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  1. It’s becoming one of the most tired takes in Twins Territory. Not every player that can potentially leave the organization is going to turn into the next David Ortiz. So, why doesn’t Byron Buxton fit that mold? Over the weekend, the Star Tribune sent out a headline to subscribers that said, “Twins can’t let Buxton leave and become their new-age David Ortiz.” For those unfamiliar, the Twins famously non-tendered David Ortiz following the 2002 season. He signed with Boston and went on to have a legendary career culminating in multiple World Series titles, 10 All-Star selections, and seven silver sluggers. It was one of the worst decisions in franchise history, but baseball is a funny game. Ortiz was a very different player than Byron Buxton when the Twins non-tendered him. From 1997-2002, he averaged 76 games per season with the club and hit .266/.348/.461 (.809) with 169 extra-base hits in 455 games. There were multiple reasons to let Ortiz go, including he was set to make close to $2 million in arbitration, the team had Matt LeCroy to fill the designated hitter role, and they wanted a roster spot to make a Rule 5 pick. When David Ortiz played his final series in Minnesota, Twins GM Terry Ryan didn’t beat around the bush regarding the Ortiz decision. “Obviously, it’s a situation that I watch, and I’ve observed, and I see what he’s done, and I see what he’s meant to the Boston Red Sox. Ok, I screwed it up.” That’s easy for Ryan to say at this point, but it wasn’t as big of a mistake as it has been made out to be. Fans know Buxton is good, but Ortiz was still an unknown quantity when he left the organization. In his seventh season, Buxton has played in 38 more games in a Twins uniform than Ortiz. During that time, Buxton has been worth 16.2 WAR while Ortiz was worth 2.6 WAR. Ortiz went on to have four seasons with a 5 WAR or higher, a mark Buxton has yet to reach. The Buxton contract discussions seem like a no-win situation for the team’s followers. Fans are going to be disappointed if he leaves and plays well elsewhere. If he stays, fans will expect him to stay healthy and play at an MVP level. Buxton is one of baseball’s best players when he is on the field, and that is something Ortiz couldn’t say during his Twins tenure. Baseball is a sport where one move doesn’t alter the course of a franchise. Ortiz’s release was a poor baseball decision at the time, but the Twins were still relevant for nearly a decade after Ortiz left. Nothing says his career would have followed the same trajectory if he had stayed in a Twins uniform. The same unknowns circle around Buxton and his future. Every player that leaves Minnesota isn’t going to go on to have a Hall of Fame career. Ortiz is the exception and not the rule. In the end, Buxton’s situation is much more complicated than the decision surrounding Ortiz, and that’s what makes the Buxton decision one of the most intriguing in the months ahead. Do you see any connection between the Buxton decision and the Ortiz decision? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  2. Over the weekend, the Star Tribune sent out a headline to subscribers that said, “Twins can’t let Buxton leave and become their new-age David Ortiz.” For those unfamiliar, the Twins famously non-tendered David Ortiz following the 2002 season. He signed with Boston and went on to have a legendary career culminating in multiple World Series titles, 10 All-Star selections, and seven silver sluggers. It was one of the worst decisions in franchise history, but baseball is a funny game. Ortiz was a very different player than Byron Buxton when the Twins non-tendered him. From 1997-2002, he averaged 76 games per season with the club and hit .266/.348/.461 (.809) with 169 extra-base hits in 455 games. There were multiple reasons to let Ortiz go, including he was set to make close to $2 million in arbitration, the team had Matt LeCroy to fill the designated hitter role, and they wanted a roster spot to make a Rule 5 pick. When David Ortiz played his final series in Minnesota, Twins GM Terry Ryan didn’t beat around the bush regarding the Ortiz decision. “Obviously, it’s a situation that I watch, and I’ve observed, and I see what he’s done, and I see what he’s meant to the Boston Red Sox. Ok, I screwed it up.” That’s easy for Ryan to say at this point, but it wasn’t as big of a mistake as it has been made out to be. Fans know Buxton is good, but Ortiz was still an unknown quantity when he left the organization. In his seventh season, Buxton has played in 38 more games in a Twins uniform than Ortiz. During that time, Buxton has been worth 16.2 WAR while Ortiz was worth 2.6 WAR. Ortiz went on to have four seasons with a 5 WAR or higher, a mark Buxton has yet to reach. The Buxton contract discussions seem like a no-win situation for the team’s followers. Fans are going to be disappointed if he leaves and plays well elsewhere. If he stays, fans will expect him to stay healthy and play at an MVP level. Buxton is one of baseball’s best players when he is on the field, and that is something Ortiz couldn’t say during his Twins tenure. Baseball is a sport where one move doesn’t alter the course of a franchise. Ortiz’s release was a poor baseball decision at the time, but the Twins were still relevant for nearly a decade after Ortiz left. Nothing says his career would have followed the same trajectory if he had stayed in a Twins uniform. The same unknowns circle around Buxton and his future. Every player that leaves Minnesota isn’t going to go on to have a Hall of Fame career. Ortiz is the exception and not the rule. In the end, Buxton’s situation is much more complicated than the decision surrounding Ortiz, and that’s what makes the Buxton decision one of the most intriguing in the months ahead. Do you see any connection between the Buxton decision and the Ortiz decision? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  3. Signed to a two-year $26 million pact prior to the 2019 season, Cruz was brought in for his age 39 and 40 seasons. Yes, he’s an elder statesman, but he keeps himself in impeccable shape and didn’t make his big-league debut until age 24. Last season he was among the chief reasons Minnesota was dubbed the Bomba Squad as he went on to blast 41 dingers. Posting a career high 1.031 OPS it would be hard to fathom a reason to bet against him in the immediate future. Looking at Cruz’s slash line provides some beautiful imagery. He finished 9th in the American League MVP voting despite being active solely as a designated hitter. His .311 average was the best in a single season dating back to 2010, and he hit 40 homers for just the 4th time in his career. Virtually anywhere you looked in the counting digit fields, you left impressed. Statistics aren’t generally indicative of future production however, and a fall off can seem drastic if and when the production disappears. Fortunately for Cruz, who turns 40 on July 1st, the process is what suggests a positive trend of results can continue. Venturing from his Baseball Reference page, both Baseball Savant and Fangraphs tell an equal exciting story. It was Cruz that topped the 2019 leaderboards across baseball in terms of barrels per plate appearance (12.5%). His average exit velocity trailed only the Yankees Aaron Judge and teammate Miguel Sano. He also sat third in batted balls of 95+ mph exit velocities, producing those instances over 51% of the time. The .351 BABIP doesn’t suggest a great deal of luck was in play, and that’s to be expected when you’ve got a 52% hard hit rate and 31% HR/FB output. Not only was Cruz absolutely murdering baseballs, but he was staying within himself to do so. His 13.8% whiff rate sat right on his career average, and then 30.5% chase rate mimicked that as well. While his 69.7% contact rate was a career low dating back to 2009, he was successfully contacting 80% of the pitches he offered at within the strike zone. This isn’t entirely unprecedented ground either. Fellow countryman David Ortiz retired following his age 40 season in 2016. Despite a wildly successful career, his final season was among his best. Posting a 1.021 OPS with 38 dingers, the former Twins slugger went out at what could certainly be considered the peak of his existence. Like Cruz, Ortiz had become a full-time designated hitter, and focusing on the craft of obliterating pitches took significant strain off a much less athletic frame. This isn’t to say there won’t be a decline in store for Cruz. Father time is undefeated, and some of the percentages Nelson produced a year ago are at a level even he has never before seen. However, what he has going for him is that hitting is a craft he’s mastered and the only one tasked of him. He’s intimately in tune with his body, and although the wrist tendon issue could prove more cumbersome as time goes on, risk for future problems should be relatively mitigated. What Cruz has brought to the table from a production standpoint makes both years of his deal a steal. What he has contributed in the clubhouse, and most importantly imparted upon Miguel Sano, has taken that value up another level on its own. We’ll see what baseball has in store for us in the coming months but asking Nelson to put on a Twins uniform for a couple of seasons into his 40’s seems like more than a reasonable ask. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  4. Terry Ryan decided that a 26-year-old David Ortiz, and his career .809 OPS with 58 homers, was worthy of release prior to the 2003 season. Jose Morban was the man worthy of a roster spot, and the 23-year-old never wound up playing for the Twins before returning to Baltimore and generating just a .412 OPS in 61 games. Fast forward to 2020 and we’re looking at the question of regression regarding Nelson Cruz, but able to do it through the lens of Red Sox legend, Mr. Ortiz. “Big Papi,” as he’s affectionately known, went on to play 14 seasons with the Boston Red Sox. He didn’t retire until he was 40 years old, and he swatted 541 career home runs. Unlike many players that are simply lapped by the game in their later years, Ortiz went out on top. In 2016 he played 151 games while posting a ridiculous .315/.401/.620 slash line. He blasted a league-leading 48 dingers and paced the crowd with 127 RBIs. Despite a 6th place MVP finish and clearly being capable of big-league production, he stepped away. Last season Cruz entered his maiden voyage in Twins Territory. The late-blooming slugger joined his fifth organization and posted a career best 1.031 OPS. At 38-years-old he hit 41 longballs and owned a career best .392 OBP. He played in just 120 games dealing with intermittent wrist injuries, but ultimately showed there were no signs of slowing down. The hope would be that 2020 represents more of the same, and Ortiz provides the example that age may simply be just a number. On pace for a 5.8 fWAR over the course of a full season, Cruz was more productive on a per-game basis than he’s ever been. Steamer projects a step up in games played at 147 in 2020, but the 2.9 fWAR is quite a bit of regression. The OPS sags to .909 with the home run total ending at 40. It’s a very solid output, but with the additional games adding to the body of work, leaves plenty of production on the table. Although projection systems are mathematically sound, there’s analytical substance to the idea that Cruz may not be ready to give in yet. Say what you want about the baseball itself from a season ago, but the controlled outputs were plenty impressive on their own. A 52.5% hard hit rate was a career best and paced the sport (among hitters with 450 ABs). While he was walloping the baseball, a 31.3% rate of fly balls leaving the yard was only topped by Brewers MVP candidate Christian Yelich. Nelson didn’t chase more, or swing through more pitches, and he actually took a slight dip in contact. What that formula suggests is quality of contact being through the roof. Branching out from Fangraphs, Baseball Savant agrees with the data as well. A 12.5% barrels/plate appearance tally put him in first place by nearly a full percentage point. His average exit velocity was trumped by only Aaron Judge and teammate Miguel Sano, and his xwOBA of .418 ranked 5th highest in the game. In short, Nelson Cruz is doing all the right things that would make his production regression projection go poof. Now, as bodies age, a dip could be seen unexpectedly. Time is undefeated, and at some point, will get its due. To suggest that it’s coming simply because he’s a year older and approaching 40 however, does not seem like the greatest bet. David Ortiz is the latest example to prove competence in his twilight, and as much fun as slugging sendoffs are (looking at you Jim Thome), Cruz appears to be more contributing than cooling in the year ahead. Toting only a bat to the ballpark on a regular basis isn’t a bad gig for an aging star and having a few less big-league miles on a late bloomer can’t hurt either. Nelson Cruz had his nap room installed in the bowels of Target Field, and allowing him the opportunity to continue to wake and rake is something his employer should bask in. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  5. Today they announced that David Ortiz was shot in the back in the Dominican Republican. Not lethal, but lower back and there is no good gunshot. He was in the Dial Bar and Lounge and two other people were wounded. It sounds like the way that Wild Bill Hickok was killed. The shooter, a motorcyclist, was beaten by the crowd and has to recover from his injuries before he can be questioned. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/david-ortiz-shot-dominican-republic_n_5cfdbf29e4b0aab91c083ba5?ncid=newsltushpmgnews__TheMorningEmail__061019 or https://www.cnn.com/2019/06/09/americas/mlb-david-ortiz-shot-dominican-republic/index.html?utm_source=CNN+Five+Things&utm_campaign=6dbb0347ae-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_06_10_07_50&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_6da287d761-6dbb0347ae-98628329 First photos https://nypost.com/2019/06/10/first-photo-emerges-of-david-ortiz-after-dominican-republic-shooting/
  6. Across major league baseball, the shift is now commonplace in an attempt to get batters out. Every team does it, and in fact, Minnesota is an organization that employs it at one of the highest clips. With the shift on, your goal is to downplay the strengths of an opposing batter. It’s less about worrying whether a bunt gets dropped down, or the hitter can change their approach and simply “go the other way” on some smoke, than it is taking away the highest percentage of batted balls. Truly beating the shift isn’t about going around it, but rather, going over it. The launch angle revolution is something that’s caught on across the big leagues, and while keyboard managers everywhere debate its viability the principles are sound. Hitting the ball in the air, harder, is going to produce positive results far more often than anything on the ground. Although often this is mentally categorized simply as fly balls, both home runs and rocket line drives fall into this optimal category as well. David Ortiz, arguably the largest stain on Terry Ryan’s career, getting away was in part because of an inability for the organization to work within a player’s abilities. Rather than get left behind in the current game, it seems Minnesota is maybe leading the charge in some respects. Back in 2017 Minnesota owned the third-lowest ground ball to fly ball ratio. They improved upon that factor a season ago, finishing with the second lowest tally in the big leagues. While the sample size is tiny, Rocco Baldelli’s club currently owns a 0.86 GB/FB ratio, trailing only the Seattle Mariners (0.83). So, what can we deduce from this information? The reality is launch angle isn’t useful on its own, as is the case with many advanced metrics. Pairing launch angle with exit velocity however gives you a formula for some quantifiable positive. That is to say, hit the ball higher, harder, and watch what happens. Seems like common sense right? Here’s what the Twins are doing right now, today, with that second-lowest GB/FB rate. Currently they’re only 20th in hard hit percentage. Mitch Garver is actually leading the club in barrels per plate appearance, and he’s top-10 in the big leagues with his output. Also let’s remind ourselves that fly balls include line drives, and Minnesota’s 19.4% is only 20th in all of baseball for that category. Where the outlook appears a bit shinier, the Twins' .315 BABIP is eighth best in all of baseball (Seattle’s .328 is 4th). With the numbers above, we can see that the results of an updated process currently look like. Now, let’s add some context to who is actually generating these inputs. Over the winter the Twins front office added thumping bats like Nelson Cruz, Jonathan Schoop, and C.J. Cron. Right now, Cruz owns the 10th highest hard hit rate in baseball, with Schoop not far behind at 22nd. Stretch a bit further and Jorge Polanco is just under 50% hard hit, but checks in one place ahead of superstar Mike Trout. Generating hard contact, like we discussed with launch angle, is not all that valuable in a vacuum. Pairing it with zone control, and optimal launch angle, is a formula for strong production though. This is where the idea that teams wanting big power guys and not caring about strikeouts breaks down. What we know is that strikeouts are as damaging as any of the other 27 outs within a game. They aren’t more detrimental, and sometimes, they can be even less harmful. Shying away from a player because he strikes out isn’t a worthwhile proposition for organizations today. The guys who succeed however, are not those who do so despite the strikeouts, but rather in spite of them. Joey Gallo, Giancarlo Stanton, and Khris Davis all fanned at least 175 times in 2018, but each of them had an OPS north of .800. Their strikeouts weren’t a problem because of the ability they showed to command the zone in any other situation. Rather than making soft contact, or simply putting the ball in play, they were taking walks or doing damage each time they were at the plate. I’m not here to suggest that Cruz, Schoop, Cron or any number of Twins hitters is going to finish 2019 in the upper tier of power hitters. What I do think is worth watching however, is whether or not a consistent command of the zone and strong plate approach becomes a regular expectation for these guys. If that does wind up being the outcome, it appears Minnesota’s strategy to get the ball off the ground and hit it hard, will result in a positive outcome this organization has long not achieved.
  7. Ask any long-standing Minnesota Twins fan and one of the most repeated mantras they’ll have heard about the goals of the big league team is pitching to contact. We’ve seen an adjustment in that department with minor leaguers pushing triple-digit heat, and a pitching coach known as a velocity guru. Another oft-repeated principle is slapping the ball the other way, and that may be dying before our eyes.Across major league baseball, the shift is now commonplace in an attempt to get batters out. Every team does it, and in fact, Minnesota is an organization that employs it at one of the highest clips. With the shift on, your goal is to downplay the strengths of an opposing batter. It’s less about worrying whether a bunt gets dropped down, or the hitter can change their approach and simply “go the other way” on some smoke, than it is taking away the highest percentage of batted balls. Truly beating the shift isn’t about going around it, but rather, going over it. The launch angle revolution is something that’s caught on across the big leagues, and while keyboard managers everywhere debate its viability the principles are sound. Hitting the ball in the air, harder, is going to produce positive results far more often than anything on the ground. Although often this is mentally categorized simply as fly balls, both home runs and rocket line drives fall into this optimal category as well. David Ortiz, arguably the largest stain on Terry Ryan’s career, getting away was in part because of an inability for the organization to work within a player’s abilities. Rather than get left behind in the current game, it seems Minnesota is maybe leading the charge in some respects. Back in 2017 Minnesota owned the third-lowest ground ball to fly ball ratio. They improved upon that factor a season ago, finishing with the second lowest tally in the big leagues. While the sample size is tiny, Rocco Baldelli’s club currently owns a 0.86 GB/FB ratio, trailing only the Seattle Mariners (0.83). So, what can we deduce from this information? The reality is launch angle isn’t useful on its own, as is the case with many advanced metrics. Pairing launch angle with exit velocity however gives you a formula for some quantifiable positive. That is to say, hit the ball higher, harder, and watch what happens. Seems like common sense right? Here’s what the Twins are doing right now, today, with that second-lowest GB/FB rate. Currently they’re only 20th in hard hit percentage. Mitch Garver is actually leading the club in barrels per plate appearance, and he’s top-10 in the big leagues with his output. Also let’s remind ourselves that fly balls include line drives, and Minnesota’s 19.4% is only 20th in all of baseball for that category. Where the outlook appears a bit shinier, the Twins' .315 BABIP is eighth best in all of baseball (Seattle’s .328 is 4th). With the numbers above, we can see that the results of an updated process currently look like. Now, let’s add some context to who is actually generating these inputs. Over the winter the Twins front office added thumping bats like Nelson Cruz, Jonathan Schoop, and C.J. Cron. Right now, Cruz owns the 10th highest hard hit rate in baseball, with Schoop not far behind at 22nd. Stretch a bit further and Jorge Polanco is just under 50% hard hit, but checks in one place ahead of superstar Mike Trout. Generating hard contact, like we discussed with launch angle, is not all that valuable in a vacuum. Pairing it with zone control, and optimal launch angle, is a formula for strong production though. This is where the idea that teams wanting big power guys and not caring about strikeouts breaks down. What we know is that strikeouts are as damaging as any of the other 27 outs within a game. They aren’t more detrimental, and sometimes, they can be even less harmful. Shying away from a player because he strikes out isn’t a worthwhile proposition for organizations today. The guys who succeed however, are not those who do so despite the strikeouts, but rather in spite of them. Joey Gallo, Giancarlo Stanton, and Khris Davis all fanned at least 175 times in 2018, but each of them had an OPS north of .800. Their strikeouts weren’t a problem because of the ability they showed to command the zone in any other situation. Rather than making soft contact, or simply putting the ball in play, they were taking walks or doing damage each time they were at the plate. I’m not here to suggest that Cruz, Schoop, Cron or any number of Twins hitters is going to finish 2019 in the upper tier of power hitters. What I do think is worth watching however, is whether or not a consistent command of the zone and strong plate approach becomes a regular expectation for these guys. If that does wind up being the outcome, it appears Minnesota’s strategy to get the ball off the ground and hit it hard, will result in a positive outcome this organization has long not achieved. Click here to view the article
  8. The DH began in AL only in 1973 and Tony Oliva with terrible knees was the first to take advantage of the new position. He was DH in 142 games, Mike Adams 16, Danny Walton 13 and 10 others appeared in various games. 1974 had Oliva 112, Killebrew 57, Terrell 20 and 5 others. Oliva continued with 120 games in 1975, Darwin 19, Hisle 15, Luis Gomez 10 and 15 others got appearances. In `976 Tony O got just 32 appearances, Steve Braun 71, Craig Kusick 79, Butch Wynegar 15 and 8 others. Tony Oliva 15 seasons, 4 seasons DH .304/.353/.476/.830 43.1 WAR, 0.6 WAR for DH Kusick had 85 games in 1977 Chiles 62, Adams 46 and 14 others. In 1978 Glenn Adams had 100 games, Jose Morales 77, Craig Kusick 34 and seven others. 1979 Jose Morales 77 games, Danny Goodwin 51, Mike Cubbage 22, Willie Norwood 17 NS 10 more players. This same crew had Morales 85 games, Glen Adams 81, Danny Goodwin 38, and 12 others. Craig Kusick 7 years, .235/.342/.392/.733. 3.6 WAR 214 of 250 games at DH Glenn Adams 5 years, .281/.325/.399/.725. minus -0.1 370/661 games at DH In 1981 Adams had 62 games, Roy Smally 15 and 16 more. Then in 1982 Randy Johnson 66, Jesus Vega 39, Mickey Hatcher 29, Randy Bush 26, Dave Engle 20 and six more. Other than Tony Oliva there was no real DH at this point. Randy Bush whose only real position was batter was DH in 1983 104 games, Hatcher 39, Engle 29, and 11 others. 1984 Bush 88, Hatcher 37, Engle 22, Darrell Brown 15 and nine more. Roy Smalley was at DH 56 games in 1985, Engle 38, Randy Bush 28, Mike Stenhouse 27, Mark Funderburk 15, and eight more. In 1986 Smalley was DH 114 games, Hatcher 28, Ron Washington 15 and nine more. In 1987 Smalley was at DH 73 times, Larkin 40, Brunansky 17, Don Baylor 17 and 11 more. Roy Smalley 10 years, .262/.350/.401/.750 20.9 WAR, 2.1 as a DH, 272/1653 games at DH. Randy Bush 251/.334/.413/.747 1.4 WAR 349/1219 games at DH Larkin had 86 games in 1988 and Hrbek 37, Bush 17 and 11 more players. 1989 it is hard to say anyone is the DH. John Moses 33 games, Carmelo Castillo 31, Jim Dwyer 27, Randy Bush 25, and 16 more. Same kind of scrum in 1990 – Larkin 43, Carmelo Castillo 35, Randy Bush 27, Sorrento 23, Dwyer 22, Hrbek 20 and 10 more. Gene Larkin 7 years, 266/.348/.374/.723. 1.6 WAR 221 games DH out of 468. In 1991 we had a real DH – Chili Davis 150 games and 10 others. 1992 Chili had 125, Bush 24 and 14 more. 1993 DH was turned over to Winfield and 9 others. Chili Davis .282/ .385/.476/.862. 5.2 WAR 1160/2436 games at DH Winfield had 76 games in 1994, Puckett 13 and 9 others. In 1995 Pedro Munoz, 77, then Puckett and Hale and 11 others. Dave Winfield 2 years, .264/.324/.436/.760. 0.3 WAR. 419/2973 DH, 181 DH for MN Paul Molitor took over for the ST Paul native in 1996 with 143 games at DH and 10 others have games there. Molitor held the position in 1997 too with Roberto Kelley 12, and Greg Myers 10 and 11 more. In 1998 Molitor held DH with Coomer and Ortiz next and 9 others. Paul Molitor 3 years .312/.362/.432/.794. 5.2 WAR as DH, 1174/2683 games at DH, all DH for MN. Hard to believe, but David Ortiz was our primary DH in 2000 with 88 games, Butch Huskey 39, Midre Cummings 15 and 12 more. Ortiz 80, Allen 23, Buchanan 19 and 13 more. Ortiz 95, LeCroy 41 and 11 more in 2002. David Ortiz 6 years, .266/.348/.461/.809 . 2.6 WAR 2029/2408 DH games. 279 DH MN.. From Ortiz to LeCroy 63 games DH, Kielty 32, Jones 29, Morneau 23, and 13 more in 2003. 2004 was a year without a main DH – Jose Offerman got 39, LeCroy 30, Lew Ford 26, Shannon Steward 21 and 14 more. LeCroy got the most DH games again in 2005 and Lew Ford 44, Joe Mauer and Mike Ryan 13 each and 12 more. Matt LeCroy 7 years - .261/.324/.444/.768. 0.4 WAR for 7 years. DH 212/476 games. In 2007 Kubel was the leader with only 36 games, Jason Tyner 27, Jeff Cirillo 24, Mauer 19 and 11 others. Kubel got 85 in 2008, Craig Monroe 36, Randy Ruiz 17 and 15 others in 2008. 2009 had Kubel with 82, Mauer 28, Morneau 12 and 10 others. Kubel had 42 games in 2010, but Jim Thome was the DH – 79 games with Mauer at 23 and 13 others. Jason Kubel 8 years .269/.334/.449/.783. 3.7 WAR. 333/1036 games at DH for MN. Thome 59 games in 2011 and Kubel 37 in 2011. Jim Thome 2 years with MN. .265/.391/.542/.933. 4.5 WAR 818/2543 games at DH. 138 DH for MN In 2012 DH was a free for all – Doumit 48, Mauer 42, Morneau 34, Willingham 25, Mastroianni 10 and 7 more. The same mess in 2013. Then in 2014 look at this list – Vargas, Morales, Pinto, Mauer, Colabello, Willingham, Plouffe, Nunez, Suzuki, Fryaer, Santant, Arcia, Florimon (really?) Hicks, Barlett, Bernier, Escobar, Kubel 1, and Parmelee! Sano was the leader with 69 in 2015, Vargas 29, Mauer 20 and then six more. In 2016 ByungHo Park and Sano and Mauer split DH – enough said. That is a difficult group to sort out since their time at DH is usually fairly short. We all remember Thome, but he was in 138 games in two years. Not even a full season worth of games. Tony Oliva was our first and one of the best, but he is also our Right fielder in the lists of Bests. 1. Paul Molitor 3 years .312/.362/.432/.794. 5.2 WAR as DH, 1174/2683 games at DH, all DH for MN. 2. Jim Thome 2 years with MN. .265/.391/.542/.933. 4.5 WAR 818/2543 games at DH. 138 DH for MN 3. Jason Kubel 8 years .269/.334/.449/.783. 3.7 WAR. 333/1036 games at DH for MN. 4. Craig Kusick 7 years, .235/.342/.392/.733. 3.6 WAR 214 of 250 games at DH 5. David Ortiz 6 years, .266/.348/.461/.809 . 2.6 WAR 2029/2408 DH games. 279 DH MN.. 6. Roy Smalley 10 years, .262/.350/.401/.750 20.9 WAR, 2.1 as a DH, 272/1653 games at DH. 7. Gene Larkin 7 years, 266/.348/.374/.723. 1.6 WAR 221 games DH out of 468. 8. Randy Bush 251/.334/.413/.747 1.4 WAR 349/1219 games at DH 9. Tony Oliva 15 seasons, 4 seasons DH .304/.353/.476/.830 43.1 WAR, 0.6 WAR for DH 10. Dave Winfield 2 years, .264/.324/.436/.760. 0.3 WAR. 419/2973 DH, 181 DH for MN 11. Matt LeCroy 7 years - .261/.324/.444/.768. 0.4 WAR for 7 years. DH 212/476 games. 12. Chili Davis .282/ .385/.476/.862. 5.2 WAR 1160/2436 games at DH 13. Glenn Adams 5 years, .281/.325/.399/.725. minus -0.1 370/661 games at DH The other posts in this series: https://twinsdaily.com/blogs/entry/11390-%7B%3F%7D/ https://twinsdaily.com/blogs/entry/11388-%7B%3F%7D/ https://twinsdaily.com/blogs/entry/11386-the-twins-best-left-fielder-in-history/ https://twinsdaily.com/blogs/entry/11380-the-best-third-baseman-in-minnesota-twins-history/ https://twinsdaily.com/blogs/entry/11367-the-best-first-baseman-in-twins-history/ https://twinsdaily.com/blogs/entry/11377-the-best-ss-in-twins-history/ https://twinsdaily.com/blogs/entry/11365-the-best-catcher-in-twins-history/ https://twinsdaily.com/blogs/entry/11371-%7B%3F%7D/
  9. Vargas was designated for assignment by Cincinnati and Minnesota claimed him back. https://twitter.com/DanHayesMLB/status/977603010418348032 The Reds seemed like a tough spot for Vargas to fit, with Joey Votto occupying first base and no designated hitter in the National League. Because of his switch-hitting ability, there was some thought that he could serve as a bench bat or the club could try to sneak him through waivers to the minors. That plan didn’t work as he is back in Minnesota. Some Twins fans were a little paranoid about losing Vargas. It’s hard to blame fans for remembering when the club made one of the biggest judgment gaffes in baseball history. Letting David Ortiz go was a mistake. Even former General Manager Terry Ryan has admitted as much. But let’s make one thing clear… Kennys Vargas isn’t David Ortiz. It’s easy to see why fans can see similarities between the two players. Both players fit a similar profile as large men who have little to no defensive value. Even more eerie might be the fact that the Twins let both players go entering their age-27 season. Beyond those surface level similarities, there are some stark differences between these two players. Ortiz broke into the majors as a 21-year old in 1997. He played a little over 100 games through his first three seasons before becoming a regular player in 2000. From 1997-2002, he hit 266/.348/.461 (.809) while averaging 10 home runs and 18 doubles per season. He also had 339 strikeouts compared to 186 walks in 455 games. His best season in Minnesota was his last as he hit .272/.339/.500 with 20 home runs and 75 RBIs in 125 games. He battled injuries throughout his time in a Twins uniform. During the 2002-2003 off-season, Ortiz was due to make roughly $2 million through the arbitration process. Matt LeCroy would take over the designated hitter role with Doug Mientkiewicz penciled in at first base. Justin Morneau was closing in on the big leagues as well. “There wasn’t any one thing,” Terry Ryan told MLB.com. “If you look at his numbers across the board, they were very respectable. And not that it was totally about money, but we were a little bit strapped. That would be a good excuse, but it wasn’t that entirely. It was just a bad error in judgment of a guy’s talent.” Ortiz would sign with the Red Sox for $1.25 million and the rest is history. Vargas is a much different story. He made his debut as a 23-year old in 2014. During his four seasons in Minnesota, he hit .252/.311/.437 (.748) with 35 home runs and a more strikeouts (251) than hits (197). While Ortiz showed flashes of brilliance in the upper minors, Vargas posted a .248 batting average in 630 Triple-A at-bats. Vargas might the definition of a replacement level player. https://twitter.com/AaronGleeman/status/973962957653553152 Ortiz became known for his clutch hits to help the Red Sox win multiple championships. Vargas struggled to be successful in high-leverage spots on rebuilding Twins teams. Because both the Twins and Red Sox train in Fort Myers, Vargas and Ortiz have become acquaintances over the years. In fact, a friendship has developed between these Caribbean born players. Vargas also knows it took Ortiz multiple years to make it as a big leaguer. “He was in my spot years and years ago,” Vargas told the Pioneer Press. “He just trusted in himself, and he found a spot and (won) three World Series.” Vargas is still searching for his spot and now he’s back with the organization he’s known for his entire career.
  10. It’s been a whirlwind week for Mr. Kennys Vargas. After spending his entire career in the Twins organization, Vargas was put on waivers earlier this week and claimed by the Reds. His tenure in a Cincinnati uniform didn’t last long. Now just two days later, he finds himself back with the TwinsVargas was designated for assignment by Cincinnati and Minnesota claimed him back. The Reds seemed like a tough spot for Vargas to fit, with Joey Votto occupying first base and no designated hitter in the National League. Because of his switch-hitting ability, there was some thought that he could serve as a bench bat or the club could try to sneak him through waivers to the minors. That plan didn’t work as he is back in Minnesota. Some Twins fans were a little paranoid about losing Vargas. It’s hard to blame fans for remembering when the club made one of the biggest judgment gaffes in baseball history. Letting David Ortiz go was a mistake. Even former General Manager Terry Ryan has admitted as much. But let’s make one thing clear… Kennys Vargas isn’t David Ortiz. It’s easy to see why fans can see similarities between the two players. Both players fit a similar profile as large men who have little to no defensive value. Even more eerie might be the fact that the Twins let both players go entering their age-27 season. Beyond those surface level similarities, there are some stark differences between these two players. Ortiz broke into the majors as a 21-year old in 1997. He played a little over 100 games through his first three seasons before becoming a regular player in 2000. From 1997-2002, he hit 266/.348/.461 (.809) while averaging 10 home runs and 18 doubles per season. He also had 339 strikeouts compared to 186 walks in 455 games. His best season in Minnesota was his last as he hit .272/.339/.500 with 20 home runs and 75 RBIs in 125 games. He battled injuries throughout his time in a Twins uniform. During the 2002-2003 off-season, Ortiz was due to make roughly $2 million through the arbitration process. Matt LeCroy would take over the designated hitter role with Doug Mientkiewicz penciled in at first base. Justin Morneau was closing in on the big leagues as well. “There wasn’t any one thing,” Terry Ryan told MLB.com. “If you look at his numbers across the board, they were very respectable. And not that it was totally about money, but we were a little bit strapped. That would be a good excuse, but it wasn’t that entirely. It was just a bad error in judgment of a guy’s talent.” Ortiz would sign with the Red Sox for $1.25 million and the rest is history. Vargas is a much different story. He made his debut as a 23-year old in 2014. During his four seasons in Minnesota, he hit .252/.311/.437 (.748) with 35 home runs and a more strikeouts (251) than hits (197). While Ortiz showed flashes of brilliance in the upper minors, Vargas posted a .248 batting average in 630 Triple-A at-bats. Vargas might the definition of a replacement level player. Ortiz became known for his clutch hits to help the Red Sox win multiple championships. Vargas struggled to be successful in high-leverage spots on rebuilding Twins teams. Because both the Twins and Red Sox train in Fort Myers, Vargas and Ortiz have become acquaintances over the years. In fact, a friendship has developed between these Caribbean born players. Vargas also knows it took Ortiz multiple years to make it as a big leaguer. “He was in my spot years and years ago,” Vargas told the Pioneer Press. “He just trusted in himself, and he found a spot and (won) three World Series.” Vargas is still searching for his spot and now he’s back with the organization he’s known for his entire career. Click here to view the article
  11. You have to go back to 2011 to the last time the Orioles (Vlad Guerrero) and Rays (Johnny Damon) had a 100-game DH, and 2010 for the Blue Jays (Adam Lind) and Indians (Travis Hafner). The White Sox have had their share of veteran sluggers, but the last time they had a player DH in 100 games was 2008 (Jim Thome, who also reached 99 games at DH in '09). That would be the longest drought without an "everyday" DH, except for the fact the Twins have them beat ... by a decade. The last Twins player to DH 100 games? Paul Molitor in 1998 (he also accomplished the feat in '97 & '96). The last time the Twins even had a guy DH in half their games was in 2009 (Jason Kubel, 82). Things were especially unstable at DH last season. Miguel Sano and Byungho Park shared the team lead in appearances at DH with just 36. Joe Mauer (34), Robbie Grossman (19) and Kennys Vargas (13) also had at least 10 games at DH. The only other teams to fail to have a player reach even 60 games at DH were the Yankees (led by A-Rod's 57 games) and A's (led by 53 games at DH for Khris Davis). But it's not like that was all by design. Of course, if Park continued his hot start Paul Molitor would have gladly penciled him in at DH 100-plus times last season. Park had a .900 OPS through his first month and a half in the big leagues before falling apart. And maybe Terry Ryan would never have brought in Park if the team didn't feel it was too early to make 23-year-old Sano an everyday DH. To be fair, that was an entirely sensible approach to take (deciding to put him in right field is another discussion). Even the greatest designated hitters of all-time spent many of their younger years in the field. Any discussion about great designated hitters has to start with David Ortiz, right? Despite being in his mid-20s, the Twins were primarily DHing Ortiz in his last three years in Minnesota, but he played first base in 79 games over his first two seasons in Boston. Once he turned 29, Ortiz never played in more than 10 games in the field in a season. Chili Davis mostly played outfield prior to coming to Minnesota in 1991 and switching to DH as a 31-year-old. Jim Thome was a third baseman through age 25 and didn't switch to DH until joining the White Sox at age 35. Paul Molitor played all over the diamond before becoming a primary DH at age 35. Edgar Martinez primarily played third base until he was 32. Harold Baines was an outfielder before he switched to DH in his age 28 season. Frank Thomas was one of the biggest dudes to play the game, but even he played more first base until he was 30. One last bit of DH info fun, since the DH was instituted in 1973 the Twins have had a 100-game DH 12 times. That's the exact number of seasons David Ortiz played at least 100 games as a DH. Here is the list of Twins' leader in DH games for each season (over 100 games in bold): 16: Miguel Sano/Byungho Park 36 15: Miguel Sano 69 14: Kennys Vargas 40 13: Ryan Doumit 49 12: Ryan Doumit 48 11: Jim Thome 59 10: Jim Thome 79 09: Jason Kubel 82 08: Jason Kubel 85 07: Jason Kubel 36 06: Rondell White 54 05: Matt LeCroy 63 04: Jose Offerman 39 03: Matt LeCroy 63 02: David Ortiz 95 01: David Ortiz 80 00: David Ortiz 88 99: Marty Cordova 85 98: Paul Molitor 115 97: Paul Molitor 122 96: Paul Molitor 143 95: Pedro Munoz 77 94: Dave Winfield 76 93: Dave Winfield 105 92: Chili Davis 125 91: Chili Davis 150 90: Gene Larkin 43 89: Jim Dwyer 73 88: Gene Larkin 86 87: Roy Smalley 73 86: Roy Smalley 114 85: Roy Smalley 56 84: Randy Bush 88 83: Randy Bush 104 82: Randy Johnson 66 81: Glenn Adams 62 80: Jose Morales 85 79: Jose Morales 77 78: Glenn Adams 100 77: Craig Kusick 85 76: Craig Kusick 79 75: Tony Oliva 120 74: Tony Oliva 112 73: Tony Oliva 142
  12. Much has been made about the Twins' aversion to making young slugger Miguel Sano an everyday designated hitter. But it hasn't been just Sano, The club has avoided committing regular DH at-bats to any single player for several years now. There were five teams that had a player DH at least 100 games in 2016: the Red Sox (David Ortiz, 140), Tigers (Victor Martinez, 138), Royals (Kendrys Morales, 138), Angels (Albert Pujols, 123) and Mariners (Nelson Cruz, 107). Four more teams had a DH meet that mark in 2015: the Yankees (Alex Rodriguez), Rangers (Prince Fielder), Astros (Evan Gattis) and A's (Billy Butler). That's nine of the 15 AL teams who've had a player meet the century mark in games at DH the last two seasons. How about the rest of the league?You have to go back to 2011 to the last time the Orioles (Vlad Guerrero) and Rays (Johnny Damon) had a 100-game DH, and 2010 for the Blue Jays (Adam Lind) and Indians (Travis Hafner). The White Sox have had their share of veteran sluggers, but the last time they had a player DH in 100 games was 2008 (Jim Thome, who also reached 99 games at DH in '09). That would be the longest drought without an "everyday" DH, except for the fact the Twins have them beat ... by a decade. The last Twins player to DH 100 games? Paul Molitor in 1998 (he also accomplished the feat in '97 & '96). The last time the Twins even had a guy DH in half their games was in 2009 (Jason Kubel, 82). Things were especially unstable at DH last season. Miguel Sano and Byungho Park shared the team lead in appearances at DH with just 36. Joe Mauer (34), Robbie Grossman (19) and Kennys Vargas (13) also had at least 10 games at DH. The only other teams to fail to have a player reach even 60 games at DH were the Yankees (led by A-Rod's 57 games) and A's (led by 53 games at DH for Khris Davis). But it's not like that was all by design. Of course, if Park continued his hot start Paul Molitor would have gladly penciled him in at DH 100-plus times last season. Park had a .900 OPS through his first month and a half in the big leagues before falling apart. And maybe Terry Ryan would never have brought in Park if the team didn't feel it was too early to make 23-year-old Sano an everyday DH. To be fair, that was an entirely sensible approach to take (deciding to put him in right field is another discussion). Even the greatest designated hitters of all-time spent many of their younger years in the field. Any discussion about great designated hitters has to start with David Ortiz, right? Despite being in his mid-20s, the Twins were primarily DHing Ortiz in his last three years in Minnesota, but he played first base in 79 games over his first two seasons in Boston. Once he turned 29, Ortiz never played in more than 10 games in the field in a season. Chili Davis mostly played outfield prior to coming to Minnesota in 1991 and switching to DH as a 31-year-old. Jim Thome was a third baseman through age 25 and didn't switch to DH until joining the White Sox at age 35. Paul Molitor played all over the diamond before becoming a primary DH at age 35. Edgar Martinez primarily played third base until he was 32. Harold Baines was an outfielder before he switched to DH in his age 28 season. Frank Thomas was one of the biggest dudes to play the game, but even he played more first base until he was 30. One last bit of DH info fun, since the DH was instituted in 1973 the Twins have had a 100-game DH 12 times. That's the exact number of seasons David Ortiz played at least 100 games as a DH. Here is the list of Twins' leader in DH games for each season (over 100 games in bold): 16: Miguel Sano/Byungho Park 36 15: Miguel Sano 69 14: Kennys Vargas 40 13: Ryan Doumit 49 12: Ryan Doumit 48 11: Jim Thome 59 10: Jim Thome 79 09: Jason Kubel 82 08: Jason Kubel 85 07: Jason Kubel 36 06: Rondell White 54 05: Matt LeCroy 63 04: Jose Offerman 39 03: Matt LeCroy 63 02: David Ortiz 95 01: David Ortiz 80 00: David Ortiz 88 99: Marty Cordova 85 98: Paul Molitor 115 97: Paul Molitor 122 96: Paul Molitor 143 95: Pedro Munoz 77 94: Dave Winfield 76 93: Dave Winfield 105 92: Chili Davis 125 91: Chili Davis 150 90: Gene Larkin 43 89: Jim Dwyer 73 88: Gene Larkin 86 87: Roy Smalley 73 86: Roy Smalley 114 85: Roy Smalley 56 84: Randy Bush 88 83: Randy Bush 104 82: Randy Johnson 66 81: Glenn Adams 62 80: Jose Morales 85 79: Jose Morales 77 78: Glenn Adams 100 77: Craig Kusick 85 76: Craig Kusick 79 75: Tony Oliva 120 74: Tony Oliva 112 73: Tony Oliva 142 Click here to view the article
  13. Catcher Leading: Salvador Perez, Royals My Pick: Salvador Perez, Royals Catching is in a rough spot in the American League especially with Joe Mauer no longer being an option behind the plate. Salvador Perez, the reigning World Series MVP, leads the league in fWAR during the last 365 days. Blake Swihart and Matt Wieters are tied for a distant second place. Perez is hitting close to .300 and getting on-base 33% of the time. He hit a career high 21 home runs last season and he already has 12 long balls so far this season. He's never posted a slugging percentage over .475 in his career and he's sitting at a .520 OPS in 2016. First Base Leading: Eric Hosmer, Royals My Pick: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers There are plenty of candidates for this spot but it has become a two-man battle. The voting block in Kansas City has Eric Hosmer out to a 550,000 vote lead at the last check-in but he doesn't get my vote. Sometimes it's about putting a player in who is one of the best players in the generation. Cabrera's average has dipped a little this year from his normal standards but he is still hitting .295/.368/.529 with 17 home runs after only hitting 18 home runs last season. I'd put Chris Davis ahead of Hosmer on my ballot as well so the player likely to start wouldn't be in my top 2 for voting purposes. Second Base Leading: Jose Altuve, Astros My Pick: Jose Altuve, Astros There are some bigger names on the ballot like Robinson Cano and Dustin Pedroia but Jose Altuve is in the midst of a historic season. Altuve has a career OPS of just over .780 and this season he is closing in on a 1.000 OPS. By the way, he's leading the American League in batting too. If the Astros keep playing well, Altuve will be in the discussion for the AL MVP and this would be his fourth All-Star Game in the last five seasons. Cano and Pedroia might be the big names but everyone needs to get familiar with Altuve because he might be in this position for years to come. Third Base Leading: Manny Machado, Orioles My Pick: Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays This two-man battle features the defending AL MVP in Josh Donaldson versus the up-and-coming Manny Machado. Both players have been very good over the last calendar year. In fact, each of these players has been one of the top five players in the game this season. Look at the chart below to see how close the battle is between them even with Machado sliding over to play shortstop in the absence of JJ Hardy. Donaldson has been slightly better so I will give him the nod but they should both be playing in San Diego. Shortstop Leading: Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox My Pick: Francisco Lindor, Indians We might be living in the "Golden Age of Shortstops" in the American League. Francisco Lindor, Xander Bogaerts, and Carlos Correa are all young and dominating at one of the toughest defensive positions in the field. Lindor has dominated on both sides of the ball, being an offensive threat while playing some of the best defense in the game at shortstop. His 8.2 fWAR over the last calendar year is 1.5 points higher than Bogaerts and 3.6 points higher than Correa. Lindor plays in Cleveland where he isn't getting much attention but he is showing that he is one of the top overall players in the game. Outfield Leading: Mike Trout, Angels; Jackie Bradley Jr., Red Sox; Mookie Betts, Red Sox My Picks: Mike Trout, Angels; Lorenzo Cain, Royals, Mookie Betts, Red Sox Mike Trout is another easy pick as he has helped the AL win the last two All-Star Games on his way to earning back-to-back All-Star Game MVPs. Even though he was just injured, Lorenzo Cain gets a big jump from his defensive numbers while holding his own on the offensive side of the ball. He also helped the Royals to their first World Series Championship since the 1980s. The last spot is a toss up between Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. so I gave my vote to Betts. I like his ability to steal bases and that can be a handy addition to the roster of an All-Star squad. Designated Hitter Leading: David Ortiz, Red Sox My Pick: David Ortiz, Red Sox Probably the easiest pick on the board. David Ortiz will retire at season's end and ride off into the sunset of what is likely a Hall-of-Fame career. It helps that Ortiz is also having a very strong season at the plate. This is nothing against Edwin Encarnacion and the season he is having, but Ortiz is a legend. The 2016 All-Star Game might turn into an honoring for Ortiz much like the 2014 All-Star Game in Minnesota honored Derek Jeter. Ortiz will bow out and let other players take his place in the years to come. So there's my ballot with a few picks that were tough to make. Who would make your AL All-Star team? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  14. The Twins weren't the only team to give up on Ortiz before he reached his full potential. Around Thanksgiving in 1992, Ortiz was signed as an amateur free agent by the Seattle Mariners. He'd play three seasons in the Mariners system and he hit 18 home runs in the Midwest League as a 20-year old. Minnesota liked what they saw in Ortiz and he was dealt from Seattle as a player to be named later in a trade for Dave Hollins. He would fly through Minnesota's three highest minor league levels during the next season and he even made his debut by season's end. In 140 minor league games, he cracked 31 home runs, drove in 124, and posted a .940 OPS. He's was only 21-years old and it looked like he might be one of the players to help turn around Minnesota's losing ways. Prior to the 1998 season, Baseball America ranked him as the 84th best prospect in the game. It was the only time he would be featured on their prospect list. During that season, he was limited to 97 games but 86 of those games came at the big league level. He combined to hit .277/.371/.446 with 29 extra-base hits but he struck out in over a 25% of his at-bats. Minnesota couldn't find a place for Ortiz in the 1999 line-up as he played all but 10 games at the Triple-A level. Keep in mind, the 1998 Twins were on their way to finishing with a 63-97 record and their leading home run hitter was Ron Coomer. Meanwhile at Triple-A, Ortiz slugged 30 home runs and 35 double while posting a .315/.412/.590 batting line. As the calendar turned to a new century, Ortiz was given his first full season of MLB action. He posted a .810 OPS with 47 extra-base hits. He finished second on the team in doubles, third in OPS, and he was one of four Twins to hit double-digit home runs. Things started changing in 2001. Ortiz was hurt again for a chunk of the season as he was limited to 89 games. Even with the limited number of games, he was able to hit 18 home runs and 17 doubles. However, the Twins were looking for Ortiz to have a breakout season and he hadn't been able to do that up to that point. 2002 would be the final season for Ortiz in Minnesota. He put up very respectable numbers as he collected 20 home runs for the first time in his career and hit .272/.339/.500. The Twins won 94 games and made it all the way to the ALCS before falling to the eventual World Series champions, the Angels. Ortiz hit .313 in that ALCS with a pair of RBIs but it wasn't enough. Minnesota entered the off-season at an interesting point in their franchise. They were on the brink of a string of six division titles in nine seasons. Ortiz was eligible for arbitration and would likely get a bump in pay to around $2 million. Matt LeCroy, a former first-round pick, was a much cheaper option at designated hitter. The club also had Doug Mientkiewicz at first base and budding first base prospect Justin Morneau. Oritz was getting pushed out by the other options. The Twins still needed to be conscious of how they were spending their money and Ortiz was getting expensive. He had yet to produce a breakout season at the big league level and there had been some injury concerns in the past. It was the cheap choice but that's where the Twins were in the Metrodome era. Boston signed Ortiz for $1.25 million, a figure that was almost half of what he would have made in arbitration. The Red Sox took a flyer on him and it was a franchise altering move. He has gone on to win multiple World Series rings and was a vital reason the Red Sox were able to break their championship drought. After nine All-Star Game appearances and six Silver Slugger Awards, Ortiz is a legend. It was a mistake and you'd be tough pressed to find anyone who didn't come to the same conclusion. Every team has skeletons in their closet but the Ortiz decision will live on in Twins Territory for years to come.
  15. Beat Vegas and win a Harry’s Razor starter kit! The question before last year was either "How can the Red Sox NOT win with that lineup" or "How can the Red Sox win with that rotation?" The team was true to form, ended up with 78 wins, good for last place in the AL East. This offseason, they bandaged up their rotation with a hell of a Bandaid: they signed David Price.Vegas’ Line: 86.5 wins What The Line Is Saying "How can the Red Sox NOT win with that lineup (and David Price)?" They’ll Beat Vegas If… Price is Price AND a few of the other arms step up. Also, Xander Boegarts & Mookie Betts reveals the location of the Fountain of Youth to David Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval and Dustin Pedroia. If you beat Vegas, you can win a free Harry’s Razor starter set. Just leave a comment with your choice of the “Over” or” Under” and your reasoning. At the end of the season, for each team, we’ll randomly pick one of the winning predictions for a free Truman Razor set. They’ll Lose To Vegas If… The lineup gets old. Strike that - they're already old. Make that "The various calcified joints throughout the Red Sox lineup embrace death's sweet release." I’ll Bet The…. UNDER I like the Red Sox rotation quite a bit more than last year, but that lineup looks like they are ready to age faster than an evil extra in an Indiana Jones film. Now it’s your turn. Give us your prediction in the comment section (you’ll need to register first) and you’re automatically entered. We’ll be giving out a free Harry’s Razor Truman Set to one of the winning correct predictions for each team, so we’ll be give away 15 sets of razors! You can also click over to Harry’s Razors and get $5 off on your first order using the promo code ‘gleeman’. We'll have another team tomorrow. Finally, prior to 4/5/16, you can also enter a prediction for any of the previous teams we’ve covered. Here they are: AL EAST Baltimore Orioles Tampa Bay Rays New York Yankees Click here to view the article
  16. Vegas’ Line: 86.5 wins What The Line Is Saying "How can the Red Sox NOT win with that lineup (and David Price)?" They’ll Beat Vegas If… Price is Price AND a few of the other arms step up. Also, Xander Boegarts & Mookie Betts reveals the location of the Fountain of Youth to David Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval and Dustin Pedroia. If you beat Vegas, you can win a free Harry’s Razor starter set. Just leave a comment with your choice of the “Over” or” Under” and your reasoning. At the end of the season, for each team, we’ll randomly pick one of the winning predictions for a free Truman Razor set. They’ll Lose To Vegas If… The lineup gets old. Strike that - they're already old. Make that "The various calcified joints throughout the Red Sox lineup embrace death's sweet release." I’ll Bet The…. UNDER I like the Red Sox rotation quite a bit more than last year, but that lineup looks like they are ready to age faster than an evil extra in an Indiana Jones film. Now it’s your turn. Give us your prediction in the comment section (you’ll need to register first) and you’re automatically entered. We’ll be giving out a free Harry’s Razor Truman Set to one of the winning correct predictions for each team, so we’ll be give away 15 sets of razors! You can also click over to Harry’s Razors and get $5 off on your first order using the promo code ‘gleeman’. We'll have another team tomorrow. Finally, prior to 4/5/16, you can also enter a prediction for any of the previous teams we’ve covered. Here they are: AL EAST Baltimore Orioles Tampa Bay Rays New York Yankees
  17. Less than a week from Opening Day, we’ll take one final preseason look at who’s trending. There’s been plenty of roster-shaping news in the last seven days, much of which will shape this week’s version.Ricky Nolasco, Fifth Starter It’s probably unfair that we turned Monday into a Nolasco vs Duffey competition for the fifth spot in the rotation considering that Duffey was facing major league competition and Nolasco was facing a group of high-A minor leaguers. But that’s essentially what happened. Because Duffey wasn’t very good, Nolasco’s decent performance against inferior competition was enough to convince the team brass that Duffey would be better in Rochester while Nolasco gets another chance to secure a rotation spot. (Or at least that’s how it appeared publicly.) It was only last Wednesday when Ricky Nolasco kept the door open to make the rotation with a performance that included six scoreless innings in which he struck out seven and only allowed three hits (no walks). While many point at the two years and $25 million remaining on his contract as the reason that Nolasco is in the rotation, let’s not forget that he is only two seasons removed from having pitched 185 or more innings in five of the last six seasons. If he can get his BABIP closer to his career average (.319) instead of .354 and .392 he’s allowed in his two seasons as a Twin, he could be more than a serviceable back-end piece. At the end of the day, though, Nolasco set the stage for a showdown with the team’s decision-makers when his agent stated publicly that he didn’t want to pitch out of the bullpen. But instead of lying down and putting himself in a situation for that showdown to happen, he went out and performed well enough to earn - at a minimum - a handful of major league starts to prove to the Twins - and other teams around the league - that’s he’s still capable of taking the ball every five days. TRENDING: Into the rotation (though that isn’t guaranteed to be the case a month from now). Kurt Suzuki, All-Star Catcher What? He was. Though we haven’t seen that Suzuki much or consistently lately, the Suzuki that showed up to spring training has performed at a very high level offensively. Yes, it’s only 26 at-bats and, yes, it’s only eight hits. Four of those hits, however, have been home runs. (He hit five all of last season). Having an alternative at the catching position in John Ryan Murphy - and an incentive to not let Suzuki appear at the plate 485 times - we could see a better-rested Suzuki make a better offensive impression in 2016 TRENDING: Towards less playing time, but more impact while in the lineup. David Ortiz, Diarrhea of the Mouth We get it Papi. You felt like you were wronged by the Twins. And that treatment created an enormous chip that you filled with PEDs, World Series rings and a future in Cooperstown. It also provided you with an apparent avenue to rip on the Twins on multiple occasions… while mentoring some of their more impressionable youth. Your act has grown tired and the whole population is an agreement that you should just shut up and play out your career before drifting off into the sunset. TRENDING: Past annoying. Daniel Palka, Next Babe Ruth? Palka has gotten a handful of at-bats with the Twins during spring training and he’s turned three pitches around and deposited them into the seats. Before we anoint him the next anything, though, he’s still got a lot to prove and he’ll get the opportunity to do that in Chattanooga. Palka, along with a number of others in the organization, has 70+ power, but he’s the only one that offers it up from the the left side of the plate. Palka, expected to be added to the 40-man roster in November, has a decent chance of leading the organization in home runs this season. TRENDING: Towards everyone's Top 20, even before he's played a meaningful game. There you have it. Another week and more players to discuss. Who's trending in your mind? Click here to view the article
  18. Ricky Nolasco, Fifth Starter It’s probably unfair that we turned Monday into a Nolasco vs Duffey competition for the fifth spot in the rotation considering that Duffey was facing major league competition and Nolasco was facing a group of high-A minor leaguers. But that’s essentially what happened. Because Duffey wasn’t very good, Nolasco’s decent performance against inferior competition was enough to convince the team brass that Duffey would be better in Rochester while Nolasco gets another chance to secure a rotation spot. (Or at least that’s how it appeared publicly.) It was only last Wednesday when Ricky Nolasco kept the door open to make the rotation with a performance that included six scoreless innings in which he struck out seven and only allowed three hits (no walks). While many point at the two years and $25 million remaining on his contract as the reason that Nolasco is in the rotation, let’s not forget that he is only two seasons removed from having pitched 185 or more innings in five of the last six seasons. If he can get his BABIP closer to his career average (.319) instead of .354 and .392 he’s allowed in his two seasons as a Twin, he could be more than a serviceable back-end piece. At the end of the day, though, Nolasco set the stage for a showdown with the team’s decision-makers when his agent stated publicly that he didn’t want to pitch out of the bullpen. But instead of lying down and putting himself in a situation for that showdown to happen, he went out and performed well enough to earn - at a minimum - a handful of major league starts to prove to the Twins - and other teams around the league - that’s he’s still capable of taking the ball every five days. TRENDING: Into the rotation (though that isn’t guaranteed to be the case a month from now). Kurt Suzuki, All-Star Catcher What? He was. Though we haven’t seen that Suzuki much or consistently lately, the Suzuki that showed up to spring training has performed at a very high level offensively. Yes, it’s only 26 at-bats and, yes, it’s only eight hits. Four of those hits, however, have been home runs. (He hit five all of last season). Having an alternative at the catching position in John Ryan Murphy - and an incentive to not let Suzuki appear at the plate 485 times - we could see a better-rested Suzuki make a better offensive impression in 2016 TRENDING: Towards less playing time, but more impact while in the lineup. David Ortiz, Diarrhea of the Mouth We get it Papi. You felt like you were wronged by the Twins. And that treatment created an enormous chip that you filled with PEDs, World Series rings and a future in Cooperstown. It also provided you with an apparent avenue to rip on the Twins on multiple occasions… while mentoring some of their more impressionable youth. Your act has grown tired and the whole population is an agreement that you should just shut up and play out your career before drifting off into the sunset. TRENDING: Past annoying. Daniel Palka, Next Babe Ruth? Palka has gotten a handful of at-bats with the Twins during spring training and he’s turned three pitches around and deposited them into the seats. Before we anoint him the next anything, though, he’s still got a lot to prove and he’ll get the opportunity to do that in Chattanooga. Palka, along with a number of others in the organization, has 70+ power, but he’s the only one that offers it up from the the left side of the plate. Palka, expected to be added to the 40-man roster in November, has a decent chance of leading the organization in home runs this season. TRENDING: Towards everyone's Top 20, even before he's played a meaningful game. There you have it. Another week and more players to discuss. Who's trending in your mind?
  19. 3/27/73: 37 year old future Twins HOFer, Jim Perry, okays trade to Detroit. 3/27/05: Iconic Twins public address announcer of 44 years, Bob Casey, passes away at age 79. Tony Oliva, Kent Hrbek, Dan Gladden and Jack Morris would serve as pallbearers at his funeral. 3/28/96: On the final day of spring training, Kirby Puckett wakes up unable to see out of his right eye. He would be diagnosed with career-ending glaucoma. 3/30/81: Ken Landreaux is traded to the Dodgers for Mickey Hatcher and 2 others. 3/31/87: Just before opening their championship season, the Twins release fan-favorite Mickey Hatcher, and trade 2 minor league pitchers and a player to be named later to San Francisco for Dan Gladden and others. The Twins would send Bemidji-native, Bryan Hickerson, to the Giants in June to complete the trade. 3/31/10: Leading off a spring training game vs. the Yankees and future-Twins pitcher, Phil Hughes, Denard Span fouls off a 3-2 pitch that hits his mother, sitting behind the third base dugout and wearing a Span Twins jersey, square in the chest. It is a scary moment at the ballpark, but she is not seriously hurt. 4/1/07: Herb Carneal, the radio play-by-play voice of the Twins from 1962-2006 (44 years), passes away at age 83. 4/2/62: The Twins trade pitcherPedro Ramos to Cleveland for Vic Power, and Nimrod, MN-native, Dick Stigman. 4/2/02: The Twins open the regular season with 5 HRs in an 8-6 win vs. KC. Jacque Jones hits solo and 3-run HRs. David Ortiz, Brian Buchanan, and Torii Hunter hit solo HRs. 4/2/10: The Twins play the first MLB game at new Target Field, an exhibition vs. St. Louis. Denard Span collects the stadium’s first hit, a triple, and the first HR and run scored. Jacque Jones, attempting a comeback with the club, pinch-hits and receives a moving standing ovation from Twins fans. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160320_153544_zpswn6qfgcj.jpg For the history of the Minnesota Twins, told one day at a time, follow @TwinsAlmanac on Twitter. For the stories of the Major Leaguers who grew up in Minnesota, follow @MajorMinnesota on Twitter, and like Major Minnesotans on Facebook.
  20. And here is The Twins Almanac for the week of March 27th to April 2nd, 2016. 3/27 is the birthday of Michael Cuddyer, born in 1979 in Norfolk, VA. He was the Twins’ 1st round draft pick out of high school in 1997. In 2009 he hit for the cycle (5/22), and homered twice in the same inning (8/23). He was an All-Star in his final season in Minnesota (‘11), and again with Colorado in 2013 when he was the National League batting champ (.331).3/27/73: 37 year old future Twins HOFer, Jim Perry, okays trade to Detroit. 3/27/05: Iconic Twins public address announcer of 44 years, Bob Casey, passes away at age 79. Tony Oliva, Kent Hrbek, Dan Gladden and Jack Morris would serve as pallbearers at his funeral. 3/28/96: On the final day of spring training, Kirby Puckett wakes up unable to see out of his right eye. He would be diagnosed with career-ending glaucoma. 3/30/81: Ken Landreaux is traded to the Dodgers for Mickey Hatcher and 2 others. 3/31/87: Just before opening their championship season, the Twins release fan-favorite Mickey Hatcher, and trade 2 minor league pitchers and a player to be named later to San Francisco for Dan Gladden and others. The Twins would send Bemidji-native, Bryan Hickerson, to the Giants in June to complete the trade. 3/31/10: Leading off a spring training game vs. the Yankees and future-Twins pitcher, Phil Hughes, Denard Span fouls off a 3-2 pitch that hits his mother, sitting behind the third base dugout and wearing a Span Twins jersey, square in the chest. It is a scary moment at the ballpark, but she is not seriously hurt. 4/1/07: Herb Carneal, the radio play-by-play voice of the Twins from 1962-2006 (44 years), passes away at age 83. 4/2/62: The Twins trade pitcherPedro Ramos to Cleveland for Vic Power, and Nimrod, MN-native, Dick Stigman. 4/2/02: The Twins open the regular season with 5 HRs in an 8-6 win vs. KC. Jacque Jones hits solo and 3-run HRs. David Ortiz, Brian Buchanan, and Torii Hunter hit solo HRs. 4/2/10: The Twins play the first MLB game at new Target Field, an exhibition vs. St. Louis. Denard Span collects the stadium’s first hit, a triple, and the first HR and run scored. Jacque Jones, attempting a comeback with the club, pinch-hits and receives a moving standing ovation from Twins fans. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160320_153544_zpswn6qfgcj.jpg For the history of the Minnesota Twins, told one day at a time, follow @TwinsAlmanac on Twitter. For the stories of the Major Leaguers who grew up in Minnesota, follow @MajorMinnesota on Twitter, and like Major Minnesotans on Facebook. Click here to view the article
  21. On Friday night, news leaked the outfielder Michael Cuddyer had informed the Mets of his intention to retire. A clear leader on some very good Minnesota Twins teams in the second half of last decade, Cuddyer has spent the last four years with the Rockies and the Mets. He is the most recent member of those Twins teams who brought baseball enthusiasm back to Minnesota to speak of retirement. Shortly after the end of the 2015 season, outfielder Torii Hunter announced his retirement. Hunter returned to the Twins for the season. He had some ups and downs, but certainly performed as well, or better, than anyone could have hoped for. He turned 40 in July. He may have been able to get through another season, but he left on his own accord. Likewise, Cuddyer had a tough 2015 season with the Mets, certainly not up to the caliber he displayed when healthy in Colorado. However, he was able to participate in the World Series and goes out at the age of 36. In fact, he left his 2016 salary of $12.5 million on the table. Sure, he's probably doing just fine financially, but it does speak volumes to the class act that Cuddyer is.LaTroy Hawkins announced during the season that 2015 would his last. He certainly had his ups and (a lot of) downs in his time with the Twins. He had just figured things out in 2002 and 2003, becoming one of the top set-up men in baseball. Who would have known that he would play for another dozen seasons? Even in 2015, he was still throwing a good fastball in the mid-90s. He probably could have played again in 2016, but as he is turning 43 in less than two weeks, he's ready to move on to the next stage of his life. Another from that group of players is David Ortiz. We all know the back story, and what he has become, but he was an important piece on the field and in the clubhouse in the early part of last decade. When the Twins non-tendered him, no team wanted him. In fact, it wasn't for about two months after being non-tendered that the Red Sox signed him to a $1.5 million deal and they said he might compete for platoon at-bats. Five hundred career home runs later, he announced that 2016 will be his final season. Ortiz turned 40 following the 2015 season. Two other players remain active in baseball from the 2002 roster that won an ALDS series before losing to the eventual World Champions, the Angels. Kyle Lohse is 36 and is currently an unsigned free agent. The other is AJ Pierzynski, who is still catching, re-signed with Atlanta for 2016, his age 39 season. He hit .300 last year. Well, I guess Johan Santana is going to give a comeback one more try, but we'll see. That's it! If you are old enough to remember being a Twins fan through the highs of 1987 and 1991, you can also appreciate just how bad the baseball was in Minnesota from about 1996 through 2000. And then this group started coming up in 1998. Rookies were surrounded by veterans and over time, they started figuring it out. They started being competitive in 2001. Tom Kelly retired and Ron Gardenhire took over a team that everyone knew should compete. And they did. You likely remember Dusty Kielmohr, the nickname of the Twins right field players through most of the season. Dusty Mohr and Bobby Kielty both contributed. In fact Kielty posted a bWAR of 2.7 while Mohr's was at 2.3. Everyone will remember the Keystone Combo of Luis Rivas and Cristian Guzman. Na Na Na Na Na.. Jacque Jones was recently named an assistant hitting coach for Dusty Baker and the Nationals. Matthew Lecroy was the Nationals bullpen coach for a few years. Eddie Guardado became the Twins bullpen coach last year. Doug Mientkiewicz has won two championships in two seasons as a manager in the Twins minor leagues. This was the group that brought me back to baseball. When I was in college, we didn't have cable in our dorm rooms the first couple of years, so I couldn't watch. But this group of players got me back into it. I've always been a fan of rookies and prospects, so watching that group come together and build to something special was a lot of fun. Seeing another one of them retire kind of makes me sad. It also makes me feel really old. As I'm sitting here thinking about the group of prospects that came up between 1998 and 2002, it makes me smile. It makes me think of being six years old, just getting into baseball cards, and just learning the names Kent Hrbek, Tom Brunanski, Gary Gaetti Frank VIola and eventually Kirby Puckett. And it makes me wonder which players from the Twins prospect promotions from 2014 to 2016 (like Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, Eddie Rosario, Tyler Duffey and JO Berrios) will be playing still in 2030. You don't play in the big leagues for more than a dozen years without being really good. So, congratulations to Torii Hunter, LaTroy Hawkins and now Michael Cuddyer on their fantastic careers. They have all represented themselves and their organizations very well on and off the field. Click here to view the article
  22. LaTroy Hawkins announced during the season that 2015 would his last. He certainly had his ups and (a lot of) downs in his time with the Twins. He had just figured things out in 2002 and 2003, becoming one of the top set-up men in baseball. Who would have known that he would play for another dozen seasons? Even in 2015, he was still throwing a good fastball in the mid-90s. He probably could have played again in 2016, but as he is turning 43 in less than two weeks, he's ready to move on to the next stage of his life. Another from that group of players is David Ortiz. We all know the back story, and what he has become, but he was an important piece on the field and in the clubhouse in the early part of last decade. When the Twins non-tendered him, no team wanted him. In fact, it wasn't for about two months after being non-tendered that the Red Sox signed him to a $1.5 million deal and they said he might compete for platoon at-bats. Five hundred career home runs later, he announced that 2016 will be his final season. Ortiz turned 40 following the 2015 season. Two other players remain active in baseball from the 2002 roster that won an ALDS series before losing to the eventual World Champions, the Angels. Kyle Lohse is 36 and is currently an unsigned free agent. The other is AJ Pierzynski, who is still catching, re-signed with Atlanta for 2016, his age 39 season. He hit .300 last year. Well, I guess Johan Santana is going to give a comeback one more try, but we'll see. That's it! If you are old enough to remember being a Twins fan through the highs of 1987 and 1991, you can also appreciate just how bad the baseball was in Minnesota from about 1996 through 2000. And then this group started coming up in 1998. Rookies were surrounded by veterans and over time, they started figuring it out. They started being competitive in 2001. Tom Kelly retired and Ron Gardenhire took over a team that everyone knew should compete. And they did. You likely remember Dusty Kielmohr, the nickname of the Twins right field players through most of the season. Dusty Mohr and Bobby Kielty both contributed. In fact Kielty posted a bWAR of 2.7 while Mohr's was at 2.3. Everyone will remember the Keystone Combo of Luis Rivas and Cristian Guzman. Na Na Na Na Na.. Jacque Jones was recently named an assistant hitting coach for Dusty Baker and the Nationals. Matthew Lecroy was the Nationals bullpen coach for a few years. Eddie Guardado became the Twins bullpen coach last year. Doug Mientkiewicz has won two championships in two seasons as a manager in the Twins minor leagues. This was the group that brought me back to baseball. When I was in college, we didn't have cable in our dorm rooms the first couple of years, so I couldn't watch. But this group of players got me back into it. I've always been a fan of rookies and prospects, so watching that group come together and build to something special was a lot of fun. Seeing another one of them retire kind of makes me sad. It also makes me feel really old. As I'm sitting here thinking about the group of prospects that came up between 1998 and 2002, it makes me smile. It makes me think of being six years old, just getting into baseball cards, and just learning the names Kent Hrbek, Tom Brunanski, Gary Gaetti Frank VIola and eventually Kirby Puckett. And it makes me wonder which players from the Twins prospect promotions from 2014 to 2016 (like Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, Eddie Rosario, Tyler Duffey and JO Berrios) will be playing still in 2030. You don't play in the big leagues for more than a dozen years without being really good. So, congratulations to Torii Hunter, LaTroy Hawkins and now Michael Cuddyer on their fantastic careers. They have all represented themselves and their organizations very well on and off the field.
  23. Last week, the Twins announced seven new additions to their 40-man roster. There were some predictable names announced, but there were a couple of surprises. Arguably the player added who was least-known was left-hander Randy Rosario. Today, we get a chance to learn a little more about him in the following Q&A. The 21-year-old from the Dominican Republic signed with the Twins in 2010. He worked his way up the system. He began the 2014 season in Cedar Rapids, but after just three games, he hurt his elbow and needed the Tommy John surgery. He missed the rest of the 2014 season. He rehabbed and returned to the mound for the Kernels in early July. We would like to thank Randy Rosario for taking time to respond to our questions. We would also like to thank his agency, LA Sports Management, for helping to facilitate the interview and for translating. You can follow them on Twitter (@LASportsMgmt) for news on Randy Rosario and many other Twins prospects. Seth Stohs (SS): Growing up, who were some of your role models in the game of baseball? Randy Rosario (Spanish): Siempre quise ser como David Ortiz porque yo soy zurdo también. Randy Rosario (English): I always wanted to be like David Ortiz because I'm a lefty too. SS: Tell me a little bit about your youth baseball in the Dominican Republic. Did you play Little League? Did you play other positions besides pitcher? Randy Rosario (Spanish): Yo comencé como todos los dominicanos jugando en la calle y una vez un señor me vio y me invitó al play y después comencé a jugar pelota. Y jugué outfield primero. Randy Rosario (English): I began like every Dominican, playing in the streets, and one time a man saw me and invited me to play in his field and from then on I started playing a lot of baseball! I played outfield first. SS: When did you start hearing from professional, MLB teams and what was it that caused you to decide to sign with the Twins? Randy Rosario (Spanish): La primera vez que comencé a escuchar sobre eso fue cuando Boston contrató a un pitcher asiático y ahí decidí que quería jugar como profesional algún dia. Randy Rosario (English): The first time I started hearing about that was when Boston signed an Asian pitcher, and from there, I decided that I wanted to play professionally one day. SS: What was the adjustment like for you when you moved from the Dominican to Ft. Myers? What were the biggest challenges? Randy Rosario (Spanish): Solo tuve inconvenientes con la comida y el idioma. Me sentí frustrado cuando llegue allí sin saber demasiado, por eso le dediqué tiempo y aprendí. Randy Rosario (English): I mainly had issues with the food and the language. It was frustrating when I arrived without knowing enough and that's why I dedicated the time and learned. SS: How frustrated were you when you had the elbow injury and had to miss time? What was the rehab like? Randy Rosario (Spanish): Pensé que mi carrera se había terminado y que nunca más iba a volver a lanzar Randy Rosario (English): I thought that my career was over and that I was never going to pitch again. SS: What was the highlight of your 2015 season? What did it mean to get back on the mound in Cedar Rapids this year? Randy Rosario (Spanish): ¡Fue maravilloso después de mi primera salida porque todos me felicitaron por haber regresado!! Y me sentí muy bien en el montículo después de haber estado afuera durante todo el año 2014. Randy Rosario (English): It was great after my first outing because everyone congratulated me for coming back! I felt very good on the mound especially after being out all of 2014. SS: What type of pitcher do you think you are and can be? What were your keys to your success on the mound? Randy Rosario (Spanish): Creo que puedo ser como Francisco Liriano. Por lo menos eso es lo que dicen muchos managers y entrenadores de las ligas menores cuando me ven lanzando. Tengo la esperanza de ser tan bueno o quizá mejor si me esmero. Randy Rosario (English): I think I can be like Francisco Liriano, at least that's what many coaches and managers tell me in the minor leagues once they see me pitch. I hope to be as good or hopefully even better with hard work. SS: How did you find out about making the 40-man roster and what does that mean to you? Randy Rosario (Spanish): ¡No recuerdo exactamente, pero cuando me dijeron que estaba en el róster de los 40, me sentí muy emocionado y me sentí muy bien!! Y para mí al igual que para todo jugador de Liga Menor, ese es uno de los sueños que quieres lograr y gracias a Dios estoy ahí ahora. Randy Rosario (English): I can't recall but when they told me I felt very emotional and I felt really good! And for me and for every minor leaguer, that is one of your dreams you want to achieve and thank God that's where I am now. SS: Are there certain areas of your game or preparation that you’d like to focus on during this offseason, looking to 2016? Randy Rosario (Spanish): Sí, tengo a mi entrenador aquí y siempre estoy hablando con él sobre prepararme para la temporada que viene y ya comenzamos a trabajar para estar listos para eso. Randy Rosario (English): Yes, I have my trainer here and I'm always talking with him about being ready for the season, and we have been working to be ready for that. SS: What are some of your goals for the 2016 season? Are there certain statistics that you will focus on? Randy Rosario (Spanish): Mi primera meta es mantenerme sano y mantenerme lo más fuerte que sea posible. Quiero tirar más de 100 inings este año. ¡Esa es otra meta! Randy Rosario (English): My first goal is to remain healthy and be as strong as I can be. I want to throw more than 100 innings this year. That is another goal! SS: What would it mean to you and your family to be able to reach the major leagues and put that uniform on for the first time? Randy Rosario (Spanish): ¡Ese es el sueño de mi familia y el mío!! Estar allí y que todos ellos puedan verme por televisión. Randy Rosario (English): That is the dream of my family and mine! Being there and for everyone to be able to see me on TV. SS: Away from baseball, what do you enjoy doing in your free time? Randy Rosario (Spanish): Me gusta mucho jugar al playstation, siempre hago eso cuando tengo tiempo libre. Randy Rosario (English): I love playing PlayStation, I always do that when I have free time. We would like to thank Randy Rosario for taking time to respond to our questions. Click here to view the article
  24. . The 21-year-old from the Dominican Republic signed with the Twins in 2010. He worked his way up the system. He began the 2014 season in Cedar Rapids, but after just three games, he hurt his elbow and needed the Tommy John surgery. He missed the rest of the 2014 season. He rehabbed and returned to the mound for the Kernels in early July. We would like to thank Randy Rosario for taking time to respond to our questions. We would also like to thank his agency, LA Sports Management, for helping to facilitate the interview and for translating. You can follow them on Twitter (@LASportsMgmt) for news on Randy Rosario and many other Twins prospects. Seth Stohs (SS): Growing up, who were some of your role models in the game of baseball? Randy Rosario (Spanish): Siempre quise ser como David Ortiz porque yo soy zurdo también. Randy Rosario (English): I always wanted to be like David Ortiz because I'm a lefty too. SS: Tell me a little bit about your youth baseball in the Dominican Republic. Did you play Little League? Did you play other positions besides pitcher? Randy Rosario (Spanish): Yo comencé como todos los dominicanos jugando en la calle y una vez un señor me vio y me invitó al play y después comencé a jugar pelota. Y jugué outfield primero. Randy Rosario (English): I began like every Dominican, playing in the streets, and one time a man saw me and invited me to play in his field and from then on I started playing a lot of baseball! I played outfield first. SS: When did you start hearing from professional, MLB teams and what was it that caused you to decide to sign with the Twins? Randy Rosario (Spanish): La primera vez que comencé a escuchar sobre eso fue cuando Boston contrató a un pitcher asiático y ahí decidí que quería jugar como profesional algún dia. Randy Rosario (English): The first time I started hearing about that was when Boston signed an Asian pitcher, and from there, I decided that I wanted to play professionally one day. SS: What was the adjustment like for you when you moved from the Dominican to Ft. Myers? What were the biggest challenges? Randy Rosario (Spanish): Solo tuve inconvenientes con la comida y el idioma. Me sentí frustrado cuando llegue allí sin saber demasiado, por eso le dediqué tiempo y aprendí. Randy Rosario (English): I mainly had issues with the food and the language. It was frustrating when I arrived without knowing enough and that's why I dedicated the time and learned. SS: How frustrated were you when you had the elbow injury and had to miss time? What was the rehab like? Randy Rosario (Spanish): Pensé que mi carrera se había terminado y que nunca más iba a volver a lanzar Randy Rosario (English): I thought that my career was over and that I was never going to pitch again. SS: What was the highlight of your 2015 season? What did it mean to get back on the mound in Cedar Rapids this year? Randy Rosario (Spanish): ¡Fue maravilloso después de mi primera salida porque todos me felicitaron por haber regresado!! Y me sentí muy bien en el montículo después de haber estado afuera durante todo el año 2014. Randy Rosario (English): It was great after my first outing because everyone congratulated me for coming back! I felt very good on the mound especially after being out all of 2014. SS: What type of pitcher do you think you are and can be? What were your keys to your success on the mound? Randy Rosario (Spanish): Creo que puedo ser como Francisco Liriano. Por lo menos eso es lo que dicen muchos managers y entrenadores de las ligas menores cuando me ven lanzando. Tengo la esperanza de ser tan bueno o quizá mejor si me esmero. Randy Rosario (English): I think I can be like Francisco Liriano, at least that's what many coaches and managers tell me in the minor leagues once they see me pitch. I hope to be as good or hopefully even better with hard work. SS: How did you find out about making the 40-man roster and what does that mean to you? Randy Rosario (Spanish): ¡No recuerdo exactamente, pero cuando me dijeron que estaba en el róster de los 40, me sentí muy emocionado y me sentí muy bien!! Y para mí al igual que para todo jugador de Liga Menor, ese es uno de los sueños que quieres lograr y gracias a Dios estoy ahí ahora. Randy Rosario (English): I can't recall but when they told me I felt very emotional and I felt really good! And for me and for every minor leaguer, that is one of your dreams you want to achieve and thank God that's where I am now. SS: Are there certain areas of your game or preparation that you’d like to focus on during this offseason, looking to 2016? Randy Rosario (Spanish): Sí, tengo a mi entrenador aquí y siempre estoy hablando con él sobre prepararme para la temporada que viene y ya comenzamos a trabajar para estar listos para eso. Randy Rosario (English): Yes, I have my trainer here and I'm always talking with him about being ready for the season, and we have been working to be ready for that. SS: What are some of your goals for the 2016 season? Are there certain statistics that you will focus on? Randy Rosario (Spanish): Mi primera meta es mantenerme sano y mantenerme lo más fuerte que sea posible. Quiero tirar más de 100 inings este año. ¡Esa es otra meta! Randy Rosario (English): My first goal is to remain healthy and be as strong as I can be. I want to throw more than 100 innings this year. That is another goal! SS: What would it mean to you and your family to be able to reach the major leagues and put that uniform on for the first time? Randy Rosario (Spanish): ¡Ese es el sueño de mi familia y el mío!! Estar allí y que todos ellos puedan verme por televisión. Randy Rosario (English): That is the dream of my family and mine! Being there and for everyone to be able to see me on TV. SS: Away from baseball, what do you enjoy doing in your free time? Randy Rosario (Spanish): Me gusta mucho jugar al playstation, siempre hago eso cuando tengo tiempo libre. Randy Rosario (English): I love playing PlayStation, I always do that when I have free time. We would like to thank Randy Rosario for taking time to respond to our questions.
  25. Seeing countless former Twins crush their old Minnesota ballclub got me thinking, what would a team look like made up entirely of former Twins players who are still active in the MLB. So without further ado here is the former-Twins All-Star Team of 2015. The team has a solid core lineup in Morales, Ortiz and Cuddyer and has good on-base guys in Span and Gomez. The only real hole is the second base position filled by Pedro Florimon. Florimon is moved from his primary position of shortstop to second base to make room for J.J. Hardy. Florimon has struggled at the plate in 2015, but did produce a walk-off hit for Pittsburgh just last week. The batting order for the hypothetical Twins team would be this: 1. Span: .301/.365/.431, HR 5, RBI 22 2. Gomez: .246/.307/.392, HR 10, RBI 51. 3. Kendrys Morales: .285/.352/.456, HR 13, RBI 87 4. Ortiz: .260/.350/.499, HR. 26, RBI 76 5. Cuddyer: .263/.313/.408, HR 10, and RBI 37. 6. Ramos: .238/.271/.367, HR 11, RBI 53. 7. Hardy: .222/.253/.315, HR. 7, and RBI 32 8. Valencia: .289/.328/.518, HR. 12, RBI 43 9. Florimon .105/.190/.211, HR 0, RBI 1 Not a bad lineup. The team would however be lacking in power. David Ortiz is the only player on the former Twins All-Star team to have more than 20 homer runs in the 2015 season, although the likes of Hardy, Morneau, and Cuddyer have topped that mark in seasons past. The former Twins squad has a decent batting order but the team’s true strength is the starting rotation. The most difficult decision for me was picking who would be the number one pitcher. Too many Twins pitchers have gone on to be successful in other ballclubs and it shows in the starting rotation below. Here’s the rotation. 1. Francisco Liriano: 9-6, 3.23 ERA. 2. R.A. Dickey: 8-10, 4.26 ERA. 3. Matt Garza: 6-14, 5.26 ERA. 4. Kyle Lohse: 5-13, 6.27 ERA. 5. Jason Marquis: 3-4 6.46 ERA. The strength of the former Twins starting rotation is evident in all the solid pitchers our team has decided to let go. A weakness of the current Twins ballclub is in fact pitching. No starter has solidified himself as an ace in the rotation and many of the younger pitchers have struggled down the stretch. The former Twins would also give the current Twins a run for their money in the relief pitching department. Pat Neshek: 3-3, 3.11 ERA. Jeff Manship: 0-0 1.48 (only appeared in 19 games in 2015) Craig Breslow: 0-3 with an E.R.A. of 4.28 LaTroy Hawkins (Closer): 3-1, 2.81 ERA. Only one 2015 save, but since it is against the Twins, we will make him the closer. Liam Hendriks: 4-0, 2.25 ERA Grant Balfour: 0-0, 6.23 ERA. (Six games played in 2015) Anthony Swarzak: 0-0, 3.38 ERA. (Ten games played in 2015) The bench players include: Chris Colabello (BA .332/.373/.531, HR 13, RBI 49), Ben Revere (.294/.334/.362,HR 1, 30 RBI, SB 24) A.J. Pierzynski (.293/.334/.426, HR. 7, RBI 40), Justin Morneau: (.290/.317/.450, HR 3, RBI 9) and Garrett Jones (.215/.257/.361, HR 5, RBI 17) Overall, I think the former Twins All-Star team would give the current roster a run for its money when it came to pitching, but would struggle to produce runs (especially if David Ortiz or Justin Morneau got hurt). Keep in mind that the current team is a young one and in a couple of seasons I think Twins fans everywhere will begin to forget about all the key players lost to free agency.
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