admission. A back and forth chess-match ballgame yesterday went the way of the Twins in a 3-2 victory but today is the game we've had circled on the calendar all year. It's Clayton Kershaw versus Jose Berrios...need I say more. Pre-game6:45pm Where to watchhttps://www.twitch.tv/thuuuuney/ AL Central StandingsMinnesota: 17-13 Cleveland: 18-15 Kansas City: 16-14 Chicago: 13-18 Detroit: 8-22 Starting PitchersTwins: Jose Berrios 3-1, 5.59 ERA, 29.0IP, 32 K'sDodgers: Clayton Kershaw** 4-0, 2.57 ERA, 42.0IP, 41 K's**= Clayton Kershaw: T-1st in NL, Complete Game Shutouts (2). Twins Batting OrderRF Max Kepler .232 BA, 7 HR, 10 RBI SS Jorge Polanco .286 BA, 4 HR, 19 RBI C Mitch Garver* .292 BA, 7 HR, 14 RBI 1B Miguel Sano .270 BA, 7 HR, 12 RBI LF Eddie Rosario .238 BA, 3 HR, 12 RBI 3B Josh Donaldson .280 BA, 2 HR, 11 RBI 2B Luis Arraez .308 BA, 1 HR, 6 RBI SP Jose Berrios .143 BA, 0 HR, 0 RBI in 14 Career At-Bats. CF Byron Buxton .247 BA, 5 HR, 11 RBI*=Mitch Garver: Leads all AL Catchers in HR,BA (7),(.292) respectfully. Dodgers Batting Order RF Mookie Betts .317 BA, 5 HR, 16 RBI 1B Max Muncy .284 BA, 10 HR, 27 RBI 3B Justin Turner .290 BA, 5 HR, 21 RBI CF Cody Bellinger* .348 BA, 8 HR, 28 RBI SS Corey Seager .222 BA, 5 HR, 23 RBI C Will Smith .221 BA, 2 HR, 7 RBI LF Joc Pederson .273 BA, 5 HR, 15 RBI 2B Gavin Lux .352 BA, 1 HR, 12 RBI SP Clayton Kershaw .133 BA, 0 HR, 0 RBI*= Cody Bellinger: 2nd in NL, RBI (28). Bomba Tracker - 2019 through 30 games: 52 - 2020: 43 Storylines 1. The Twins handed the Dodgers only their second lose of the year at Dodger Stadium yesterday and today it will be a tall order to make it two in a row. In the Live-Ball Era (since 1920) Clayton Kershaw's home ERA (2.15) is the best by any pitcher with at least 1,000 IP at home. 2. Although it's been a rough start to the season, LaMaKina has had some dazzling starts and he'll need his best stuff if he wants to stay toe to toe with Kershaw tonight. 3. The Twins are 12-12 in the month of April after going 5-1 in March and with this being the final game of April, Rocco's club will look to make it two winning months in a row while the Dodgers have gone 18-6 in the month of April after going 5-0 in March.
  5. Promotion Night I thought one of the things missing without having Twins baseball at Target Field was the promotions they'd have at the ballpark so tonight is our first one! I have partnered up with SotaStick and are giving away this shirt tonight to the first person who wins Twingo. For Twingo comment which of the four boards you are choosing to play with on Twitch and then you are stuck with that board. If there are no winners prize will carry into Saturday's game at 1:10pmCT Twingo ONLY for Boston game at 7:00pm (Will explain rules during Seattle game at 5pm).https://docs.google.com/document/d/1t94Ajsn-YRACuXNu_yySn2xA161f70a0zsMslpt3uoo/edit?usp=sharing (Link for Twingo Cards)https://sotastickco.com/collections/mn-baseball/products/homer-t-shirt (Shirt being given away). Catch-up After a "rain-out,"(NFL Draft) yesterday the Twins will play a doubleheader today against Seattle and Boston. The Twins look to even the series with Seattle with Berrios on the mound and then for game two look to take game one behind Jake Odorizzi. Pre-game 4:40pmCT GM1, 6:50pmCT GM2 Where to watch. Stream AL Central Standings 1. Indians 17-10 2. Royals 13-11 3. Twins 13-12 4. White Sox 10-16 5. Tigers 5-20 Starting Pitchers (Game One) Seattle Taijuan Walker 0-3. 4.82 ERA, 28.0IP, 24 K'sMinnesota Jose Berrios 2-1, 6.17 ERA, 23.1IP, 27 K'sStarting Pitchers (Game Two) Boston Ryan Weber 0-0, 3.09ERA, 23.1IP, 14 K'sMinnesota Jake Odorizzi 1-3, 4.78ERA, 26.1IP, 26 K'sSeattle Batting Order 2B Dee Gordon .314 BA, 0 HR, 4 RBI CF Mallek Smith .244 BA, 2 HR, 9 RBI RF Mitch Haniger .245 BA, 5 HR, 13 RBI 1B Daniel Vogelbach .254 BA, 2 HR, 6 RBI C Tom Murphy .250 BA, 6 HR, 14 RBI 3B Kyle Seager .221 BA, 6 HR, 7 RBI LF Braden Bishop .247 BA, 0 HR, 4 RBI SS J.P. Crawford .198 BA, 4 HR, 13 RBI DH Dylan Moore .194 BA, 1 HR, 4 RBIMinnesota Batting Order DH Max Kepler .232 BA, 5 HR, 8 RBI SS Jorge Polanco .288 BA, 3 HR, 14 RBI 1B Miguel Sano .267 BA, 6 HR, 11 RBI RF Nelson Cruz .253 BA, 4 HR, 15 RBI LF Eddie Rosario .267 BA, 3 HR, 12 RBI 3B Josh Donaldson .272 BA, 2 HR, 8 RBI 2B Luis Arraez .286 BA, 1 HR, 4 RBI C Alex Avila .294 BA, 1 HR, 1 RBI CF Jake Cave .250 BA, 0 HR, 3 RBI________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Batting Orders Game Two. (Boston) RF Alex Verdugo .293 BA, 0HR, 5 RBI SS Xander Bogaerts .353 BA, 6HR, 17 RBI 3B Rafael Devers .264 BA, 4HR, 17 RBI DH J.D. Martinez .330 BA, 8 HR, 21 RBI LF Andrew Benintendi .203 BA, 2 HR, 5 RBI CF Jackie Bradley Jr. .145 BA, 1 HR, 3 RBI 2B Jose Peraza .265 BA, 1 HR, 6 RBI 1B Mitch Moreland .148 BA, 2 HR, 10 RBI C Christian Vazquez .156 BA, 2 HR, 11 RBITenative Twins Batting Order RF Max Kepler SS Jorge Polanco 1B Miguel Sano DH Nelson Cruz LF Eddie Rosario C Mitch Garver 3B Josh Donaldson 2B Luis Arraez CF Byron BuxtonBomba Tracker - 2020: 36 - 2019 through 25 games: 49 Storylines 1. This will be the Twins second doubleheader of the year, the last time was in Seattle where the Twins swept the two-game set 10-2 and 6-2. 2. Twingo night one again but there is a giveaway with it tonight and that will coincide with game two of the doubleheader as the Twins begin a three game set to top off their homestand with the Boston Red Sox. 3. After the series with Boston the Twins will be off on Monday, followed by a road trip in Cali as they take on the Dodgers followed by the Angels.
  6. Catch-up While Fulmer goes 5 innings only allowing one run, he was bested by Jhoulys Chacin who nearly had the Twins first complete game of the year as the Twins take game one of the series 4-0. Game two of the series will feature the tail end of the Tigers rotation in Jordan Zimmerman, while the Twins will bring out their ace Jose Berrios looking to bounceback from his last Target Field start (0.2IP, 6R, 4 BB). Pre-game 12:45pmCT Where to watch https://www.twitch.tv/thuuuuney/ AL Central Standings 1. Indians 16-6 2. Twins 11-9 3. Royals 10-10 4. White Sox 9-12 5. Tigers 4-15 Starting Pitchers Detroit: Jordan Zimmerman 0-1. 9.82 ERA, 14.2P, 11 K's Minnesota: Jose Berrios 1-1, 5.89 ERA, 18.1IP, 20 K's Detroit Batting Order CF Cameron Maybin .290 BA, 2 HR, 8 RBI SS Niko Goodrum .250 BA, 1 HR, 8 RBI DH Miguel Cabrera .185 BA, 0 HR, 5 RBI 1B C.J. Cron .238 BA, 0 HR, 0 RBI 2B Jonathan Schoop .125 BA, 2 HR, 6 RBI 3B Harold Castro** .378 BA, 2 HR, 8 RBI RF Christian Stewart .262 BA, 2 HR, 11 RBI C Austin Romine .281 BA, 1 HR, 5 RBI LF Victor Reyes .300 BA, 1 HR, 5 RBI**= Harold Castro: 3rd in AL, Batting Average (.378). Minnesota Batting Order RF Max Kepler .213 BA, 4 HR, 7 RBI SS Jorge Polanco .287 BA, 2 HR, 12 RBI 3B Josh Donaldson .286 BA, 2 HR, 6 RBI DH Nelson Cruz .276 BA, 3 HR, 11 RBI C Alex Avila** .400 BA, 0 HR, 0 RBI 1B Miguel Sano .230 BA, 4 HR, 8 RBI 2B Luis Arraez .295 BA, 1 HR, 4 RBI LF Eddie Rosario .268 BA, 3 HR, 10 RBI CF Byron Buxton .210 BA, 3 HR, 4 RBI**= Alex Avila: Former Tiger makes his debut for the first time in a Twins uniform against his old club as Mitch Garver gets the day off. Bomba Tracker - 2020: 27 - 2019 through 20 games: 36 Storylines 1. On the road, Berrios has been great, going 17.2IP with a 3.13 ERA. But today he'll make his second appearance in front of the Twins faithful looking to bounceback after his rough first start, (0.2IP, 6R, 4BB) and win the series. 2. It's early, but Harold Castro has been lighting the world on fire here early in April. 3rd in Batting Average and 4th in Hits, the best bat in the Tigers lineup graces the lineup again today after getting a day off yesterday. 3. The Twins are currently 6-8 this April and haven't had a winning streak since their five gamer back in March 28th-April 1st. So the Twins look to build some consistency while Detroit looks to end their losing streak and even the score in Minnesota!
  7. I’m going to dive into blogging here and see where it goes. Sometimes, as a writer, the hardest thing is to come up with an idea that’s worth writing about and that people will actually be interested to read. I expect that to be my struggle, but I’ve got what I think will be an interesting series to kick things off, and maybe that will be the extent of my contributions. Time will tell. In any case, nobody wants to read about me. You want to see what information you can glean about our Twins. Given the rampant discussions on Twitter and on various blogs regarding the state of the Twins’ pitching staff, I thought it would be interesting to do a series on the numbers underlying the starters currently projected to be in the mix for the Twins. While I’m sure others will make starts this season, here are the guys I’m hoping to work my way through for this series: Jose Berrios Jake Odorizzi Michael Pineda Rich Hill Homer Bailey Devin Smeltzer Lewis Thorpe Randy Dobnak By way of framing the series, I think there are pretty clearly three different groups. The known (but in some cases misunderstood) quantities, the new veterans, and the prospects. When the season starts, we know Pineda and Hill will not be in the rotation, and we know Berrios, Odorizzi, and Bailey will be (barring injury, of course). That being the case, I decided to start off by diving into the three prospects (a term I’m using loosely, given the MLB experience they got last year), starting with Dobnak. A common question we hear, read, and think to ourselves as we are trying to fall asleep: “Can Randy Dobnak be a key piece of a successful playoff run?” I can cut to the chase and just say the answer is yes, but if you want to know why, go ahead and keep reading the words. Let’s start by looking at Dobnak’s surface-level stats: 28.1 IP – lots and lots of caveats about the small sample 7.31 K/9 – not inspiring, but we will need to take a look at his swinging strike rates 1.59 BB/9 – elite, but let’s see how often he’s really in the strike zone 1.59 ERA – wow, but a lot of this depends on the above 2.90 FIP – also wow 3.77 xFIP – still wow, but we will need to look into his batted ball tendencies because 0.32 HR/9 is the reason for the jump from his FIP to his xFIP. Okay, so we have a few things to dive into: Swinging Strike Rates, which are generally highly correlated to K/9 Zone Percentage, which is highly correlated to BB/9 Batted Ball Tendencies, which are going to be a bit more difficult to use to extrapolate, given the small sample. Getting hitters to swing and miss, and throwing strikes are generally skills the pitcher possesses (or does not), while the results – K/9, BB/9, HR/9, etc. Fluctuate due to randomness, umpire tendencies, opponents’ skill, etc. (esp in small samples). Here’s what we see for Dobnak on those plate discipline skills: 43.8% of his pitches were in the strike zone 12.9% of his pitches resulted in a swinging strike Putting those numbers into context, 61 pitchers qualified for the ERA title last season, so the median pitcher would be the one whose result was 31st among qualified starters. For swinging strike, it turns out that is a couple of familiar names: Jose Berrios and Homer Bailey at 10.8 percent. Looking at zone percentage, there is a three way tie among Jeff Smardzija, Mike Soroka, and Bailey again at 42.6 percent (a bit of a preview of the Bailey post. Hmm). By now you’ve surely noticed that Dobnak’s numbers were markedly above the median. In fact, his zone percentage of 43.8% would have tied him with Zach Eflin for 20th among all qualified starting pitchers, just a tick below Noah Syndergaard at 43.9 percent. His swinging strike rate of 12.9% puts him in a three way tie with Charlie Morton and Clayton Kershaw, who were tied for 14th among qualified starters. Obviously good company. It gets better. If you look at qualified starters who posted at least a 12.9% swinging strike rate combined with a 43.9% zone percentage – that rare combination of being in the zone and missing bats – here is the list you get for 2019: Gerrit Cole – 16.8%/45.2% Max Scherzer – 16.4%/45.6% Justin Verlander – 16.1%/45.2% Lucas Giolito – 15%/47.2% Yu Darvish – 13.4%/44.5% Charlie Morton – 12.9%/45.1% Just missed: Clayton Kershaw German Marquez Lance Lynn Noah Syndergaard Trevor Bauer Walker Buehler Does this mean Dobnak is in the company of these elite aces? Of course not. What it does suggest, though, is that his success was not a fluke. He displayed an elite combination of skills in missing bats (which generates strikeouts) and living in the strike zone (which prevents walks). This suggests that he has considerable upside. He also threw essentially a major league innings load last year – compiling more than 160 innings across 4 levels from High A to the majors. This suggests he’s capable of providing the Twins with volume as well as quality, something that is not always the case for prospect pitchers. There are reasons to be worried, though. The difference between Dobnak’s FIP and his xFIP was driven by an unsustainably low 5.3% HR/FB rate. The lowest HR/FB rate among qualified starters was 9.3%, and given Dobnak’s 42.5% hard hit rate, it’s safe to assume more of those fly balls will reach the seats going forward. That said, if he regresses to the mean in HR/9 and posts 150 innings with a sub-4.00 ERA, that’s obviously a serviceable starting pitcher. And, given that FIP and xFIP were driven by his 7.31 K/9, if those swinging strikes turn that into a 9.00+ K/9, he has considerable upside to deliver a lower ERA.
  8. Third and last in my series on the conundrums of protecting players from Rule V, getting rid of deadwood, choosing what to do about free agents and lining up trades. The Outfield and Infield had a lot of names and decisions, but nothing like the pitching staff. Here we have our Ace – Berrios – who has worn down in August as an annual ritual letting others that the Ace spot until he recovers – and hopefully he can. Looking at performance is not just a calendar event – we might also look at who he has been suffering against and it is not an all-star group of teams. So, is he an ACE? We have no one else and we still have him under control. So, do we extend him? Putting an Ace in front of him, adding more quality to the rotation would do a lot. Behind him is Pineda, but he is unsigned after this year and we just paid for two years to get one. Do we resign? Will he resign? Odorizzi was an All Star then he stunk and now he looks good but he is a free agent. Do we resign him? Gibson continues to perform as an underperforming pitcher with potential, but he is too old to have potential anymore. Do we resign him. Perez has an option – do we take it? Great start, horrible middle, is he okay now? Not after his performance with against the Tigers! Smeltzer came in and looked good, then he looked bad, and now he looks like a gimmick that might not have a lot of upside – is he in the rotation next year? Thorpe has stuff, he has looked good. He looks like he should be in the rotation next year. Graterol looks and sounds good because we actually have not seen him. Is he a starter or reliever next year or is he a bust? Stewart has been up and down and frankly he looks like a pitcher who has shown us all he has and it is not great. Littell seems to have risen and looks good, but that is as a reliever. Can he start again? Should he? Poppen has some stuff, but is it enough for the MLB staff? The Pen has Rogers on the top – can he keep it up? Romo has been great – do we keep him? Dyson has done well – is he long range? Duffey and May look like they are ready to settle in to the BP. Who do we keep? And Who do we let go? The starting rotation has the most fluidity. Cody Stashak has debuted – did you like what you saw? Who is Randy Dobnak? Is Gonsalves still a prospect or someone who missed his turn? Did Romero get moved to the pen to be moved to the DFA list? Has Ryne Harper had his fifteen minutes of fame? Can Hildenberger come back or was his strange delivery a short-term success? Marcos Diplan is a name that came in a trade but has not grown into a person of prominence. And can Alcala jump to the pen and be a difference maker? That is a long list. We do not know if there will be a trade – we do not know who will DFA nor do we know the trade scenarios. Is Balazovic ready soon? Is there a FA we can afford and attract from other teams? Is there a trade? Must Keep - Berrios, Rogers, Duffy, May, Littell, Thorpe, Graterol Want to keep - Pineda, Odorizzi, Romo, Dyson Say good-bye - Gibson, Perez, Gonsalves, Harper ???? - Dobnak, Stashak, Romero, Diplan, Hildenberger,
  9. Today is the day that MLB names the pitchers and remaining members of the All-Star team. Each team must have one representative. The Twins already have Jorge Polanco going to Cleveland as the AL's starting shortstop. I am wondering how many more will be named today. To me, there are probably six or seven more candidates and my best guess is that the Twins will end up with three All-Stars total, kind of a low number considering how ell the team has play in the first three months. CJ Cron, Max Kepler, Nelson Cruz and Eddie Rosario all could make cases to be selected to the team. On the pitching side, Jose Berríos and Jake Odorizzi have good numbers and high win totals and Taylor Rogers is my sneaky pick to get an All-Star nod. What do you think Twins fans? Is three enough, is four too many? Are there others who should be considered?
  10. Quick introduction for the third game of four in the Twins @ Seattle series. The Twins are now 29-15 (14-7 on the road) and lead the AL Central by 5 games. After a 13-2 start, Seattle has fallen below .500. These are two of the leading home run hitting teams in MLB. José Berríos vs. Wade LeBlanc. Twins 29-15 Polanco ss Schoop 2b González 1b Rosario lf Cron dh Kepler rf Sanó 3b Castro c Buxton cf Berríos p Mariners 22-25 Gordon 2b Haniger rf Vogelbach dh Encarnación 1b Narváez c Healy 3b Bruce lf Crawford ss Smith cf Le Blanc p
  11. The Twins have played 3% of the scripted schedule, and are on pace to eclipse 130 wins, and a meager 32 losses. Not to mention the Twins are well on their way to capture the division title, but would only be slated to the second seed in the conference seeding chart, playing the mediocre, (but good?) Seattle Mariners in the divisional round. HOLD YOUR HORSES, PEOPLE Consider this. If the entire season was tabulated in the form of a baseball game, meaning that each of the 54 outs recorded in a game would be translated to represent each of the 162 scheduled games, the Twins haven’t even recorded the second out of that very game. That’s a super complicated way of synthesizing that the season is grueling monster, and that 4 games can't really convey any semblance of what the Twins midseason form might be, much less their state come season’s end. Sample size is a word occasionally tossed around as a gauge to what’s legit or not, and no matter how much of a buzzkill word sample size is, it's a small sample size. You can’t go wrong with 4-1, but playing a awfully decimated Indians club and the tantalizingly pesky and obnoxious, but inferior Royals rosters does nothing in solidifying or cementing our far-fetched hopes to a stellar season. So people don't get all worked up or hyped that Byron Buxton’s hitting .500, or that Marwin Gonzalez cannot hold the trigger on a curveball for his life, or that Willians Astudillo is current sizing up as the best hitter in the history of baseball, because the reality of it is that these players either scorching hot or ice cold will eventually fall in line with their typical production outputs, UNLESS there's some superior extraneous force that might mitigate someone’s (wink*wink*Logan Morrison wink*wink*) career slashline. Typically in baseball you don’t see dramatic changes in someone’s batting line for example, and prospect development is a great indicator of this, unless there’s a change in scenery, or shift in a regime (managerial usually). Here is one physical scenario. I wanted to chose someone someone semi-millennial, preferably still active to debate this debate or myth of the hot-hand effect. *(Statistics calibrated in the American League) During the 2013 season, Jose Altuve didn’t have a firm-grip in the major leagues. On a rather atrocious Astros club that had stunk for a long time, spanning back to the Carlos Beltran days, they were scuffling and being spanked in the shadows of their unforsaken superstar. Under manager Bo Porter, unbeknownst to the Astros that they would have 2 MVP candidates and Hank Aaron best hitter awards, under their 2013 disposal (JD Martinez and Jose Altuve), they wound up a travesty rather than a juggernaut, drowning under 4 consecutive seasons of sub-60 win play. After Martinez was run outta town, Jose Altuve barely scraped by as a undrafted free agent and frankly played above expectation with all-star accolade to this credit. Nonetheless he hit .276 during the beginning month of April in 2014, pretty accurate representation of his career to that point. From that point on, Altuve wound up hitting a whopping .357, and vaulting his name into the MVP conversation, and having the best batting average, most hits, and 10th best OPS in the AL for what it's worth. A bargain in my boat, for a player that hadn’t exceeded an average above .290 and amassed a 6.1 WAR after a 2013 WAR of just 1.0! That’s one way you could express how little the first handful of games has on the rest of the season. The Twins postseason road down look as bleak as it did a few years back, however there’s little doubt that the behind the Yanks or Sox, their is a tier of about 3-5 clubs that could contest for the final spot and courtesy to play the latter of the loaded brethren in the AL East. The Rays and Athletics are also both, ballclubs that could collectively catch fire at any point if all things go right respectively, and the Angels aren’t a snooze themselves with perennial sluggers who could easily foil the Twins plan. The final spot should be hotly contested and the Twins need to orchestrate a bunch of runs, and configure somewhat of a capable staff, that has room for improvement. So, if your left partly conforming, or a down the middle perception on this club, that’s okay. I reckon that is the first team in years, that in every department of the roster I could point to that position group carrying the load. The offense is as dynamic and stacked in this century as it ever will be, the starting pitching staff possesses some electric and bat-missing stuff, and the bullpen has the makings of a shutdown backend if things goes according to plan. Not enough yet to be playoff or bust, but something around the ballpark would be fair. So I caution those jumping on the bandwagon and already scoreboard watching, to take the opening week of games with a grain of salt. So those needless stats of the 1 HR, and the insane 0-fer that Eddie Rosario snapped don’t really have tangible effect through the course of a season. Jose Berrios’s 10k, 7⅔ outing was impressive and all that, but really does it do a testament on Jose’s stuff or really just crucifies how mishmashy the Cleveland lineup is in its patchwork. How many times have we heard that the road to the Twins postseason runs will go as far as Buxton and Sano goes? Well the reality check is, Buxton is showing signs of improvement and candidly is playing as purposefully as I've ever seen and Sano isn’t on the roster. More or less, to the antithesis of Sano’s and Buxton’s liability to this team, is how important the newcomers need to perform to keep this team from falling off a cliff. Is it to early to say, that I sense collapse over the horizon? Regardless of how explicitly I may tread to heed caution, I can’t even refrain from excitement, myself. What’s for certain though? That this season will go haywire, for good or bad, and whatever of which will only the heighten the scope of interest on this club. So, (Don’t Jinx it, Don’t Jinx it, DON’T JINX IT) this season gonna be crazy good. The Phillies will provide a great litmus test of superior competition nearing the weeks end, and let’s just hope we give it to them good, and scurry to the Bronx with something more than a .500 record. From the Outer Galaxy of Fantasy, Sabir Aden
  12. Again, less than an hour before game time and no thread in sight. Here's my take today: Kind of a big game with the Twins' ace (Berrios) slated to start against a really tough Phillie lineup. If the Twins win this one and take their third series in a row (and second on the road), I will be impressed and optimistic going forward. I haven't seen the starting lineup and there should be some intrigue. Cruz hasn't played since Kansas City, but Rosario had a day off yesterday (and homered coming off the bench), Kepler has homered in two straight games and is stinging the ball and Buxton showed his overall value yesterday (hitting, base stealing, and throwing a runner out at the plate). It would be an ideal game to move Kepler to first base for a day, but he didn't play there at all in the spring. Where to put La Tortuga? With three catchers, it is unlikely he would start again today. The Twins paid a lot of money for Marwin and it is in their best interest to get him going, so what happens today? We shall see. Enjoy the game friends. I'll post a lineup ASAP.
  13. Sound the alarm! The Twins pitchers currently lead the league in team strikeout percentage! I know, I know, we’re talking about three games in March. This sample size hopes one day it will grow up to become a “small sample size.” That said, Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi each struck out 10+ batters in the Twins first two games, something that only Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling have ever done before. As an encore, Michael Pineda and Martin Perez teamed up for 11 strikeouts in 7.2 IP in game three. There’s a legitimate chance that this is the best starting rotation to ever reside on Target Field’s mound. It would not surprise the reader to know that the Twins have been really bad at getting strikeouts. For five straight seasons, from 2011 through 2015, they finished dead last in team K% in all of baseball. In the 35 years since the Pohlad family took over as the Twins’ owners, their 15.9 K% is the second to worst in the MLB, just 0.1% better than the last-place Tigers. So ya, leading the league in strikeout percentage is very unusual, even if it is only three games into the year. But the question is: are the Twins pitchers really this good or are the Indians hitters really bad? Should we commence construction of Wes Johnson's statue? Or should we point and laugh at the Cleveland’s crappy lineup? A point in the favor of Twins pitchers is that their stuff has been better. Odorizzi’s velocity is up nearly a mile per hour over where it was a year ago, and his swinging strike rate was up 140% over his career mark. Berrios had a similar increase in his swinging strike rate (156% increase over his career mark). Pineda also got more whiffs and was insanely efficient in blanking Cleveland through his four innings. Perez maintained his spring velocity bump with a fastball that maxed out at 97 mph while producing a swinging strike rate at nearly double his career mark. Here’s the problem though: if the Indians hitters really do suck, then these improvements in swinging strike rates are exactly what we’d expect to see. Bad hitting teams make opposing pitchers look good. It’s the pitching equivalent of a Snapchat filter that removes your blemishes and makes your eyes look like Alita (you know, the freaking Battle Angel). With proven major-league hitters Francisco Lindor and Jason Kipnis on the injured list, the Indians gave 18% of their team’s plate appearances to a putrid combination of Eric Stamets, Max Moroff, and Brad Miller. Hanley Ramirez was batting fifth despite not having played a major-league game since last May. Their leadoff hitter Leonys Martin has never produced an above-average DRC+ in his career. These guys are … not great. It’s Jose Ramirez, Carlos Santana, and the cast of The Expendables up there hacking. To see if having a bad lineup explains the Twins’ pitching dominance, I looked at the PECOTA projections for each Cleveland hitter and weighted them based on the number of plate appearances they actually had in this series. This gave me with a PECOTA-projected K% for the Indians when Jose Ramirez gets 12 plate appearances and Jake Bauers gets 9 and Jordan Luplow gets 4 … you get the picture. I did the same with Twins pitchers, weighting them by batters face for each pitcher and adding them all together. INDIANS HITTERS PROJECTED K% 21.7% TWINS PITCHERS PROJECTED K% 21.2% ACTUAL K% FOR BOTH 38.6% Had the Indian’s projected strikeout percentage been worse, I would’ve been tempted to chalk this up to terrible Indians hitting. Similarly, had the Twins projected strikeout percentage been higher, I'd talk myself into thinking the Twins pitchers are great. As it is, we’ve probably got a little from Column A and a little from Column B, but even that is uncertain in our tiny sample. We can’t glean anything conclusive from three games, we knew that coming in, but these are interesting data points that trend in an exciting direction. As we collect more and more data points over the coming weeks and months, the picture will continue loading until it eventually becomes clear. In the meantime, we can stare these particular data points and admire their beauty. Twins pitchers are striking people out and it’s amazing.
  14. UPDATE (March 4): Jose Berrios has been named the Twins 2019 Opening Day starter The “Opening Day starter” distinction means more than it matters. It is an honor given to a team’s best or longest-tenured starting pitcher, and it is treated by players and managers as just that: an honor. Whether a pitcher starts on Opening Day or in the second game of the season doesn't matter much when it comes to the team's record over a 162-game season, and yet we see a barrage of press releases and quotes during spring training announcing who will take the mound first for each team. At this point, the Twins haven’t announced their Opening Day starter for 2019, but the proclamation will likely come in the next few weeks. That said, there seems to be two front-runners for the job: Jose Berrios and Kyle Gibson. While Jake Odorizzi was the Opening Day starter in 2018, he only pitched 164 1/3 innings and posted a 4.49 ERA on the season. Berrios and Gibson, on the other hand (or "on same hand" since they're all righties), both threw 190+ innings and had an ERA in the 3.00s. Of the two, Gibson had the better ERA at 3.62, threw a few more innings, and is projected by Steamer to lead the team in ERA again in 2019. He is the longest-tenured player on the Twins roster as he enters his seventh season pitching for Minnesota, and was also ahead of Berrios in the rotation last year, pitching in second game of the season after Odorizzi’s opening start. Berrios had the edge in the peripheral stats with mores strikeouts and fewer walks than Gibson. His 3.84 ERA was not far behind his teammate, and he was the only Twins player selected to the All-Star game last year. He is projected by PECOTA to be the best pitcher on the Twins’ staff in 2019 and has the edge in “stuff” and future upside. If there's a true ace on this staff, it will likely be him. Michael Pineda and Martin Perez round out the rotation. They have yet to throw a pitch for the Twins and have been either hurt or bad in recent years. They don’t expect to be in the conversation for Opening Day starter. Adding a wrinkle into the discussion is Rocco Baldelli and the Twins late-season experiment using an Opener in 2018. The decision to implement this strategy last September was agreed upon by the front office and former manager Paul Molitor. However, with Molitor’s depature and the addition of Baldelli—who hails from the Tampa Bay Rays organization which introduced and heavily used the Opener last year—there are reasons to believe that the Twins will more aggressive with this strategy in 2019. That said, the Twins continued to allow Berrios, Gibson, and Odorizzi to start without being preceded by an Opener last fall. Likewise, the Rays allowed their better starter pitchers Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow to start their games without an opening act. Beginning the season with an Opener seems unlikely unless this coaching staff really wants to make a splash right out of the gate. Time (and probably the Twins in the next weeks) will tell who will be taking the mound at Target Field on March 28 to face the Cleveland Indians, and their name will be jotted down in Twins history. Even if it doesn’t really matter who gets the start, it certainly means something. Here are some tidbits about Opening Day starters in Minnesota Twins’ history: Since officially becoming the Minnesota Twins in 1961 (after moving from the District of Columbia), there have been 58 Opening Days. A total of 31 different pitchers made Opening Day starts for the Twins. --- Brad Radke leads the pack with nine Opening Day starts followed by Bert Blyleven’s six starts and four for Frank Viola. Dave Goltz tallied three starts on Opening Day while nine other pitchers had two starts apiece. --- The best Twins Opening Day start, using Bill James’ Game Score, was Dean Chance. He threw a complete game shutout in 1968 against the Washington Senators (the team that filled in the void after the Twins moved to Minnesota). Chance struck out eight batters, walked none, and allowed four hits in the contest. --- The worst performance by the same metric came in Brad Havens’ lone Opening Day start for the Twins which took place in the Metrodome in 1983. Havens was ousted after recording just four outs. He gave up eight runs, all earned, against an impressive Detroit Tigers team that went on to win 92 games that season. His brutal outing began: single, single, home run, walk, wild pitch, walk. The Tigers went on to score six runs in the first inning. --- Kevin Tapani, however, proved to be the worst Opening Day starter in the aggregate, as he posted a 19.29 ERA over two starts in 1993 and 1994. In the two games, he totaled seven innings, recorded just three strikeouts, and gave up a massive 15 earned runs on 18 hits. Those starts were the second- and third-worst Opening Day starts in Twins history by Game Score. --- There were only five Opening Days hosted at Metropolitan Stadium. Mudcat Grant had the best start of the bunch allowing one run in a complete game against the Kansas City Athletics. The worst Opening Day performance at the Met belongs to Jim Perry in which he allowed three earned runs in 4 2/3 innings of work in his 1971 start. --- Radke started five of the 15 Opening Day games played in the Metrodome and had the best start under the inflated roof by Game Score. In 1996, Radke struck out eight Detroit Tigers in six innings while allowing just one earned run as the Twins (with newly-signed Paul Molitor) beat the Tigers 8-6. --- Target Field has hosted just two Opening Days since it’s inaugural season. In 2013, Vance Worley braved the 35º weather and limited the then-very-good Tigers to three runs over six innings. He held Miguel Cabrera hitless, but took the loss as the Twins fell 4-2. In 2017, the Twins defeated the Royals behind seven strong innings of one-run ball from Ervin Santana. The Twins will host their third ever Opening Day at Target Field as they take on the Cleveland Indians on March 28th.
  15. Eno Sarris’ top 175 pitchers for the 2019 fantasy baseball season The Twins top five according to Sarris all make it in the top 175! Berrios 18 Above Strasburg, Corbin, Price, Wheeler, Morton and Greinke Kyle Gibson 60 Above Matz, Woodruff, Lucchesi, Quintana Odorizzi 69 Above Jimmy Nelson Pineda 71 Above Stroman, Gonzales, Smith and Gray Fernando Romero 135 Above Valdez, Cease, Gohara, Williams, Lynn Take all those positions and average them out and our rotation comes out in with an average of 70. It is interesting to see how Gibson/Odorizzi/Pineda are all bunched and that they project Romero. Based on 32 teams that is pretty average - a 500 team. 32 teams would have five rotation places or 160 spots. At least Romero keeps us above the 160 mark.
  16. A few days ago I looked at the Twins lineup and bench and we had a total war of 16+, which is not good and our defensive metrics were not good either. So how do we stand at this point with our pitching? I am using baseball reference as my go to on each player. I am not projecting surprises rookies or trades or FA. There is nothing that makes me think I should. Starting Rotation - WAR - Projections (win-loss) ERA, Whip - someone has to win the game so they count for me. Jose Berrios 3.8 12-10, 4.02, 1.20 Kyle Gibson 3.9 10-11 4.24 1.39 Jake Odorizzi 1.5 8-8 4.18 1,28 Michael Pineda 0.6 4-4 4.37 1.30 - 2017 stats Fernando Romero 0.4 5-5 4.19 1.31 Bullpen Addison Reed 0.1 2-4 3.68 1.23 Taylor Rogers 2.2 3-3 3.46 1.17 Trevor Hildenberg -0.6 4.4 4.50 1.59 Trevor May 0.6 3.2 3.92 1.23 Gabriel Moya 0.2 3-2 4.22 1.27 Adelberto Mejia 1.0 4-4 3.87 1.35 Matt Magill 0.7 3-3 4.08 1.38 Kohl Stewart 0.6 3-3 3.84 1.30 I took Kohl as a random person from Little, DeJong, Curtiss... The WAR for our starters in 10.2 WAR for relievers is 4,8 I am sometimes confused by WAR because if I add our 16.6 batters to the starters and relievers we have 31 games won next year. I think we can ignore that. If these are our pitchers we have 64 wins and 63 losses which leaves us with 34 games from our call ups and fill ins. So lets keep going with the next pitchers on the list. Stephen Gonsalves -0.6 4-3 4.58 1.44 Zach Littell - 0.5 2-3 4.30 1.78 Chase DeJong 0.2 3-4 4.22 1.30 John Curtiss 0.0 1-2 4.34 1.31 Tyler Duffey -0.8 3-3 5.04 1.32 Aaron Slegers 0.0 3-3 4.50 1.28 That brings us to a collective 80 - 81 and someone else - maybe Astudillo Willans will pitch the deciding game on our 500 season. The WAR for this group is -1.7. So with our team as it now stands that is the summary I can extract from Baseball Reference. Do you agree or disagree? This has to fit with https://twinsdaily.com/blogs/entry/11299-%7B%3F%7D/ I wish it was a rosier picture, but this is just looking at the data as it sits right now with a team that seems committed to the status quo! I cannot find WAR for coaches.
  17. What a rotation I have gone through all but DH in my thought process on next year and I really do not care who is DH since it seems like the Twins like to move it around. But the rotation is the real issue. Bleacher reports had this reflection on Starting Pitching - https://bleacherreport.com/articles/1187854-is-starting-pitcher-the-most-important-position-for-building-a-successful-team . Very seldom do people attend the game because there will be a great match up of closers. We still look at Verlander, Kluber, Severino, Greinke as marquee names for any game. So who starts for the Twins in 2019 and 2020? I can easily write in Berrios. Is there anyone who compares? Gibson has turned the corner and we are still wondering if it is real, but yes, he is number two. Ervin Santana was a wonderful story, but the emphasis is on was! He is gone, I would almost guarantee it, but I guarantee nothing. Jake Odorizzi had a near no-hitter recently so we forget how mediocre he has been. 6 – 10 4.41 ERA 1,32 Whip, 30 games, 155 innings – an average of 5 innings per start. Yes, he will be in the rotation next year. Then there are the September debuts: Kohl Stewart – six games, 24 innings, ERA+ 81, 1.78 Whip, 5.47 ERA. Prospect #28. Aldalberto Mejia – 5 games, 2.01 ERA, 1.16 WHIP Aaron Slegers - 3 games, 5.68 ERA which is lower than his MLB career 6.11, 1.42 WHIP Michael Pineda who benefits from being injured all year and then injured again instead of making a Sep call up He is 40 – 41 with a 4.40 ERA, and a 1.19 WHIP. He will take one of the five spots, even if he has not earned it. Chase De Jong – the FO acquired him so he has a front of the line position and he gave up no runs in his first appearance. His MLB record has him with an ERA of 5.57 and a WHIP of 1.51. Smoke and mirrors so far for MN. Stephen Gonsalves who has dominated the minor league reports for the last four years has stunk in his debut – 9.39 ERA, within 1 of Belisle, and a 2.67 WHIP. Awful. Is it real? He is rated prospect #5. If not for Gonsalves and Belisle Littell would be on the stink listing with 8.44 ERA and 2.06 Whip. Zack was prospect number 20 which was a downgrade from his previous ranking at #11. If not them, who? Among the top 30 prospects – which include the above pitchers is Brusdar Gratol, our number 4 prospect. He is 20 and has proven himself at all the levels he has pitched at. MLB.com says he comes up in 2021. If the above pitchers continue there stink ratings he could be 2020. Blake Enlow is prospect number 9, he is 20, and projected for 2021. He could push 2020. Lewis Thorpe is prospect number 10 and why he did not get a September call up is a mystery to me. He could be in the mix for next year. He was 8 – 7 with an era of 3.54 and a WHIP of 1.24 in 2018. Jordan Balazovic is prospect number 30 and projected for 2021. We also have some pitchers that were acquired in trades this summer, but none seem MLB ready, yet. Then there are the FA. I will not project signing them, but Patrick Corbin of the AZ Diamondbacks hits the market at age 29. His stats look really good. He would be a good signing. Dallas Keuchel of the Astros is a dream, but one I think we should pass on. I am not as convinced as others that he has the ACE potential for the future. Clayton Kershaw – pardon me, I cannot type while I am laughing. With all this information and some experience with seeing how this FO works (or doesn’t) this is my guess. 2019 • Berrios • Gibson • Odorizzi • Pineda • Mejia • DeJong 2020 • Berrios • Gibson • DeJong • Thorpe • Gratol • Wells
  18. Okay it is mid season and we are getting a reshuffle of prospects and their ratings. Which makes me wonder - what if the ratings include the players already in the major leagues? For example - if all the starting pitchers were put in one pot and we said who has the most potential for the next five years - I would certainly keep Berrios at number 1, but who is number 2? I take Romero. Then I think I would go back to the minors and then Brusdar Graterol. Is it time for someone on the MLB team? I think I would lean to Gibson and then Gonsalves. That is my top five. Who should you invest in? For the Bullpen - I am thinking of five years so we have to drop Rodney - I would drop Belisle if it was five days. So who are the top ranked prospects? Hildenberger has solidified his position. Who is next? Give me Tyler Jay, John Curtiss, Nick Anderson, Andrew Vasquez, and Busenitz. The vets are low on the list. Positions C Rortvedt Garver very poor list 1B/DH Sano Rooker 2B Nick Gordon Wander Javier SS Royce Lewis Jorge Polanco 3B Eduardo Escobar Travis Blankenship OF Byron Buxton Eddie Rosario Alex Kiriloff Akil Baddoo LaMonte Wade Jack Cave List them anyway you want - but by position, this is my Twins of the near future top prospects.
  19. The Twins optioned Duffy and Berrios to AAA and recalled Andrew Albers. The other move to be announced tomorrow. https://twitter.com/LaVelleNeal I'd rather have seen someone other than Albers come back up, but we may get that wish anyway. What would the other options be? Wheeler? Gonsalves? Both would need to be added to the 40-man, IIRC.
  20. I just looked at the Twins starters for this weekend and early next week...please tell me the Twins brass is not going to skip Berrios' next start!?!? If true, that is beyond frustrating. Did he have a little trouble with his command in start number two? Yes, absolutely, but the zone was small and he showed improvement from his first start. Please don't mess with this kid's head!
  21. We have a rotation, today, of Santana, Gibson, Pelfrey, Milone, and Duffy. Let's say, theoretically, that we arrive at game 162 and need a game 163, or, better yet, a one-game playoff against the Yankees or Blue Jays (no other scenario seems very plausible right now, at least not one involving the Twins). Santana could pitch a game 163, though I'm not certain I'd want him to unless he starts picking it up a notch or two. I'm assuming Phil Hughes will be ready by then, but not certain I want him pitching in Yankee Stadium or against Toronto with his fly-ball tendencies and the way those lineups are constructed. What's your post-season rotation right now? The more I thought about it, looking at a rotation of Gibson, Milone, Duffy and Hughes, putting Pelfrey into the bullpen, still leaves me wanting. The person in my opinion that I'd most like to see starting a game 163 or Wild Card road game on the East Coast is sitting in AAA right now, and won't be on our playoff roster unless we bring him up before September (something that seems the club has not discussed publicly as being even a possibility). I realize there are other lineup issues to resolve if October baseball is a possibility, and feel free to discuss them all. But specifically, who is your game 163 starter or Wild Card starter, and (assuming for fun we win that or those) your ALDS rotation?
  22. We are just under two months until the September 1 call ups, which will provide a tremendous opportunity to deepen the bench with some very talented minor league talent that could be very helpful to the club down the stretch. It is very interesting to think about a bench with Arcia, Vargas, Kepler or Walker ready to pinch hit. How about a bullpen with Berrios, Nick Burdi or another flamethrower to help in a key situation? The possibilities are quite exciting. Who do you all think could be a key addition to the club when rosters are expanded and how do you think those possibilities will impact any moves the Twins might make at the trade deadline or the waiver deadline on September 1?
  23. I'm as excited for the Sano/Buxton era as anyone, but the pitching prospects still seem a ways off. Is there anyone you'd trade them for? What if David Price was available?
  24. After dominating the Florida Instructional League and Gulf Coast League as an 18 year-old fresh out of high school, (and getting a taste of Single A as well), this 3rd-round draft choice made the AAA roster as a 19 year-old where he made only 7 starts before getting called up to the Majors at the beginning of June. His team was 31-15 at the time and had a more than serviceable pitching rotation featuring the eventual Cy Young winner that season. Clearly this young pitcher (Bert Blyleven) had the goods and history shows the right decision was made to bring him up when they did. Still, some risk of failure had to exist with that move, too. If Blyleven was an 18-year old today signing with the Twins, would he be given as quick a shot to the Majors or would today's process be more deliberative with his advancements? I surmise it would take Bert at least a full second season in the minors if for no other reason than it would take that long to reach the same amount of innings pitched. Also, money would be a bigger consideration today. Blyleven, a third round pick, said he signed for 10,000 dollars. Jose Berrios, the 32nd player taken in 2012 signed for 1.55 million. Not Byron Buxton money, but still an investment.
  25. After witnessing a Kane County Cougars 15-1 beatdown of the Cedar Rapids Kernels, I awoke to gray skies and the promise of rain. But things got better! After showers in the morning, the rain diminished to sprinkles by game time and were pretty much gone by the middle innings. There were even a few peeks of sunshine later in the day. On the field, Hudson Boyd started for the Kernels. He yielded a quick run in the first, struck out the side in the second (on ten pitches IIRC) and wobbled through the third and fourth. Boyd was out in the fifth after yielding a game-tying homer. The Kernels took the lead in the second with a four-run inning highlighted by catcher Michael Quesada 2-run gapper. With the score tied 4-4, the Kernels mounted another four-run burst culminated by Byron Buxton's gapper to left-center. Outstanding work by Steve Gruver netted the win for the Kernels. I met both JO Berrios and Mason Melotakis of the Kernels. I spoke with SD Buhr (Jim Crikket) and a scout from the Mets. While the young men are a long way from the major leagues, there is a lot of talent and some of them will be playing for the Twins some day. Even without Buxton, Cedar Rapids has a nice roster. Best wishes to the Kernels for making the playoffs and then making some noise in the playoffs.
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